|Subject: NZGOV: Parliamentary inquiries on
justice for East Timor
via Maire Leadbeater and NZ IHRC
Also answer from Minister of Foreign Affairs
Subject: 02603 (2007) Published - Defence - Normal Reply
Question: What advice or reports has the Minister received on the progress of bringing to justice those Indonesian military officers responsible for human rights abuses in East Timor?
Minister: Hon Phil Goff
Answer Text: New Zealand has always made very clear its position, including to the Indonesian Government, that those responsible for the atrocities committed in East Timor in 1999 must be held to account. We have also expressed our concern at the lack of progress on this issue to date.
The government has also been a supporter of the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR), established by UNTAET in 2001, and is confident that its findings will be the basis of progress in bringing about reconciliation between the people of Timor-Leste and Indonesia. In President Gusmao's statement to the UN Security Council on 23 January 2006 concerning the CAVR's findings he stressed the Timor-Leste government's emphasis is on restorative justice in response to past human rights abuses, rather than punitive justice.
The Commission of Truth and Friendship signed by Indonesia and Timor-Leste on 14 December 2004 also emphasised a restorative approach based on the mechanisms of amnesty, rehabilitation and reconciliation.
Subject: 02571 (2007) Published - Foreign Affairs - Normal Reply
Question: If there has been little or no progress in bringing to justice those Indonesian military officers responsible for human rights abuses in East Timor why is New Zealand resuming, in even a limited manner, defence relations with Indonesia?
Portfolio: Foreign Affairs
Minister: Rt Hon Winston Peters
Answer Text: As I explained in my reply to your 02400 and 02570, the decision to re-establish a modest level of defence contact with Indonesia was taken for a variety of reasons, ranging from the developments within the TNI to Indonesia's democratic reform.
Progress within the TNI includes: the removal of the armed forces from an active role in politics; the establishment of civilian control over the military; the removal of the armed forces from commercial activity; and the strengthening of military professionalism - including respect for human rights.
More broadly, reforms in Indonesia have contributed to the development of a pluralistic and active civil society, as indicated by the proliferation of NGOs and increased media freedom in Indonesia.
Regionally and internationally, Indonesia is recognised as an emerging, vibrant democracy.
The Government has taken the long-term view that re-engagement with the TNI at an appropriate level recognises the progress already made, encourages further reform, and at the same time ensures cooperation in support of common security and developmental goals for the region.