Subject: TNI May be blamed for 1999 E. Timor Violence

The Jakarta Post

Monday, March 31, 2008

Institution blamed for E. Timor violence

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

In its findings, the joint Indonesia-Timor Leste Commission for Truth and Friendship (CTF) has named an institution it blames for violence prior to and after the independence vote in the former East Timor province in 1999, Antara news agency reported.

Instead of recommending new human rights trials for perpetrators of the violence, however, the commission suggested measures to heal past wounds through reconciliation and friendship between Indonesia and Timor Leste.

"In our final notes which we will submit to the Indonesian and Timor Leste presidents, we only highlight a certain institution which committed human rights violations ahead of and after the East Timor referendum in 1999," Timor Leste commission member Rui Santos told a media conference Saturday in Denpasar.

Santos would not identify the institution, saying it was the responsibility of the two governments to announce the results of the commission's investigations.

An ad hoc Indonesian human rights court convicted a number of military, police and civilian officials for their alleged roles in crimes against humanity in the former Indonesian province. Those found guilty, however, were eventually freed following appeals.

The international community and rights groups in Indonesia questioned the credibility of the trials, which they said preserved impunity for Indonesian security officers involved in the violence.

Indonesia and Timor Leste set up the joint commission in 2005 to discover the truth surrounding the violence, but refrained from prosecuting those found guilty for the sake of their relationship.

In a show of distrust in the commission, the United Nations refused to send its officials to testify, underlining what it said was the commission's failure to comply with international standards.

The Indonesian chairman of the commission, Benjamin Mangkoedilaga, said the final report would provide conclusive truths about the causes, nature and coverage of human rights abuses in East Timor in 1999.

The contents of the report, he added, would be recognized as part of the history of the two countries.

The governments of Indonesia and Timor Leste will review the joint commission's findings, before the report is made public.

The commission was scheduled to submit the report to the Indonesian and Timor Leste presidents by March 31 (today), but Benjamin said this could change.

"We are still waiting for responses from both presidents as to when and where they can receive our final report," Benjamin said.

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