Subject: JP: RI, T. Leste Both Involved in 'Gross Rights Violations': CTF

also ETimor prepared to accept independence poll report; Consensus on East Timor report: Dionisio Babo Soares; Jakarta guilty of murder in East Timor

The Jakarta Post

Saturday, July 12, 2008

RI, T. Leste both involved in 'gross rights violations': CTF

Tony Hotland, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Indonesian security and civilian forces committed "organized gross human rights violations" during Timor Leste's 1999 independence vote, for which they should take responsibility, a government-backed report has concluded.

The 380-page, nine-chapter report by the Commission of Truth and Friendship (CTF) is to be formally submitted to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Timor Leste's President Jose Ramos-Horta in Nusa Dua, Bali, on Tuesday.

The report, a copy of which was obtained by The Jakarta Post, also concluded the Timor Leste administration was responsible for the illegal detentions constituting gross human rights violations that were committed by pro-independence groups.

CTF co-chairman Benyamin Mangkoedilaga said the commission informally shared its report with both governments after it was completed in early April this year.

"But no revisions were made," he said Friday, quashing reports the findings may have been watered down.

The commission found Indonesian Military personnel, police and civilian authorities "consistently and systematically cooperated with and supported the militias in a number of significant ways that contributed to the perpetration of the crimes".

"Viewed as a whole, the gross human rights violations committed against pro-independence supporters in Timor Leste in 1999 constitute an organized campaign of violence," it said.

The crimes included murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, torture, illegal detention, forcible transfer and deportation carried out against the civilian population.

Timor Leste voted to separate from Indonesia in 1999. The United Nations estimates about 1,000 Timor Leste people died during the postelection mayhem.

The two governments set up the CTF in 2005 to look into the violence, but it has no power to prosecute nor any mandate to name individual perpetrators.

The report said the two governments should apologize and work to get information or form a body about people who disappeared.

The commission, the report said, did not recommend any amnesty or rehabilitation for any persons.

A joint declaration draft to be signed by both presidents Tuesday says "both governments accept the findings, conclusions and recommendations of the commission, and recognize the truth that gross violations of human rights occurred prior to and immediately after the popular consultation in 1999 in Timor Leste".

In the draft, seen by the Post, both presidents express "remorse to all to those who suffered pain and physical and psychological wounds as direct or indirect victims".

Indonesia's highest court cleared 18 people of all charges over the violence, including ex-militia leader Eurico Gutteres.

The United Nations has boycotted the CTF, saying it would whitewash the atrocities. In 2005, it created a Commission of Experts, which recommended the creation of an international criminal tribunal on Timor Leste and that Indonesia submit dossiers on several officers, including Gen. (ret) Wiranto, for investigation.

Wiranto's name was removed from the dossiers submitted to the ad hoc human rights tribunal. Wiranto, currently an aspiring president, was the Indonesian Military chief at the time of the Timor Leste vote.

In February this year, Timor Leste signed an agreement with the UN on assisting its prosecutor's office. This agreement gives the UN Integrated Mission in Timor Leste (UNMIT) access to all sensitive records regarding the rights violations.

The agreement also rehashes UN resolution 1704 in 2006 ordering UNMIT to assist Timor Leste in reviving investigations.

ETimor prepared to accept independence poll report

Updated 53 minutes ago

The leaders of East Timor and Indonesia will meet in Bali on Tuesday to officially receive the Commission of Truth and Friendship report.

The governments of both nations say they are prepared to accept the final report into the militia violence that occurred during 1999's independence vote.

The commission calls for an apology from both countries for the gross human rights violations committed.

East Timor's foreign minister, Zacarias Da Costa, told Radio Australia that while he has not fully read the report, if it recommends an apology be made, the government will try to ensure it happens.

"If the report says so, definitely the government has to implement it," he said.

"I cannot say if we are going to do it tomorrow or the next day, but certainly we will look at all the recommendations and we will try to fully implement."

Consensus on East Timor report: Soares

AAP

July 12, 2008 - 4:58PM

A long-awaited report that blames Indonesia for murders, rapes and torture in East Timor in 1999 was achieved by complete consensus among all the Indonesian and East Timor commissioners involved, one of its authors said.

The landmark East Timor Indonesia Commission of Truth and Friendship (CTF) report - to be formally handed to both country's presidents in Bali on Tuesday - says Indonesia bears responsibility for the violations.

East Timor's chief commissioner Dionisio Babo Soares said it was at times difficult to bring together opposing views among the 10 commissioners involved - five each from Indonesia and East Timor.

"But let me assure you that everything that was in the final report was achieved through consensus," he said in Dili.

"No any single dissenting opinion from anyone in the commission.

"Everyone, from the commissioners and staffs alike, all had a consensus on the results of the report."

A leaked copy of the final draft of the report calls for an apology from the presidents of both countries to the people of Indonesia and East Timor, especially to the victims of the violence of 1999.

Up to 1,500 people were killed in the violence surrounding the historic 1999 vote for independence in East Timor.

The bloodshed eventually prompted the intervention of an Australian-led military force.

Indonesia has said it will completely accept the report, which found Indonesian government funds were diverted to pro-autonomy militia groups which committed organised and coordinated attacks. It also found that some Indonesian army personnel sometimes played a leading role in the violence.

Soares warned not to expect too much from the official handover of the report on Tuesday.

"We expect the two governments to come up with a joint statement, [but] we don't expect them to delve into making any statement that has to do with recommendations, because this is something that will be done later on," he said.

The commission was boycotted by the UN and many human rights advocates expected the report to be a whitewash, ignoring the atrocities of the past in a bid to repair relations between the two nations.

But the report explicitly says Indonesia bears responsibility for gross human rights violations, which included murder, rape and torture.

It also says pro-independence groups were found to have also committed violations - predominantly illegal detentions.

The commission mandate was limited to establishing if institutions were responsible for violations in 1999, and it was not allowed to recommend prosecutions.

"But as I said we have pushed the limits," he said.

"We are very grateful ... particularly (for) our commissioners from Indonesia who have actually tried so hard to understand and go through all the details, along with our advisers, to come up with a report like this.

"We hope this report will be appreciated both nationally and internationally."

He expected most Timorese would be satisfied with the report.

"I think the central theme of the recommendations ... is to address not only the reconciliation between both nations, but most importantly, to look at the state of the victims - victims have been the priority of the commissioners in debating the recommendations."

He said the commissioners may play a role in the future implementation of the reports findings.

--

Financial Times

Jakarta guilty of murder in East Timor

By Lisa Murray in Jakarta

Published: July 12 2008 02:35 | Last updated: July 12 2008 02:35

The Indonesian government, police and military “bear institutional responsibility for gross human rights violations” in East Timor, a report commissioned by both countries to be released next week in Bali reveals.

Indonesia has to date denied responsibility for the <http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/129c869a-ffef-11da-93a0-0000779e2340.html>chaos and violence that spread through East Timor ­ leaving an estimated 1,500 people dead, including the Financial Times correspondent Sander Thoenes ­ after the islanders voted for independence from Jakarta in 1999.

An earlier Indonesian inquiry cleared all but <http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/34ce0742-db79-11da-98a8-0000779e2340.html>Eurico Guterres, a militia leader, of guilt for the violence and his conviction was overturned by Indonesia’s Supreme Court earlier this year.

The report will ask that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono apologise for the systematic murder, rape and torture of civilians.

The East Timor Indonesia Commission of Truth and Friendship report does not place individual responsibility or recommend specific prosecutions but the commission also refrained from using power granted by the two governments to grant criminal amnesties.

“The violence in 1999 was not random, isolated or spontaneous,” the report, seen by the Financial Times, says.

Indonesia’s military is singled out for supplying militia groups with weapons and allowing its headquarters to be used for illegal detentions “where severe mistreatment of civilians including torture and sexual violence sometimes took place.”

The police are criticised for being involved in the violence and failing to prevent it. The civilian government comes under fire for allowing itself to be dominated by the military.

Human rights activists are disappointed with the report. “While it is positive that the commission doesn’t recommend amnesty for those involved in the crimes, it should have gone further,” Usman Hamid, director of Kontras, the human rights group, said on Friday.

“It is important to name names and there is no recommendation from the commission for the government to pursue prosecutions.”

The report also lays blame, to a lesser extent, on pro-independence groups in East Timor for rights violations, particularly illegal detentions and calls on that state to offer an official apology too.

The launch of the report comes at an awkward time for Mr Yudhoyono, as the legislative election campaign officially kicks off on Saturday.

He cannot ignore the findings, which build on those of four previous reports by the UN and other organisations, but he will be under pressure to defend the military’s role.

Another presidential candidate, General Wiranto, was head of the military during the East Timor campaign and has never faced any charges over the violations that took place on his watch.

A spokesman for the Indonesian military refused to comment until the report is officially released.


Back to July menu 
June

World Leaders Contact List
Main Postings Menu