Subject: Lusa: Indonesians rebuffed Timorese call for amnesty recommendations in atrocities' investigation

East Timor: Indonesians rebuffed Timorese call for amnesty recommendations in atrocities' investigation

Denpasar, Indonesia, July 15 (Lusa) - East Timorese members of the bilateral commission with Indonesia on atrocities committed in 1999 suggested amnesty recommendations for the crimes but were turned down by their Jakarta counterparts, commission officials said Tuesday.

"It was from the Timorese side that the suggestion arose for the (Truth and Friendship Commission) to recommend amnesties, the opposite of what everyone expected", one TFC source told Lusa after the commission presented its report following three years of investigation.

"The amnesties would obviously have targeted (ex-) pro-Indonesian Timorese militias, but also members of pro-independence groups", said the official, asking to remain unidentified.

The possibility of the bilateral commission recommending amnesties for the rampages around the time of East Timor's 1999 independence plebiscite was a prime reason for the United Nations keeping its distance from the TFC, a Dili-Jakarta initiative that has been widely criticized by human rights bodies worldwide.

Other TFC sources told Lusa that at least on two occasions it was the direct intervention of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono that led the commission to "advance its investigations", including his guarantee the commission have access to confidential Indonesian military documents.

"It was clear from the beginning that Jakarta had a message: a report that was not credible would be useless", one commission official said.

"The external perception of the TFC was different, sometimes the opposite, of the commission's internal reality", he added.

The senior leaders of East Timor and Indonesia accepted the findings of the commission at a ceremony in Bali Tuesday with both sides acknowledging "institutional responsibility" for the atrocities committed in 1999.

The TCF's final report fingered no individuals and issued to call for those responsible for the violence to be brought to trial.

PRM/SAS.

Lusa


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