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On February 19, 2009 the UN Security Council reviewed the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) prior to a decision on its renewal. Representatives of 60 organizations signed the letter below urging the Security Council to take concrete action to ensure justice and accountability for crimes committed during the Indonesian occupation. - IFET

February 18, 2009

Security Council
The United Nations
1 United Nations Plaza
New York, New York 10017

Your Excellency

We are writing on behalf of organizations long concerned with the justice process in Timor-Leste.

As you meet this week to discuss renewing the UN mission in Timor-Leste, we urge you to look at the unfulfilled UN pledges concerning human rights and accountability for serious human rights crimes committed in Timor-Leste between 1975 and 1999.

We urge the Security Council to seriously examine the recommendations of the 2005 Commission of Experts (CoE) report and Chega! (Enough!), the final report of the Timor-Leste's Reception, Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CAVR), as guides to establishing a process that can contribute to genuine justice and reconciliation. Such a process will support democracy and accountability in both Indonesia and Timor-Leste.


We urge you to use this moment of UNMIT’s mandate renewal to advance justice for the people of Timor-Leste in line with the Security Council’s earlier commitments.

These, as well as reports from independent bodies, all concluded that the right of the people of Timor-Leste and the international community to achieve justice for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed between 1975 and 1999 was not served by the serious crimes process in Timor-Leste and Indonesia’s Ad Hoc Human Rights Court, which in the end convicted no one.

The Security Council ended the serious crimes process in May 2005, although UNMIT has resumed investigating murders committed in 1999, but without a mandate or mechanism for issuing indictments or bringing perpetrators to trial. In addition to its too-restrictive mandate, the Serious Crimes Investigative Team’s (SCIT) investigative process is appallingly slow. With 396 cases from 1999 identified as “outstanding” (the actual number is likely closer to 1,000), only 35 have been investigated to date, with another 38 in process. At this rate, it will take another ten years to complete even this limited work. We encourage the Council to increase the resources and priority allocated to this task, as well as broadening its scope. 

Last year, the flawed joint Indonesia and Timor-Leste Commission for Truth and Friendship acknowledged the institutional responsibility of the Indonesian state and its security forces for crimes committed in 1999. Its terms of reference barred the commission from recommending a mechanism to hold those responsible accountable, naming names, or considering crimes committed during the first 23 years of the Indonesian occupation. We agree with the Secretary-General’s decision that the UN not participate in this process, which risked violating international standards against impunity.

Events between 1975 and 1999 continue to have an impact on the people of Timor-Leste. One of the underlying causes of the 2006 crisis in Dili was that its people continue to suffer from largely-unhealed mass trauma. The manifest failures of local and international justice processes are creating a culture of impunity, in which perpetrators believe they will not be held accountable for murder and other crimes, and where victims often feel that the only justice possible is what they do with their own hands. This attitude contributed to the attempted assassinations of Timor-Leste's President and Prime Minister just one year ago.

The Secretary-General’s Representative on Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons understands this. When he visited Timor-Leste just two months ago, he reported that “… meaningful and enduring reconciliation [for the 2006 crisis] will remain elusive unless impunity for crimes is addressed. At present, the lack of justice for serious crimes undermines the IDPs’ confidence in the state and may pave the way for future violence and displacement.” The UN Special Commission of Inquiry for Timor-Leste reached similar conclusions in 2006: “It is vital to Timor-Leste that justice be done and seen to be done. A culture of impunity will threaten the foundations of the State. The Commission is of the view that justice, peace and democracy are mutually reinforcing imperatives. If peace and democracy are to be advanced, justice must be effective and visible.”

Cambodia has finally begun to try alleged perpetrators of serious crimes going back to 1975. These trials would not be taking place but for the intervention and persistence of the international community, especially the UN. The international community, which so often failed to defend the rights of the Timorese people during the Indonesian occupation, has a responsibility to support justice for crimes committed against all humanity.

We urge you to clarify, and if necessary amend, the role of the SCIT. A full reconstitution of the serious crimes processes is required, in line with recommendations the CAVR's Chega!. This requires at a minimum: a Serious Crimes Unit working within the Office of the Prosecutor-General, a commitment of sufficient resources, and a mandate to investigate prosecute all crimes committed during the Indonesian occupation. Timor-Leste’s judicial system is new and weak. It has no ability to reach perpetrators outside the country, and the small, new nation must maintain good relations with its larger neighbor, this should be a direct UN responsibility.

This would enable prosecution of the more than 300 people already indicted, but who remain at large in Indonesia, and would help provide accountability for serious crimes committed in 1999, as well as those between 1975 and 1998, which constitute the great majority of the killings.

A decade has passed since Indonesia’s violent exit from Timor-Leste, and Indonesia has repeatedly demonstrated that it cannot or will not credibly try or extradite perpetrators of crimes connected with Indonesia’s occupation of Timor-Leste. Interpol should issue arrest warrants for the 312 indictees enjoying sanctuary in Indonesia, thereby preventing these suspects from traveling internationally. Other sanctions should be considered as well.

The best alternative to a revived and strengthened serious crimes process would be for the Security Council to implement the recommendation of the CoE report - to create an ad hoc international criminal tribunal for Timor-Leste, to be located in a third State.

We urge you to use this moment of UNMIT’s mandate renewal to advance justice for the people of Timor-Leste in line with the Security Council’s earlier commitment, expressed nearly ten years ago in Resolutions 1264 and 1272. Failure to do so demonstrates to the people of Timor-Leste and the world that the UN supports a double standard of justice, undermining the rule of law and respect for human rights in Timor-Leste, Indonesia and internationally

This position is widely supported by Timor-Leste’s citizens, especially by the Church, several political parties and civil society. In the past, some leaders of Timor-Leste have expressed ambivalence about international justice mechanisms, believing that their new and poor nation could not take the heat of standing up to its powerful neighbor and former occupier. However, in his 2007 inauguration speech President José Ramos-Horta acknowledged the great teachings of the CAVR report, while at the press conference after the swearing in of the new government, Prime Minister Xanana Gusmăo said that reconciliation cannot be achieved without the truth and the truth would be meaningless without justice.

In his report to the Council this month on UNMIT, the Secretary General “encourage(d) the two Governments [of Indonesia and Timor-Leste] to take concrete steps to ensure full accountability, to end impunity and to provide reparations to victims, in accordance with international human rights standards and principles.” We believe that these Governments have repeatedly demonstrated that they cannot do this alone. The international community must now implement the UN’s repeated promises by allocating the necessary political, financial and legal resources to end impunity for these crimes against humanity.

Yours sincerely,  


Charles Scheiner, Secretariat
International Federation for East Timor

John M. Miller
National Coordinator, East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)
UN Representative, IFET

Pedro Pinto Leite, Secretary
International Platform of Jurists for East Timor,
The Netherlands

Augusto N. Miclat, Jr.
Asia-Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC)
Executive Director, Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID), Philippines

Carmel Budiardjo. Co-Director
TAPOL, Promoting Human Rights Peace and Justice in Indonesia (UK)

Paul van Zyl, Executive Vice President
International Center for Transitional Justice

Shulamith Koenig, Founding President
PDHRE, People's Movement for Human Rights Learning
Recipient of the 2003 UN Award for outstanding achievement in the field of Human Rights

Zelia Cordeiro
VIVAT International

Haris Azhar
KontraS, Komisi Untuk Orang Hilang dan Korban Tindak Kekerasan, Commission for "Disappeared" and Victim of Violence

Gustaf Dupe, Chairman
Association of Prison Ministries, Jakarta, Indonesia

Andreas Harsono
Pantau Foundation, Jakarta

Winston Neil Rondo, Director
CIS Timor Association Volunteers, Indonesia

Maximus Tahu, Coordinator
La'o Hamutuk (Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis)

Casimiro dos Santos, Director
Judicial Systems Monitoring Programme (JSMP) , Timor-Leste

Dinora Grandeiro, Executive Director
NGO Forum of Timor-Leste

Rosa Maria da Sousa, Executive Director
FOKUPERS (Communication Forum for Timor-Leste Women

Yasinta Lujina, Executive Director
Rede Feto (Women's Network) , Timor-Leste

Joao Pequinho, Director
Forum Tau Matan (Watch Forum), Timor-Leste

Gaspar Quintino Freitas, Executive Director
Organizasaun Juventude Liberty (OJL) , Timor-Leste

Carolyn Tanner, Head of Mission
Avocats Sans Frontieres, Timor-Leste
Adi Jose Andre Pinto, Executive Coordinator
SATILOS Foundation, Timor-Leste

Mericio Akara, Director
Luta Hamutuk Institute, Timor-Leste

Jose Caetano Guterres, Coordinator
Chiquito da Costa Guterres, member
East Timor Crisis Reflection Network (ETCRN)
Former CAVR staff

Filomena Barros dos Reis, Human Rights and Justice Activist, Timor-Leste

Maria Angelina L. Sarmento (Lita)
Civil society, Timor-Leste

Dr. Monika Schlicher
Watch Indonesia!, Working group for democracy, human rights and environmental protection in Indonesia and East Timor, Berlin, Germany

Jeff Ballinger
Press for Change

Maire Leadbeater,  Spokesperson
Indonesia Human Rights Committee, New Zealand

Bruno Kahn
CNRS, Paris, France.

East Timor Ireland Solidarity Campaign

Cathy Scott
Regional Manager Asia, Africa, Middle East
Progressio (formerly CIIR)

Kyo Kageura
Japan East Timor Coalition

Endie van Binsbergen, Chair
Free East Timor Foundation (Stichting Vrij Oost Timor), Utrecht, The Netherlands

Koen J. de Jager
Foundation Pro Papua, The Netherlands

Gabriel Jonsson, Chairman
Swedish East Timor Committee

Jess Agustin
Development and Peace, Canada

Dr. Clinton Fernandes
Australian Coalition for Transitional Justice in East Timor

Jude Conway
Asia Pacific Support Collective (APSC)

Eko Waluyo, Program Coordinator
Indonesian Solidarity, Australia

Rob Wesley-Smith, Spokesperson
Australians for a Free East Timor, Darwin, Australia

Rosemary McKay, Chairperson
Australia East Timor Friendship Association SA Inc

Helen M. Hill
Australia-East Timor Association (Melbourne)

Dr Vacy Vlazna
Former Convenor AETA, East Timor Justice Lobby

Levy Latupatty
Moluccas International Campaign for Human Rights

Ed McWilliams
West Papua Advocacy Team, U.S

Rev. John Chamberlin, National Coordinator
East Timor Religious Outreach

Eileen B. Weiss & Sharon Silber, Co-Founders
Jews Against Genocide

Bill Ramsey, Coordinator
Human Rights Action Service, St. Louis, MO

Paul George, Executive Director
Peninsula Peace and Justice Center, Palo Alto, CA

Ben H. Gordon
Pax Christi-N.O

Pierre Labossiere, Co-Founder
Haiti Action Committee

Judith Mayer, Ph.D.
Coordinator, The Borneo Project

William Seaman, Coordinator, East Timor Action Network/Portland

Alan Muller, Executive Director
Green Delaware

Mary Anne Mercer, DrPH , Deputy Director
Health Alliance International

Rev. Dr. Dennis M. Davidson, President
Unitarian Universalist Peace Fellowship

William H. Slavick, coordinator,
Pax Christi Maine

Diane Farsetta, coordinator, Madison-Ainaro (East Timor) Sister-City Alliance

Jim Keady, Director
Educating for Justice, Inc.

John Witeck,  Coordinator
Philippine Workers Support Committee, Honolulu, HI


CC: Members, UN Security Council
Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General
Atul Khare, Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Timor-Leste
Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

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Konsellu Seguransa
Nasoens Unidas
1 United Nations Plaza
New York, New York 10017 USA

Sua Exelensia,

Ami hakerek karta ne’e reprezenta organizasaun sira ne’ebé preokupa kleur ona ho prosesu justisa iha Timor-Leste.

Tanba ita bo’ot sira hasoru malu semana ida ne’e hodi diskute se atu kontinua misaun Nasoens Unidas nian iha Timor-Leste, ami husu ita bo’ot sira atu haree promesa NU nian sira ne’ebé seidauk realiza relasiona ho direitus humanus no akuntabilidade ba krime seriu kontra direitus humanus ne’ebé mosu iha Timor-Leste entre 1975 no 1999.

Ami ezije ba Konsellu Seguransa atu hare didiak rekomendasaun sira husi relatoriu 2005 Komisaun Peritu no Chega!, relatoriu final husi Komisaun Simu Malu, Lialos no Rekonsiliasaun (CAVR), nudar mata dalan atu estabelese prosesu ne’ebé bele kontribui ba justisa no rekonsiliasaun ne’ebé lolos. Prosesu ne’e bele suporta demokrasia no akuntabilidade iha Indonesia no Timor-Leste.

Relatoriu sira iha leten no mos relatoriu husi orgaun independente sira, hot-hotu hetan konkluzaun katak prosesu krime seriu iha Timor-Leste no Tribunal Ad Hoc Direitus Humanus nian iha Indonesia ne’ebé iha ikus la konvense ema ida, la serve direitu ema Timor Leste nian no komunidade internasional hodi hetan justisa ba krime funu no krimen kontra humanidade sira ne’ebé mosu entre 1975 no 1999.

Konsellu Seguransa hapara prosesu krime seriu iha Maio 2005, maski UNMIT hahu fali investiga asasinasaun sira ne’ebé mosu iha tinan 1999, maibe la iha mandatu ka mekanismu atu kondena ka lori kriminozu sira ba tribunal. Sira nia mandatu kloot liu no mos prosesu investigasaun Tim Investigasaun Krime Seriu (SCIT) nian neneik lahalimar. Ho kazu “exepsional” 396 husi tinan 1999 (numeru aktual karik besik liu 1000), kazu 35 deit mak hetan ona investigasaun too agora, ho kazu 38 tan ne’ebé iha hela prosesu. Se kontinua bebeik hanesan ne’e, persija tinan 10 atu kompleta deit servisu ne’ebé limitadu ne’e. Ami fo suporta ba Konsellu atu aumenta rekursu no prioridade ne’ebé aloka ba servisu ida ne’e, no mos atu haluan liu servisu ne’e nia abranjen. Iha tempu badak, klaru katak SCIT persija rekursu no integrasaun liu ho Ofisiu Prokurador Geral Timor-Leste nian.

Tinan kotuk, Komisaun Lialos no Amizade Indonesia no Timor-Leste halo ne’ebé iha problema, rekońese responsabilidade institusional estadu no forsa seguransa Indonesia nian ba krime sira ne’ebé mosu iha 1999. Termus da Referensia husi komisaun ne’e nian bandu komisaun atu fo rekomendasaun kona ba mekanismu atu halo akuntabilidade ba sira ne’ebé responsavel, fo naran ka  konsidera krime sira ne’ebé mosu durante tinan 23 uluk okupasaun Indonesia nian. Ami konkorda ho Sekretariu-Geral nia desizaun katak NU la partisipa iha prosesu ne’e, ne’ebé iha risku atu halo violasaun ba lei internasional kontra impunidade.

Eventu sira entre 1975 no 1999 kontinua fo impaktu ba povu Timor-Leste. Razaun baziku ida husi krize 2006 iha Dili mak ema Timor kontinua hetan terus husi trauma iha populasaun ne’ebé seidauk rekupera husi sira nia trauma. Ho failansu momos iha prosesu justisa lokal no internasional nian kria kultura impunidade nian, no kriminozu hanoin katak sira sei la simu akuntabilidade ba oho ema no krime sira seluk, , no vitima dala barak sente katak justisa so deit bele hetan ho sira nia asaun rasik. Atitudu ne’e kontribui ba tentadu atu oho Presidente no Primeiru Ministru iha tinan kotuk foin lalais ne’e.

Reprezentante Sekretariu Geral nian ba Direitus Humanus husi Deslokadu sira komprende ida ne’e. Wainhira nia vizita Timor-Leste fulan rua kotuk foin lalais ne’e, nia hatoo katak  “... rekonsiliasaun ne’ebé signifikante no tahan kleur (ba krize 2006) sei kontinua susar atu bele hetan wainhira seidauk rezolve problema impunidade ba krime kontra humanidade. Oras ne’e, laiha justisa ba deslokadus sira hamenus deslokadu sira nia konfiansa ba estadu no dala ruma loke dalan ba violensia no deslokasaun iha loron oin.” Komisaun Inkeritu Espesial Nasoens Unidas nian ba Timor-Leste hetan foti konklujaun ne’ebé hanesan iha tinan 2006: “Ida ne’e importante teb-tebes ba Timor-Leste katak justisa halao duni no hatudu katak halao duni.” Kultura impunidade nian sei ameasa fundasaun Estadu nian. Komisaun nian iha pontu de vista katak Justisa, dame no demokrasia nesesariamente haforsa falu. Se hakarak hetan dame no demokrasia, justisa tenki efektivu no hatudu-an duni.

Cambodia finalmente komesa ona atu julga ema sira ne’ebé halo krime seriu iha 1975 kotuk. Julgamentu ne’e sei la halao se laiha intervensaun no persistensia komunidade internasional nian, liu-liu Nasoens Unidas. Komunidade internasional, ne’ebé dala barak falla atu defende direitu husi ema Timor-oan durante okupasaun Indonesia, iha responsabilidade atu suporta justisa ba krime hotu ne’ebé halo kontra humanidade.

Ami ezije ita bo’ot atu rekonstitui lińa investigasaun no prosesu Unidade Krime Seriu nian, iha lińa ida ho rekomendasaun CAVR nian, Chega!. Sistema judisial Timor-Leste nian sei foun no fraku. Nia seidauk iha kapasidade atu kaer kriminozu sira ne’ebé iha rai liur, no nasaun kiik no foun tenki mantein nia relasaun diak ho nasaun vizińu ne’ebé bo’ot liu, ne’e tenki sai responsabilidade direta Nasoens Unidas nian.

Ne’e sei loke julgamentu ba ema 300 liu ne’ebé indika ona, maibe barak sei nafatin hela Indonesia, no sei ajuda oferese akuntabilidade ba krime seriu ne’ebé halo iha 1999, no mos entre 1975 ho 1998, ne’ebé konstitui asasinasaun ba ema besik 99%.

Tinan sanulu liu ona desde Indonesia nia violensia sai husi Timor-Leste, no Indonesia hatudu fila-fila ona katak nia labele ka sei la ho kredibilidade julga ka entrega autor kriminal ba krime sira ne’ebé relasiona ho okupasaun Indonesia nian iha Timor-Leste. Interpol tenki hasai karta kapturasaun ba alegadu 339 ne’ebé goza hela fatin seguru iha Indonesia, nune’e prevene suspeitu sira ne’e ba viajen internasional.

Alternativa diak liu atu hamoris fali no haforsa prosesu krime seriu nian mak Konsellu Seguransa tenki implementa rekomendasaun husi Komisaun Inkeritu nian – Kria tribunal Kriminal Internasional ad hoc ba Timor-Leste, ne’ebé sei halao iha Estadu seluk ida.

Ami ezije ba ita atu uja momentu renovasaun ba mandatu UNMIT nian atu hetan justisa ba ema Timor-Leste tuir Konsellu Seguransa nia komitmentu ida uluk, ne’ebé expresa besik tinan sanulu liu ba uha Rezolusaun 1264 no 1272. Faillansu atu realiza ida ne’e hatudu ba ema Timor-Leste no ba mundu katak Nasoens Unidas suporta justisa ne’ebé ho standartu rua, la konsidera estadu de direitu no respeitu ba dereitus humanus iha Timor-Leste, Indonesia, no mundu internasional.

Pojisaun ida ne’e hetan suporta husi makas husi Timor-oan sira, liu-liu Igreja, partidu politika balu no sosiedade sivil. Uluk, Timor-Leste nia lider balu expresa ona buat ne’ebé kontrariu kona ba mekanismu justisa internasional nian, ho fiar katak sira nia nasaun ne’ebé foun no kiak labele simu konsekuensia husi hamriik kontra sira nia vizińu ne’ebé iha forsa liu no sira nia kolonializador. Maske nune’e, iha nia lia menon ba nia inagurasaun iha 2007, Presidente Jose Ramos Horta rekońese hanorin kmanek husi relatoiru CAVR nian, enkuandu iha konferensia imprensa hafoin halo tiha promesa ba governu foun, Primeiru Ministru Xanana Gusmao hateten katak rekonsiliasaun sei labele hetan se laiha lialos no lialos sei laiha nia signifikadu wainhira laiha justisa.

Iha relatoriu ba Konsellu fulan ne’e kona ba UNMIT, Sekretariu Geral “enkoraja governu rua (husi Timor-Leste no Indonesia) atu foti pasu konkretu hodi asegura akuntabilidade ne’ebé kompletu, atu hapara impunidade no oferese reparasaun ba vitima sira, iha konkordansia ho sasukat no prinsipiu direitus humanus internasional.” Ami fiar katak governu rua ne’e repete fila-fila ona katak sira labele halo buat ne’e mes-mesak. Komunidade Internasional agora tenki implementa promesa ne’ebé UN repete fila-fila hodi aloka rekursu politiku, finanseiru no legal atu hapara impunidade ba krime kontra humanidade sira ne’e.

Ho respeitu,  






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