For Immediate Release
July 5, 2000
Contact: John M. Miller, ETAN, +1-718-596-7668; +1-917-690-4391 (US)
Bonar Tigor Naipospos,Solidamor +62-21-422-4079 or +62-21-422-6348 (Indonesia)
Paul Barber, TAPOL, +44-1420-80153 (UK)
Calling "speedy justice ... essential," dozens of non-governmental organizations and human rights campaigners today urged UN Secretary General Kofi Annan "to recommend to the Security Council that it takes immediate steps to establish an international tribunal for East Timor."
In a letter delivered to the Secretary-General, the groups wrote that such a tribunal is "the only viable option" to achieve justice for East Timor. Citing a lack of effectiveness by the Indonesian government in prosecuting those responsible for the systematic violence in East Timor last year, the NGOs wrote that an international tribunal "is the only way you can fulfill your responsibility to ensure timely justice for East Timorese victims of gross violations of human rights and breaches of international humanitarian law." Click here for the full text of the letter.
"Speedy justice is essential for peace, reconciliation and stability in East Timor - and for democracy and stability in Indonesia," the letter argued.
The letter, coordinated by the 39-member International Federation for East Timor was signed by an additional 89 organizations and individuals from 26 countries. The groups urged the Secretary-General to follow through on the UN's International Commission of Inquiry on East Timor recommendation of an international tribunal. Last February the Security Council encouraged Indonesia "to institute a swift, comprehensive, effective and transparent legal process, in conformity with international standards of justice and due process of law'. The letter said these conditions will not be met for some time.
The letter said "the main obstacles to the speedy completion of the Indonesian process are the lack of political will in certain quarters to ensure the process succeeds, the serious flaws in the human rights courts bill now before the Indonesian Parliament, and the poor calibre of judicial personnel."
Among the groups signing the letter were the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues, Canadian Labour Congress, Veterans for Peace (U.S.), Catholic Institute for International Relations (UK), KWIA, Support Group for Indigenous Peoples (Belgium) and Initiatives for International Dialogue, the Phillipines. Indonesian groups signing included PBHI (Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association), Solidamor (Solidarity Forum for Peace in East Timor) and PIJAR (Information Centre and Reform Action Network).
In the months leading up to last August 30 vote in East Timor, the International Federation for East Timor sent 140 non-partisan observers to East Timor to observe the U.N.-administered consultation process. IFET was formed in 1991 to support the self-determination process for East Timor at the United Nations. It now has 39 member groups from 23 countries.
A copy of the letter can be obtained by visiting http://etan.org/ifet/sgletter6.html.
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