etmnlong.gif (2291 bytes) spacer see also S. Con. Res. 9

107th CONGRESS 1st Session

H. CON. RES. 60

Condemning the violence in East Timor and urging the establishment of an international war crimes tribunal for prosecuting crimes against humanity that occurred during that violence.

Current list of co-sponsors
Dear Colleague letter seeking additional co-sponsors


March 12, 2001

Mr. EVANS (for himself, Mr. KENNEDY of Rhode Island, Ms. NORTON, Mr. KUCINICH, Ms. BALDWIN, Mr. MCGOVERN, Mr. RUSH, Mr. CAPUANO, Mr. STARK, Mr. ANDREWS, Mr. WOLF, Mr. KIRK, Ms. PELOSI, Mr. HOEFFEL, Mrs. LOWEY, Mr. FRANK, Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA, Mr. LANTOS, Mr. UDALL of Colorado, and Mr. WAXMAN) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on International Relations


Condemning the violence in East Timor and urging the establishment of an international war crimes tribunal for prosecuting crimes against humanity that occurred during that violence.

Whereas the people of East Timor experienced an unprovoked and violent attack in the aftermath of a peaceful referendum in which they cast an overwhelming vote for national independence;

Whereas in East Timor at least 1,000 people were killed, thousands of people were injured, 500,000 people were displaced, much of the infrastructure was destroyed, and scores of communities and villages were completely destroyed by roving bands of militias and paramilitary organizations;

Whereas some Indonesian military officers and personnel and some Indonesian civilian police helped to train and arm the militias and paramilitary organizations before setting them loose to terrorize the people of East Timor and destroy their homes, businesses, and personal property;

Whereas the Indonesian ranking military officers and civilian police officers not only failed to keep the peace in East Timor after the referendum on national independence, but in some cases actually incited violence and participated in widespread killing, rape, forced displacement, mayhem, and wholesale property destruction;

Whereas numerous militia leaders who have been implicated in various crimes against humanity in East Timor continue to operate with impunity in West Timor and throughout Indonesia, and none have been formally charged and brought to trial in Indonesia for the wave of violence, murder, rape, and terror inflicted on the people of East Timor, particularly in preparation for, in the conduct of, and in the aftermath of the 1999 referendum;

Whereas Indonesia is a party to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other international human rights agreements and is legally obligated to comply with those agreements;

Whereas the continuing failure to investigate, indict, prosecute, and secure convictions and appropriate punishment for those responsible for so much death, violence, and destruction among the people of East Timor continues to fuel an environment of terror, fear, and crime in East and West Timor and along their common border, thus trapping tens of thousands in squalid refugee camps and preventing their safe return to their homes;

Whereas the Indonesian Government has failed to follow through on its agreement to provide evidence and accused criminals to the justice system of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor, creating circumstances whereby lower-level East Timorese militia members are brought to justice in East Timor, while East Timorese militia leaders and Indonesian military officers with command responsibility reside in Indonesia without fear of prosecution;

Whereas the Indonesian Government has yet to take all necessary steps to create a court with authority to prosecute past crimes under internationally-recognized human rights and humanitarian law, and the authority of the National Human Rights Commission of Indonesia to investigate such crimes is limited;

Whereas in August 2000, Indonesia's upper house of parliament passed a constitutional amendment prohibiting retroactivity in prosecutions;

Whereas repeated assurances to the international community and to the Congress by the Indonesian Government of impending action against the perpetrators of crimes against humanity in East Timor have produced few noticeable or substantive results; and

Whereas gross violations of the human rights of the people of East Timor and of United Nations personnel who render basic humanitarian services in East and West Timor, have gone unpunished since January 1, 1999, and the perpetrators of these violations have not been brought to justice: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring),


(a) DEPLORING VIOLENCE- The Congress--

(1) deplores the widespread and systematic violence that--

(A) has occurred in East Timor and in the refugee camps of West Timor since January 1, 1999; and

(B) has resulted in many murders and rapes and the near-total destruction of numerous villages on East Timor and of the infrastructure of that troubled island;

(2) decries the continued existence of an environment of intimidation, misinformation, instability, terror, and fear in the refugee camps housing tens of thousands of displaced people from East Timor, many of whom wish to return to East Timor but are too scared to repatriate freely and return safely to their home communities;

(3) denounces the leaders of the militias and paramilitary groups who are responsible for the violent attacks, pillaging, and mayhem that has caused so much suffering and property destruction in East Timor, as well as their accomplices in Indonesia inside and outside of that sovereign country's armed forces; and

(4) continues to support the courageous efforts of those in Indonesia working toward domestic prosecutions of the individuals most responsible for the violence following the 1999 referendum on national independence, but recognizes that these efforts face overwhelming obstacles.

(b) SENSE OF THE CONGRESS- It is the sense of the Congress that the President and the Secretary of State should--

(1) endorse and support the establishment of an international criminal tribunal for the purpose of prosecuting culpable Indonesian military and police officers and personnel, leaders of local militias and paramilitary organizations, and other individuals who are responsible for crimes--

(A) against humanity in East Timor, including the unlawful use of force and systematic murder, rape, and terrorism; and

(B) against United Nations personnel deployed in East Timor and in the refugee camps of West Timor;

(2) direct the pertinent agencies of the executive branch--

(A) to begin collecting and organizing such information (including from intelligence sources), and to provide such appropriate resources, as will be necessary to assist in preparation of indictments and prosecution of such crimes before an international criminal tribunal; and

(B) to undertake any additional inquiries and investigations that would further such efforts; and

(3) work actively and urgently within the international community for the adoption of a United Nations Security Council resolution establishing an international criminal court for East Timor.

April 24, 2001 

Dear Colleague: 

More than a year and a half after the East Timorese people voted overwhelmingly for independence from Indonesia, they have yet to see any semblance of justice. In a systematic fashion during the 1999 referendum period, the Indonesian military and its militia proxies committed numerous crimes against humanity resulting in:

* 1500 people killed;
* Unknown number of women and girls raped; 
* 70%-80% of the country's infrastructure destroyed; 
* 3/4 of its population displaced. 

Currently 50,000 to 100,000 East Timorese refugees continue to languish in militia-controlled refugee camps in Indonesian West Timor, including some held as sexual slaves. 

Since 1975, Indonesian security forces have committed gross human rights violations against the East Timorese people. Not one Indonesian soldier has been held accountable for crimes committed in 1999. On the contrary, many military officers responsible for crimes against humanity retain positions of prestige and power, often continuing to wage terror campaigns against the Indonesian people. 

Indonesia has shown that it has neither has the will nor the ability to put its own military and police officers on trial. East Timor's fledgling justice system has been severely hindered by the refusal of the Indonesian government and military to cooperate with the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor. UN investigators have repeatedly been denied access to any Indonesian personnel involved in the 1999 atrocities. Further, given its size and extreme poverty, East Timor lacks the capability and infrastructure to support investigations and trials of the magnitude necessary to achieve justice. 

An international tribunal on East Timor is the only way to ensure that victims of the Indonesian military and militia violence in East Timor obtain justice for crimes committed against them, allowing them to move forward with their lives and rebuild their new nation. International pressure for an international tribunal has been and will continue to be essential in ensuring injustices in East Timor and Indonesia are addressed. 

We have introduced House Concurrent Resolution 60, calling for an International War Crimes Tribunal on East Timor. This resolution sends a clear, unambiguous message of Congressional support for an International War Crimes Tribunal on East Timor. Human rights activists returning from East Timor have told us that for the East Timorese, the first step in healing their wounds and restoring national dignity is a full and fair trial of the perpetrators of these atrocities. 

Please contact Kevin Gash (Evans) at or 5-5905 or Kimber Colton (Kennedy) at or 5-4911 or if you would like to cosponsor this resolution. 



Additional Information on Justice for East Timor

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