East Timor: American religious leaders call for international
war crimes court
Washington, May 28 (Lusa) - Representatives of over 90 American religious
groups have called to the United States government to back the creation of
an international court to try the perpetrators of violence in East Timor.
The declaration, whose signatories are primarily Christian leaders, but who
also represent the Muslim and Jewish faiths, has been issued in response
to last week`s acquittal by a Jakarta court of Brig. Gen. Tono Suramatan
on 1999 war crimes charges in Timor.
The Indonesian ad-hoc court for Timor is a "sham" says the document, calling
to the US to actively work with its UN Security Council partners to approve
a resolution creating an international court for Timor.
"World powers must look at Timor's suffering again".
The American religious leaders also say that "the universality of human rights
is at stake".
"The Indonesian military committed endless atrocities in Timor, including
torture, rape, forced sterilization and murder", says the declaration, adding
that "justice cannot be denied in these horrendous crimes without there being
"Timor`s peace and the primacy of Indonesian law have already been seriously
compromised", say the religious leaders.
One of the signatories, Rev. John Chamberlin, said the multi- faith document
was an example of "faith in action", adding that in Timor's case "the crimes
are so well documented and the suffering so grand that it would be a thoughtless
act to not take a position".