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Immediate Release

Contact: John M. Miller, 718-596-7668; 917-690-4391

April 21, 2004 - In a statement, John M. Miller, spokesperson for the East Timor Action Network said:

We are dismayed at the Golkar Party's nomination of General Wiranto for President of Indonesia. The people of Indonesia and East Timor deserve better. Wiranto must stand trial, not stand for office.

We join the people of East Timor in extreme discouragement at the prospects for justice and the future security of the new nation.

Wiranto is responsible through acts of omission and commission for the gravest violations of human right in East Timor and Indonesia.

Wirantoís rise in Indonesian politics speaks volumes about the failure of the United Nations, the U.S. and other countries to act quickly and forcefully for justice. The cycle of impunity continues; those responsible for the devastation in East Timor are now directing similar campaigns in Aceh and Papua.

We urge the United Nations to revisit the recommendation to establish an international tribunal for East Timor made by the UNís Commission of Inquiry in January 2000. We urge the U.S. Congress and Bush administration to withhold all military assistance for Indonesia until Wiranto and others responsible for crimes against humanity in East Timor and Indonesia are brought to justice in judicial processes consistent with international standards.

Further, the United States should keep Wiranto on its visa watch list and bar his travel to the US. All nations should actively work to bring him to justice. If he does travel outside Indonesia, Wiranto should be arrested and transferred to East Timor, where he has been indicted for crimes against humanity. Regardless of the outcome of the coming Indonesian election, his indictment will remain in force until he is arrested and brought to trial.

Justice for East Timor must not take second place to the so-called "war on terrorism" in Indonesia. Indeed, prosecution of Wiranto and others responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity from the 1975 through 1999 in East Timor is necessary to ending the state-sanctioned terror of Indonesia's security forces throughout the archipelago.

Background

Wiranto was Armed Forces Commander and Defense Minister in 1999. Prior to and after East Timorís overwhelming vote for independence, his troops and their militia proxies conducted a campaign of terror resulting in more than 1400 deaths, displacement of three-quarters of the population and destruction of more than 75% of East Timor's infrastructure.

On February 24, 2003, Wiranto was indicted in East Timor for crimes against humanity before the Dili Special Panel, a joint UN-East Timorese court. Soon after, the U.S. State Department placed Wiranto on its visa watch list. Last month, prosecutors in East Timor issued an extensive brief summarizing their evidence against the general.

Indonesia's presidential election takes place July 5. A runoff will take place September 20 if no candidate get more than 50%.

ETAN works with civil society in East Timor and Indonesia in calling for an international tribunal to prosecute crimes against humanity that took place in East Timor since 1975 (see ETAN's Human Rights & Justice page).

 

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