ETAN Calls for Release of East Timor Truth Commission Report
Urges Full Discussion of Its Findings and Recommendations
For Immediate Release
Contact: John M. Miller, 718-596-7668; 917-690-4391
Karen Orenstein, 202-554-6911
December 1 - The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network
(ETAN) today called for the quick release of the full report of East
Timor's truth commission, the Commission for Reception, Truth and
Reconciliation in East Timor (known by its Portuguese initials, CAVR).
The group said a wide-ranging discussion of its findings and
recommendations is necessary not only for Timor-Leste but for the
United States, Indonesia and other countries.
"Wide circulation of the truth commission's report and
recommendations are essential to charting a course of justice for
victims," said John M. Miller, National Coordinator of ETAN. "An
understanding of the devastating impact of the U.S.-backed
Indonesian invasion 30 years ago and quarter-century of illegal
occupation are crucial to ensuring that no other people suffer a
“Many outside of East Timor - including in the U.S. and Britain -
remain ignorant of events there or still believe distorted versions
of their own government's role," Miller added. “No one should fear
full disclosure or calls for genuine justice and reparations.”
"The report will help Timor-Leste and Indonesia move beyond this
painful, shameful period of their shared history, strengthen their
ability to live peacefully as neighbors, and reinforce rule of law
and democracy," he said. "It should be widely accessible to civil
society in both countries and internationally. Since the report has
been prepared in Indonesian, Portuguese and English, it should be
made available in all three languages."
"The CAVR report is the product of three years of extensive
research by dozens of East Timorese and international experts. Its
completion is especially timely, given the Bush administration's
recent decision to ignore the criminal record of many high-ranking
Indonesian military officers. Just last week, the Bush
administration steam-rolled over congressional intent in
waiver to allow unfettered U.S. support for Indonesia's unrepentant
military," said Miller.
"The CAVR report will be very useful to the UN as well. We
understand that the CAVR report's recommendations have much in
common with those of the UN Commission of Experts (COE)," said
Miller. "These include the need for an effective judicial process to
try those responsible for crimes against humanity in Timor-Leste,
with a call to establish an international tribunal if other
processes fail to provide substantive justice."
Earlier this year, the
COE evaluated justice processes for East
Timor since 2000 and found that none had provided sufficient
accountability. The UN Security Council has asked the Secretary
General to provide recommendations in response to the
On December 7, 1975, Indonesia, using almost exclusively
U.S.-supplied weapons, launched its full-scale invasion of East
Timor, only hours after U.S. President Gerald Ford and Secretary of
State Henry Kissinger had given their authorization to Suharto, the
Declassified documents released this week by the Washington-based
National Security Archive (NSA) show that multiple U.S.
administrations were well aware of Indonesia's intention to invade
and of the tragic consequences of that invasion and occupation, even
as they sought to keep that information from the public and
Congress. The NSA researched and obtained these documents to assist
the CAVR in its work.
On November 28, Timor-Leste's President Xanana Gusmao handed the
final report of the CAVR to East Timor's parliament and prime
minister. The President has not yet made the 2,500-page report
public, confounding local and international expectations with a
controversial interpretation of the law.
ETAN advocates for democracy, justice and human rights for East
Timor and Indonesia. ETAN calls for an international tribunal to
prosecute crimes against humanity committed in East Timor from 1975
to 1999 and for restrictions on U.S. military assistance to
Indonesia until there is genuine reform of its security forces.
Additional news and statements on CAVR report
Human Rights &