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Indonesia Must Confront Its Past, Accept Responsibility and Deliver Justice for Timor Atrocities

ETAN Posts Entire Timor Truth Commission Report on Website

Contact: John M. Miller, 718-596-7668; 917-690-4391 (cell)
Karen Orenstein, 202-544-6911

February 16 – In light of Friday’s meeting between the presidents of Timor-Leste and Indonesia, the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) today called on Indonesia to fully accept the findings and enact the recommendations of Timor-Leste's Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (known by its Portuguese acronym, CAVR). The presidents are expected to discuss the report and the bilateral Indonesia - Timor-Leste Commission on Truth and Friendship.

“Indonesia bears primary responsibility for the illegal invasion and occupation of East Timor,” said John M. Miller, National Coordinator of ETAN. “Instead of seeking to bury the past, Indonesia should ensure that those responsible for crimes against humanity and other systematic human rights violations in Timor-Leste are brought to justice. This would send a strong message to a still recalcitrant military,” he added. “The cycle of impunity in Indonesia cannot end and democracy fully flourish until there is real justice for Timor-Leste.”

ETAN posted the full CAVR report in English and Bahasa Indonesia on its website today. (See http://www.etan.org/news/2006/cavr.htm.)

“President Gusmao asked NGOs to help make the CAVR report widely available once he had delivered it to the UN and certain governments, which has happened,” said Miller, who met with Gusmao in January. “The report contains information that needs to be widely known. Indonesia, the United States, the UN and others must act on its recommendations.”

President Xanana Gusmao with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono  
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (R) greets his East Timor counterpart Xanana Gusmao at a meeting in Tampak Siring palace on the resort island of Bali February 17, 2006. REUTERS/Presidential Secretary-Dudi Anung.  

The CAVR report states that a new relationship between Timor-Leste and Indonesia requires “the principles of acknowledging the truth of the past, accountability for violence, and a spirit of generosity in assisting those who have been harmed by that violence.”

The report calls on Indonesia to provide “full documentation of military operations resulting in human rights violations of civilians”; revise its official account so as to “give the Indonesian people an accurate and comprehensive account of the period 1974 to 1999”; and cooperate “fully with any future international or East Timorese initiatives established to address justice for violations of human rights committed in Timor-Leste between 1974 and 1999.” The report also recommends that the Indonesian government, as well as Indonesian businesses which profited from the occupation, contribute to a reparations trust fund.

The CAVR report is the product of three years of intensive research by hundreds of East Timorese and international experts and is based on information from more than 8000 witnesses and victims. The report found that at least 102,800 people died from 1975 to 1999 as a result of Indonesia's invasion and occupation.

The report is critical of the Commission on Truth and Friendship. 

“Under its current mandate the Truth and Friendship Commission (TFC), established over public opposition, does not meet international human rights standards,” said Miller. “It cannot refer anyone for prosecution for serious crimes but can propose amnesties. The international community, including the U.S. government, must not use the TFC to dodge responsibility for accountability,” he added. The two presidents plan to discuss the TFC during their meeting.

The CAVR report covers the period from 1974 to 1999 and urges increased attention to crimes committed before 1999, including the 99% of the total murders committed under the Suharto dictatorship, which received strong backing from foreign governments. UN-sponsored justice processes have so far limited their work to 1999.

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. For more information, go to www.etan.org.

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see also

Additional news and other reports on Truth Commission report and reaction

Human Rights & Justice page


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