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versaun tetum iha kraik

c/o Timor-Leste NGO Forum, Caicoli, Dili, Timor-Leste Tel. +670 7278653 (Nicolau Alves)
dan +670 7284602 (Edio Saldanha Borges)

Statement Truth and Friendship Commission Investigation must be for Justice, Not Amnesty

The Indonesia-Timor-Leste Truth and Friendship Commission held its second public hearing from 26-30 March. This event includes testimony from a number of high ranking military and Indonesian government officials, officials who served in the East Timor provincial government in 1999, several commanders of the “Integration Fighters’ Force” and a number of East Timorese who were victims of human rights violations in 1999.

The Timor-Leste Alliance for an International Tribunal – which is comprised of a number of non-governmental organizations working in the field of human rights, student organizations, and victims and their families – wishes to emphasize the following points:

  • Section 160 of the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste states that “Acts committed between the 25th of April 1974 and the 31st of December 1999 that can be considered crimes against humanity of genocide or of war shall be liable to criminal proceedings with the national or international courts.” The mandate of the Truth and Friendship Commission is to seek the truth about serious crimes in Timor-Leste before, during and after the 1999 referendum which was conducted based on the May 5 agreement between Indonesia, Portugal and the United Nations.

  • In international law there is a Set of Principles to Combat Impunity (E/CN.4/2005/102/Add.1, Principle 24) requiring that cases of genocide, crimes against humanity, gross violations of the 1949 Geneva Convention and Additional Protocol I, as well as other violations of humanitarian law and international human rights law (such as torture, forced disappearance, extra-judicial killings, and slavery) must be brought to trial. Furthermore, these principles state that amnesty may not be given in such cases.

  • On this basis, we demand that the truth-seeking conducted by the Truth and Friendship Commission be carried out so as to bring those individuals who are suspected of being directly or indirectly responsible (by instigating, ordering or planning) and/or those individuals found to have had either individual responsibility or command responsibility to justice. We reject the suggestion that such individuals may be granted amnesty. * The Truth and Friendship Commission’s mandate to “promote friendship as a new and unique approach” may only be applied in the case of minor crimes, not the serious crimes mentioned above. In addition, the recommendation that the Truth and Friendship Commission grant amnesty may only be applied to individuals who are suspected of having committed minor crimes, not serious crimes.

  • If the Truth and Friendship Commission recommends amnesty for the perpetrators of serious crimes, that recommendation cannot be applied in Timor-Leste because it would contravene the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. Furthermore, such a recommendation would be in violation of international law (including The Principles to Combat Impunity) which regulates relations between civilized nations, and hence would not be acknowledged by the international community.

Dili, 28 March 2007

Board, Timor-Leste Alliance for an International Tribunal

Mari Afonso
Edio Saldanha Borges
Flaviano Lemos
Francisco Soares
Sisto dos Santos
Santina Soares
Nuno Rodriguez

see also  Human Rights, Accountability & Justice page



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