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Liquica survivors still seeking justice, human rights and truth

On 4 April 2009, more than 200 people gathered in the town of Liquiçá, Timor-Leste. Under a banner “Reflections about Ten Years since the Massacre 5-6 April 1999 in the Liquiçá Church” the contemplative audience included local residents, survivors, and relatives of the dozens of civilians killed there ten years previously, as well as a few human rights activists. The designated topic was “Long road to achieve justice, rights, and truth for the victims of the massacre.” 

Participants heard from Father Rafael dos Santos (in whose house most of the dozens of murders took place), Vice President of Parliament Vicente Guterres, Minister for Social Solidarity Maria Domingas Alves, Provedor for Human Rights and Justice Sebastiao Ximenes, UNMIT Human Rights chief Louis Gentile, former UNAMET official Patrick Burgess, Secretary of State for Training and Employment Bendito Freitas, and representatives of the post-CAVR Technical Secretariat and the organizing committee. After the speeches, local residents and survivors were allowed to give testimony and comments and to ask questions.

President Jose Ramos-Horta, Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão, and UN Mission chief Atul Khare had promised to attend, but none made an appearance. Neither did any of the former Commissioners of the Commission for Truth, Reception and Reconciliation (CAVR) or Truth and Friendship Commission (CVA).

The Liquiçá massacre, committed by the Besih Merah Putih militia with support from Indonesian military and police, killed and wounded more than 100 unarmed refugees who had fled previous pro-Indonesia violence to seek shelter in the priest’s residence after. It was part of a systematic Indonesian campaign to terrorize people and sabotage the UN-facilitated negotiations leading to the referendum. On the tenth anniversary, officials scarcely mentioned Indonesia or accountability, and the word “impunity” did not pass their lips, notwithstanding that none of the directors of this campaign has been brought to justice.

The government representatives spoke in detail about future recognition and payments from the Timor-Leste Government to veterans and pro-independence victims. The dead Liquiçá refugees were described as "heroes" of the independence struggle. Most in the audience were not satisfied, as this did not address their concerns about where the bodies of their loved ones were, how the perpetrators will be brought to justice, or why they feel excluded from the benefits of independence.

Ten years of experience had led the community to expect disappointment, so they were not surprised, even as they persist in demanding justice and truth. As the meeting closed, they presented the following petition (original Tetun follows English translation).

-- Charlie Scheiner



1.      President of the Repúblic, Dr. José Ramos Horta;
2.      President of the National Parliament, Mr. Fernando Lasama de Araújo
3.      Prime Minister, Mr. Kayrala Xanana Gusmão
4.      President of the Court of Appeals, Dr. Claúdio Ximenes
5.      Prosecutor-General of the Republic, Dr. Ana Pessoa
6.      Provedor for Human Rights and Justice, Dr. Sebastião Ximenes
7.      Bishop of Díli Diocese, Dom Alberto Ricardo da Silva
8.      Bishop of Baucau Diocese, Dom Basílio do Nacimento
9.      Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), Dr. Atul Khare;
10.      CAVR
11.      High Commissioner of Human Rights in Timor-Leste;

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen of the sovereign organs and distinguished Parliamentarians; Liquiça

We who have lost our husbands, fathers, children and families as victims of the Massacre on 6 April 1999 give our humble and complete respect to your Excellencies.

We, families of victims, one more time would like, with open hearts and infinite patience, to share our thoughts with the men and women who lead our Nation, Timor-Leste, the United Nations, and national and international non-governmental organizations that on Monday and Tuesday, 5-6 April 1999 (ten years ago), there was a major massacre in the Saint Brito Church Residence in Liquiça that wounded many civilians and killed powerless people only because they struggled for the principle of INDEPENDENCE at that time. The terrible criminal actions and attitudes came from PRO INDONESIA MILITIAS who were supported or together with the MILITARY (TNI) and POLICE (POLRI) resulted in violations AGAINST THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF TIMORESE CIVILIANS by the thousands, who in their struggle for INDEPENDENCE thus hide themselves, together with Father Rafael dos Santos and Father Yosep Daslan in the residence. Many civilians were killed, wounded or tortured, although the final result was INDEPENDENCE, and many women were widowed because their beloved were killed, children were made orphans because their fathers died, and many others became victims or were killed, or lost their parents, siblings, and children that they loved very much, giving their lives for INDEPENDENCE.

We have sad hearts and difficult lives until today, 5-6 April 2009, when the clock marks ten years already passed, no person, group, national or international NGO, government or state has come to tell us where our wives, husbands, children, mothers or fathers, brothers and sisters or family who were massacred: WHERE WERE THEIR BODIES BURIED OR DISCARDED?? DUMPED IN THE RIVER OR MAUBARA LAGOON OR IN KARIMBALA SEA FOR FISH TO EAT?

The Criminal Militia Leaders who, together with the Criminal Military TNI and POLRI who assassinated our husbands, our fathers and our children in the Residence of S.B. Church in Liquiça on the 5-6 April 1999 until today have not been jailed or received any penalty, but have become POLITICAL THEATRE FOR THE LEADERS OF THE TWO COUNTRIES which lack MORAL AND POLITICAL RESPONSIBILITY TO PROVIDE REPARATIONS ACCORDING TO THE RECOMMENDATIONS of CAVR’S “CHEGA.” Afterwards, CVA was created, comprised of TIMORESE who never dreamed of the PRINCIPLE OF INDEPENDENCE but used the Timorese people’s money to go back and forth DILI-DENPASAR and DENPASAR-DILI, with great concern for the families of victims and others who were killed, who cry and pray for those killed because of INDEPENDENCE, going and coming but never finding any work, and never receiving attention from most of the leaders who in the hard times lived in foreign countries or abroad.

KOFI ANNAN, former UN Secretary-General, came to visit the Massacre site in 2000, and Mary Robinson, High Commissioner for Human Rights, visited the same site in 2003 to show solidarity for us, the victims who continue to wait patiently for the process of JUSTICE and TRUTH.

After the long time from the Transition to the Restoration of Independence on 20 May 2002, we hoped that these cases could be processed in Court to achieve Accountability for those people who were involved in human rights violations on 5-6 April 1999, as is guaranteed in Article 160 of our own Constitution or Mother Law. In Indonesia, they created the Ad Hoc Human Rights Court to process cases of human rights violations which happened in Liquiça and other places of our beloved independent Timor-Leste before and after the 1999 REFERENDUM, but not one TNI or POLRI, high or low, has been held responsible, because the Ad Hoc Court was only another POLITICAL THEATER to justify that they did no wrong. Timor-Leste itself had trials, conducted by the Special Panels, but their mandate already ended in 2004 according to the UN’s mandate. The CAVR process also concluded its mandate to write a report and make recommendations under the name Chega in October 2005, but until today the National Parliament, the first and second legislatures, have not discussed or debated this report or its recommendations. Victims and families of victims until today continue to suffer, until when can we truly say AMEN because fair JUSTICE and TRUTH is served according to the MOTHER LAW as REQUIRED.

Maybe you have already forgotten, but there must be JUSTICE it is the right path and TRUTH? For this reason we, victims and victims’ families, commemorate and celebrate the tenth anniversary of the MASSACRE on 6 April 1999, to express our demands based on the Constitution Article 48, by which we exercise our rights as follows:

1.      We demand that National Parliament recognize and consider 6 April 1999 as an historical day for Timor-Leste, especially for Liquiçá District.

2.      We demand that National Parliament urgently debate the CAVR Report “CHEGA” and its recommendations and to enact a resolution or law to implement JUSTICE for us the VICTIMS.

3.      We urgently demand that National Parliament make a law about REPARATIONS: (a) Medical treatment, especially for victims who were shot in the massacre, (b) financial support every month for every victims’ family or every person until JUSTICE and TRUTH are achieved, to discover where our husbands’, fathers’ and children’s bodies were buried or dumped? (c) scholarships for boy and girl orphans from pre-primary school through university in Timor-Leste or foreign countries.

4.      We demand the Government of Timor-Leste allocate state funds for a reparation program for victims and victims’ families who until today have not found work and continue to suffer and have difficult lives every day.

5.      We demand that the state hold trials for the criminal perpetrators who committed these human rights violations ten years ago.

6.      Finally, we victims and victims’ families ARE NOT SATISIFED with the MEMBERS OF CAVR who became Members of CVA, using our rights to politicize our suffering and contribution to the independence of RDTL, and they who contradict INDEPENDENCE today, they play freely with the rights of Timorese, while not debating in Parliament to find any solution, and we victims and victims’ families ask and are really concerned: are we who are still alive, and those who died, considered AS THIEVES?

7.      We attached to this Petition our Petition from 5-6 April 2008, to which we victims and families of victims have not yet received any ANSWER or CONSIDERATION.

We pray and request God the Father, the souls of the Dead, and our Sacred Country Timor, to support victims and families of victims in attaining justice and truth,

We victims and families of victims still put our trust in the Leadership of the President of the Republic Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta, President of the National Parliament Mr. Fernando Lasama de Araújo, Prime Minister Kayrala Xanana Gusmão including Bishop of Díli Diocese D. Alberto Ricardo and Bishop of Baucau Diocese D. Basílio do Nacimento to provide Reparations according to the CAVR report CHEGA” in order to finally achieve some social justice at last. Many thanks for your attention and consideration.

Photo from Lao Hamutuk


1.      Presidente da República, Dr. José Ramos Horta;
2.      Presidente do Parlamento Nacional, Sr. Fernando Lasama de Araújo
3.      Primeiro Ministro, Sr. Kayrala Xanana Gusmão
4.      Presidente do Tribunal Recurso, Dr. Claúdio Ximenes
5.      Procuradoria Geral da República, Dra. Ana Pessoa
6.      Provedoria dos Direitos Humanos e Justiça, Dr. Sebastião Ximenes
7.      Amo Bispo da Diocese de Díli, Dom Alberto Ricardo da Silva
8.      Amo Bispo da Diocese de Baucau, Dom Basílio do Nacimento
9.      Representante Sec. Geral da ONU em Timor-Leste (UNMIT), Dr. Atul Khare;
10.    CAVR
11.    Comissário Alto Direitos Humanos em Timor-Leste;

Excelência Senhores e Senhoras do Orgão Soberano e Destintos Deputados e Deputadas; Liquiça

Ba dala uluk ami nebe lakon laen, aman, oan e família víctima ba Massacre 6 de Abril de 1999 hatóo ami nia hakraikan no respeito tomak ba Sua Excias sira.

Ami família victima ba dala ida tan hakarak hó laran luak no paciência tomak fó hanoin ba Senhores e Senhoras Nai Ulun Bot Nação Timor-Leste ONU no Organização não Govermental Nacional no Internacional katak iha loron Segunda no Terça-feira data 5-6 de Abril 1999 (tinan 10 liu ba) acontece Massacre Bot ida iha Residência Igreja São de Brito Liquiça nebé hakakenek vítima civil barak no hamate (oho mate) ema força laek tamba deit luta ba princípio UKUN RASIK”AN iha tempo neba. Ação no attitude at (Criminosos) husi emar MILICIAS PRO INDONESIA nebe suporta ka hamutuk hó MILITAR (TNI) E POLICÍA (POLRI) hodi hamossu VIOLÊNCIA CONTRA DIREITOS HUMANOS POVO CIVIL TIMOR OAN rihun ba rihun nebe Hakarak Luta ba UKUN RASIK”AN mak la iha força hodi ba subar an hamutuk ho Padre Rafael dos Santos no Padre Yosep Daslan iha residência. Ema Civil barak mak mate, kanenek no tortura saseluk nebe iha resultado ikus maka UKUN RASIK”AN no Feto barak sai faluk tamba (laen kaben) nebe hadomi mate, oan kiak barak tamba aman mate no ema barak sai vitima ka mate restu, no inan-aman maun-alin barak lakon oan sira nebe hadomi teb-tebes maybe fó no entrega an vida tomak ba UKUN RASIK”AN.

Laran tarido no susar tebes maka tóo ohin loron 5-6 de Abril de 2009 nebe marka ona ponteiro ba TINAN SANULU (10) ona, ema ida, grupo ida, organização não-govermental nacional internacional ida, governo no estado ida mai hateten ba ami fen kaben, oan feto ka mane, inan ka aman, maun no alin ka eh familia bot nebe Sai Massacrrado (nakukun) katak: SIRA ISIN MATE HAKOI NO SOE IHA NEBE?? SOE IHA MOTA KA SOE IHA LAGOA MAUBARA KA SOE IHA TASI KARIMBALA HODI IKAN HAN??

Autor Milicia Criminosos sira nebe hamutuk ho Autor Criminoso Militar TNI no POLRI nebe halao assassinato ba ami nia laen kaben, ami nia aman no ami nia oan sira iha Residência Igreja S. B. Liquiça iha dia 5-6 de Abril de 1999 toó ohin loron sei dauk hetan kastigu ou pena ida ba sira, SÓ SAI TEATRO (SANDIWARA) POLITIKA ULUN BOT NASAUN RUA nebe la iha RESPONSABILIDADE MORAL POLITIKA HODI HALO REPARASAUN TUIR REKOMENDASAUN CAVR “CHEGA”. Tuir fali haríi CVA nebe Composto husi ema TIMOR-OAN nebe ukuk nunka mehi ba PRINCIPIO UKUN RASIK A’AN hodi usa povo timor nia osan hodi semo ba mai DILI-DENPASAR E DENPASAR-DILI, kuitado tebes ba familia vitima no mate restu sira nebe halerik no reza ba sira nebe oho mate tamba UKUN Rasikan, lao ba lao mai nunka hetan serviço ida e nunka hetan atenssaun husi nai ulun bot balun ke iha tempo susar iha hela estrangeiro ka rai liur.

KOFI ANNAN EIS-SECRETARARIO GERAL ONU nian mai visita toó iha fatin Massacre iha tinan 2000 no Mary Robinson, Komisariu Altu Nivel ba Direitus Humanus nian mós mai visita iha fatin hanesan iha tinan 2003 hodi fó solidariedade baa mi vitima sira hodi kontinua hein ho paciência processo ba JUSTIÇA NO LIA-LOS.

Depois de tempo naruk ida husi Transisaun ba Restaurasaun independência loron 20 de maio de 2002, hein katak kazu hirak nee bele procesa iha Tribunal hodi hetan Akontabilidade ba ema sira nebe mak involve iha violasasaun direitos humanos iha dia 5-6 de Abril de 1999, tamba Konstituissaun ka Lei Inan rasik fó garantia iha artigo 160. Iha Indonesia haríi Tribunal Ad Hock HAM hodi processa kazu violassaun direitus humanos mak akontece iha Liquiça no fatin seluk iha rai doben independente Timor-Leste antes no depois de REFERENDUM tinan 1999 maibe laiha TNI no POLRI bot ka kiik ida maka responsabiliza, tamba tribunal ad-hock hanesan fali TEATRO ka SANDIWARA deit hodi justifika katak sira la sala. Iha Timor-Leste rasik halo dunik processo julgamento liu husi tribunal painel special maybe nia mandate remata tiha ona iha tinan 2004 tuir mandate ONU nian. Processo CAVR nian mós remata tiha ona ho nia mandate hodi hakerek relatoriu no hasai rekomendassaun ho naran “CHEGA” iha fulan Outubru tinan 2005, maybe too agora Parlamento Nacional iha primeira no segunda legislature seidauk diskuti no debate kona ba relatoriu no rekomendassaun refere. Vitima no familia vitima sira too ohin loron sei sofre nafatin ba nafatin too bain hira los maka AMEN KA JUSTIÇA NO LIA-LOS nebe JUSTU tuir LEI INAN HARUKA.
Karik ita atu haluhan tiha deit ou tenke iha JUSTIÇA mak DALAN LOS NO LIA-LOS?; ho razaun ida nee maka ami vitima no familia Victima sira nebe maka komerara no celebra tinan bad ala sanulu (10) loron MASSAKRE 6 de Abril de 1999 hodi hatoo ami nia ejijencia baseia ba Konstituissaun artigu 48 hodi ezerse ami nia direitu maka hanesan tuir mai nee:

1.      Ami ejiji ba Parlamento Nacional atu rekonece e considera loron 6 de Abril de 1999 hanesan loron istoriku ba Timor-Leste especial ba Distrito Liquiçá.

2.      Ami ejiji ba Parlamento Nacional atu debate urgente ba Relatoriu CAVR ho nian rekomendassaun “CHEGA” hodi hasai resolussaun ou lei hodi implementa JUSTIÇA ba ami VITIMA sira;

3. Ami ejiji Urjente ba Parlamento Nacional atu halo lei kona ba REPARASAUN: (a) Tratamento saúde especial ba vitimas nebe sofre husi tiru, iha Maassacre laran (b) ajuda financeiro kada fulan ba kada familia vitima ou kada ema ida iha fulan ida too hetan JUSTIÇA NO LIA-LOS hodi deskobre ami nialaen kaben, aman no oan nia isin mate hakoi no soe iha nebe??? (c) bolsa de estudo ba oan kiak feto no mane iha escola pre primária toó universitário iha Timor-Leste no nassaun estrangeiro;  

4.      Ami ejiji ba Governo de Timor-Leste atu tau orsamento financeiro estado nian ba programa reparassaun ba vitima no familia vitima sira nebe too ohin loron sidauk hetan servico e sei terus no susar ba vida moris loro-loron nian;

5.      Ami ejiji ba estado atu halao processo julgamento ba autor criminoso sira nebe halo violasaun direitus humanus nebe maka akontece tinan sanulu (10) liu ba;

6.      Ikus liu ami vitima no familia vitima LA SATISFAZ ho MEMBROS CAVR e IKUS MAI SAI Membros iha CVA nebe usa ami nia direito hodi politiza ami nia sofrimento de contribuição ba nassaun RDTL independente e soberrano, e sira be uluk kontradiz ho UKUN RASIKÁN agora sira goza livre dadaun timor oan barak nia direito seidauk debate iha Parlamento Nacional hodi buka nia solução e ami husi Vítima no família Vítima questiona no preocupa tebes hodi hateten keta ami mate restu no sira mate née tamba NAOKTEN KARIK?

7.      Iha Petição ida neé, ami anexa mós Petição 5-6 de Abril de 2008 nebé sei dauk hetan RESPOSTA E CONSIDERAÇÃO mai ami vítima e família vítima.

Ami harohan no hamulak ba Aman Maromak, ba Matebian sira, no Rai Lulik Timor hodi haraik tulun ba vitima no familia vitima hodi hetan justisa no lia-los,

Ami vitima no familia vitima mós sei fiar metin ba Liderança Senhor Presidente da República, Dr. José Ramos Horta, Senhor Presidente Parlamento Nacional Fernando Lasama de Araujo, no Senhor Primeiro Ministro, Kayrala Xanana Gusmão inclui Amo Bispo Diocese de Dili, D.Alberto Ricardo no Amo Bispo Diocese de Baucau, D. Basílio do Nacimento hodi hetan Reparação tuir relatoriu CAVR “CHEGA” hodi nunee bele hetan Justiça-Social ida iha loron ikus. Obrigado wain tebes ba atenção no consideração.


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