10 Years After Timor's Independence, Where Is the Justice?
Contact: John M. Miller, firstname.lastname@example.org
May 16, 2012 - The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network
(ETAN) congratulated the people of Timor-Leste as they prepared to
celebrate the 10th anniversary of the restoration of their country's
independence on May 20.
"This important milestone is the result of the persistent struggle
and great suffering of the people of Timor-Leste," said ETAN's
National Coordinator John M. Miller. "ETAN is proud to have played
our part in supporting Timor's self-determination and now
"The nation faces many challenges. With independence, its people are
in a position to decide its future rather then have Indonesia impose
its will on them," he added.
Timor's independence was prevented for nearly 25 years by the U.S.
and other governments' support for Indonesia's illegal invasion and
occupation. Yet, no senior officials of any country have been held
accountable for the horrific human right violations and war crimes
that took place.
The F-FDTL should not arbitrarily take on the
role of the police, and this role should never include threats to take
extrajudicial actions which violate fundamental human rights,
"The U.S., other governments and the United
Nations must commit themselves to achieve justice for the victims
and their families." said Miller. "ETAN will not rest until justice
"Human rights violators from elsewhere have been prosecuted, often
long after their crimes were committed. But Indonesia and others
continue to obstruct holding accountable those who facilitated and
carried out crimes during the occupation," he added.
“Ongoing impunity for the systematic Indonesian military and
police crimes prevents the people of Timor-Leste and Indonesia from
consolidating their democracies and moving on with their lives.
While Timor-Leste is now independent, its people will not be able to
overcome their tragic past without justice for what was done to them
and their families,”
Neither Congress nor the administrations of George W. Bush and
Barack Obama have responded to the recommendations of Timor-Leste's
Commission for Truth, Reception and Reconciliation, although many of
them are directly addressed to the U.S. and other governments. These
include the Commission's call for an international tribunal to try
perpetrators of crimes against humanity during the Indonesian
occupation, reparations from Indonesia and other countries that
supported the occupation, and restrictions on foreign assistance to
the Indonesian military.
"The U.S. and others should press President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
to immediately release all information that can help identify and
locate those who were disappeared during the occupation,”
The recent conviction of former Liberian
President Charles Taylor for his support of rights violators in
Sierra Leone should sound a note of caution for members of the Obama
and former US administrations. This ruling provides a precedent for
prosecuting those who arm, train and politically support those who
commit the worst abuses, even if they do not directly organize or
carry them out.
"The Obama administration should restrict U.S. military assistance
to Indonesia until the Indonesian generals and political leaders who
organized and directed numerous crimes against humanity during the
24-years of illegal occupation are credibly tried," Miller added.
Instead, the Obama administration is considering the sale of deadly
Apache attack helicopters to the Indonesian military.
As detailed in declassified documents released by the National
Security Archive and elsewhere, on December 6, 1975, then-U.S.
President Ford and Secretary of State Kissinger gave Indonesian
dictator Suharto a green light to invade East Timor, which his
military did the next day. The U.S. supplied 90 percent of the
weapons used during the invasion. From Ford to President Clinton,
successive U.S. administrations consistently backed Indonesia's
occupation, providing Jakarta diplomatic cover and billions of
dollars in weaponry, military training, and economic assistance.
During more than two decades of occupation of Timor-Leste,
Indonesian soldiers committed serious crimes with impunity, taking
as many as 184,000 Timorese lives and torturing, raping and
displacing countless others. Timor-Leste became independent in 2002.
Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation researched
and documented the nation's
experiences during the occupation. The Commission's
comprehensive 2,500-page report recommended establishment of an
international criminal tribunal and also advocated that countries
(including the U.S.) which backed the occupation and corporations
which sold weapons to Indonesia during that period should pay
reparations to victims. The Commission urged the international
community not to support Indonesia's military until it was
thoroughly reformed and respectful of human rights.
Last year, ANTI (Timor-Leste National Alliance for an International
Tribunal) demanded that the United Nations Security Council "cut the
chain of impunity in Timor-Leste and other countries by establishing
a credible International Tribunal in order to judge the principal
perpetrators of serious crimes and crimes against humanity in
Timor-Leste during the Indonesian occupation."
The UN-supported serious crimes process filed a
number of indictments of a number of Indonesian officials and East
Timorese militia leaders for crimes against humanity committed
during the referendum on independence in 1999.
ETAN was formed in reaction to the 1991 Santa Cruz massacre, when
hundreds of peaceful demonstrators were gunned down by Indonesian
troops carrying U.S.-supplied weapons
http://etan.org/timor/SntaCRUZ.htm. On May 20, ETAN members will
be honored by the Timorese government with the Laran Luak medal for
its contribution to the liberation of Timor-Leste. The U.S.-based
organization, which celebrated its 20th anniversary
http://etan.org/etan/20anniv/default.htm last December 10,
advocates for democracy, justice and human rights for Timor-Leste
and Indonesia. For more information see ETAN's web site:
(see full article
Police officials have made similar threats (see
prominent politicians have called on the police not to hesitate
to arrest people who use strong language.
While there have been a few worrying examples of violence against
property during the Presidential campaign, police or soldiers should
not summarily punish perceived lawbreakers. Everyone accused of a
crime has a right to a fair trial.
After suffering 24 years of illegal Indonesian occupation,
Timor-Leste is struggling to create a government and society based
on the rule of law, which respects fundamental human rights. These
rights, as guaranteed in the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, include
the right not to "be arbitrarily deprived of his life." (Article 6)
The Covenant also protects free expression (Article 19) and bars
arbitrary punishment and detention without charge (Article 9).
Timor-Leste ratified the covenant and other key human rights
treaties soon after independence in 2002.
Timor-Leste's constitution establishes a "State based on the
rule of law, the will of the people and the respect for the dignity
of the human person" (Section 1) and integrates approved
international conventions into domestic law (Section 9), as well as
guaranteeing freedom of speech (Section 40).
Commander Lere's comments on election security were especially
inappropriate because the internal security role of the military is
limited. Under Timor-Leste's constitution (Section 146), military
forces are to defend against external threats or aggression, and are
involved in domestic security only when the police request backup in
an emergency or when the President has declared a state of siege or
The F-FDTL should not arbitrarily take on the role of the police,
and this role should never include threats to take extrajudicial
actions which violate fundamental human rights, like those recently
made by the F-FDTL commander.
Fundasaun Mahein recently wrote "There is currently no directive
from the Ministry of Defence and Security outlining the function of
the F-FDTL in the Presidential and Parliamentary elections."
organization also urged Timor-Leste's security forces not to
"take the law into their own hands by applying the system of shoot
first, ask later." The military and police are supposed "to protect
and serve the community and to uphold the rule of law."
ETAN was formed in 1991. ETAN will be monitoring Timor-Leste's
upcoming Parliamentary election and has been present at every Timor
election since the 1999 vote on independence. ETAN advocates for
democracy, justice and human rights for Timor-Leste and Indonesia.
See ETAN's web site:
* This quote in the article is translated from the original Tetum. As
reported by the Independente newspaper, Lere said "Atu garante
eleisaun la'o di'ak, atu dehan ba se de'it maka halo krimi nia tenki
simu konsekuensia tama kumarka, ou selai baisa iha ospital ka tiru
mate no nia fatin maka iha rate."
see also Join ETAN in
observing Timor-Leste's 2012 Parliamentary elections
Jenerál Timor nia Ameasa kona-ba Eleisaun bele
Estraga Estadu de Direitu Demokrátiku
Kontaktu: John M. Miller
East Timor and
Indonesia Action Network/Rede Asaun ba Timor-Leste no Indonesia
(ETAN) preokupa ba ameasa militár atu tiru mate ema ne'ebé distúrbiu
prosesu eleitorál iha Timor-Leste.
ne'ebé bazeia iha Estadu Unidus kondena deklarasaun públiku iha
semana kotuk hosi Major Jenerál Lere Anan Timur, komandante militár
Timor-Leste (F-FDTL), katak “Atu garante eleisaun la'o di'ak, atu
dehan ba se de'it maka halo krime nia tenke simu konsekuénsia tama
komarka, ou se lae baisa iha ospitál ka tiru mate no nia fatin maka
iha rate." Jenerál Lere fó sai deklarasaun ne'e iha abertura kuartél
jerál defeza foun iha 3 Abríl.
Ofisiais polísia mós
halo ameasa ne'ebé hanesan (ba ezemplu hare
no polítiku na'in ne'ebé proeminente husu ona ba polísia atu lalika
duvida hodi kaptura ema sira ne'ebé uza linguajen maka'as. (
Maske iha ezemplu
balu hosi violénsia kontra propriedade ne'ebé hamosu preokupasaun
durante kampańa eleitorál, polísia no soldadu sira labele fó pena
arbiru ba ema ne'ebé sira sente katak viola lei. Ema hotu-hotu
ne'ebé akuzadu hosi krime ruma iha direitu ba prosesu tribunal
durante tinan 24 hosi okupasaun ilegál Indonézia, daudauk ne'e
Timor-Leste luta ba kria governu no sosiedade ida ne'ebé bazeia ba
estadu de direitu, ne'ebé respeita direitu umanus fundamental.
Direitu sira ne'e, garantia ona iha Konvensaun Internasionál ba
Direitu Sivíl no Polítika, inklui direitu atu labele “hadau ema nia
moris tuir gostu” (Artigu 6). Konvensaun ne'e mós proteje liberdade
ba espresaun (Artigu 19) no kontra pena arbiru no detensaun sein
akuzasaun legal (Artigu 9).
Timor-Leste ratifika ona konvensaun no tratadu xave seluk ba direitu
umanus lalais liu hafoin independénsia iha 2002. Konstituisaun RDTL
estabelese “Estadu ida-ne'ebé demokrátiku, soberanu,
ukun-an no ida-mesak, harii hosi povu nia hakarak no iha respeitu ba
dignidade ema moris ida-idak nian Artigu 1). No integra konvensaun
internasionál sira ne'ebé aprova ne'e iha lei doméstiku (Artigu 9),
nune'e mós garantia liberdade atu ko'alia sai (Artigu 40). http://www.jornal.gov.tl/public/docs/ConstituicaoRDTL_tetum.pdf
Komentáriu komandante Lere nian kona-ba seguransa eleisaun
espesialmente la apropriadu tanba knar ba seguransa internal hosi
militár ne'e limitadu. Tuir Konstituisaun RDTL (Artigu 146), Forsas
armada atu defende ameasa ka agresaun eksterna, no sira sei involve
ba seguransa rai-laran bainhira de'it PNTL husu atu ajuda iha tempu
emerjénsia ruma ka bainhira Prezidente deklara estadu de sítiu ka
emerjénsia. F-FDTL labele ho arbiru foti knar polísia nian, no knar
ida ne'e labele inklui ameasa atu hetan asaun ekstrajudisiál ne'ebé
viola direitus umanus fundamental, hanesan daudauk ne'e komandante
Fundasaun Mahein daudauk ne'e hakerek “la iha diretiva ruma ne'ebé
konstitui F-FDTL nia papél iha eleisaun prezidensial no parlamentár
husi Ministériu Defeza no Seguransa.”
Organizasaun ne'e mós husu “ita nian forsas seguransas sira labele
tau lei iha sira nian liman ho sistema ida tiru uluk depois mak husu
ikus. … PNTL no F-FDTL nian Knaar mak tenke defende lei no proteje i
ETAN ne'e harii iha 1991. ETAN sei monitoriza eleisaun Parlamentár
Timor-Leste oin mai, no monitoriza eleisaun nasionál hotu iha
Timór-Leste dezde votasaun ba independénsia iha 1999. ETAN halo
advokasia ba demokrasia, justisa no direitus umanus ba Timor-Leste
no Indonézia. Hare ETAN nia website:
Translated from Tetun
from April 4, 2012 Independente newspaper
Major General Lere Threatens to Shoot Criminals Dead
Supporters of Presidential Candidates Continue to Provoke Each Other
By Eugenio Pereira
Dili: The Commander of the FALINTIL Defense Force of Timor-Leste (F-FDTL):
Major General Lere Anan Timur threatened loudly to shoot to kill
people who damage the presidential and parliamentary elections this
He challenged that any person or group who dares to start conflicts
relating to the presidential and parliamentary election would face
consequence of death or hospitalization.
"To ensure that the elections run well, I say to anyone who would
carry out a crime that they must accept the consequence of being
jailed or if not jailed, will be put in the hospital or shot to
death and their place will be in the cemetery," Lere informed
journalists at the F-FDTL Headquarters, Fatuhada, Dili on Tuesday,
yesterday [3 April 2012].
Lere spoke in strong language to address public rumors that have
emerged between candidates for President of the Republic Taur and
Lu-Olo that if one loses, violence will occur.
Major Lere Anan Timur said, F-FDTL and PNTL will not tolerate those
people who creates violence through force.
In this way, Lere continues share thoughts to people and youth so
that they can better strengthen the peace so that the general
election process can run more smoothly.
Lere said that he believes strongly what the candidates Taur and Lu-Olo
have promoted: that between the two of them, no matter who wins or
loses, they will both work to continue their contribution to
stability and peace.
While the Commander of F-FDTL strongly threatened to shoot to kill,
at the same time, supporters of the two candidates continue to
provoke one another which could lead to a situation of anarchy,
house burnings and the damaging of cars.
There was a house burning incident that happened in aldeia Halimean,
suco Ahik, Dilor, Lacluta, District Manatuto.
Some people burned the house of the Vice Coordinator of Taur Matan
Ruak's electoral success team, Pascoal Martins (47) in Dilor.
This incident happened in the middle of the night at 1am on March 31
According to a communication the INDEPENDENTE received yesterday
Tuesday from the success team of Taur Matan Ruak, as soon as the
incident happened, the national police in Dilor captured the
A similar case happened on April 2 when the vice coordinator of Taur
Matan Ruak's victory team was attacked by supporters of the other
candidate in the area of Afatakai (suco Buruma, subdistrict Baucau).
Bere Du'u, Vice Coordinator of Taur Matan Ruak's success team, was
attacked between 6:30 and 7:00 at night when his convoy team went
through a road of supporters of the other candidate (near Mr.
Ximenes alias "Chico Koko Took" has a house in front of the incident
and got it on film.
Supporters of the other candidate made the assault on a (green)
Prado car of Vice Coordinator Bere Du'u and shattered one of the
side mirrors. People in the area brought machetes to try to slash
Vice Bere Du'u.
With this, the Victory Team for Taur Matan Ruak at the national
level contacted immediately the President of CNE to inform him of
the situation and to ask for help to take measures about the
incident. The President of CNE, within minutes, telephoned the
Victory Team to tell them that he had called PNTL Baucau and
appealed to the other candidate to pay attention to this situation.
PNTL did take measures, intervened and captured three people and
brought them into confinement in a cell in Baucau. At this time the
investigation process is still under way for the three suspects to
know their motive in this attack. With this occurrence, candidate
Taur Matan Ruak is distressed with the criminal attitude that would
attack and intimidate against his supporters.
Taur made a strong appeal to all people to support a smooth running,
peaceful, calm process without violence for this second round of
campaigns. There must be respect for all candidates, mutual respect,
respect for the rules and laws that orient the whole process.
He asked people not to believe rumors or gossip and not to give in
to intimidation or violence, respond to provocations, but instead to
put strong trust in the state authorities.