Selected postings from east-timor (reg.easttimor)

Subject: ET NGOs: Building Peace, Justice & Reconciliation


CIIR, Agenda Item 9

My name is Amado Hei. I am here to speak on behalf of CIIR to express the views of East Timorese civil society organisations (CSOs) regarding peace, justice and reconciliation in our country.

As you are all aware, East Timor will be celebrating the first anniversary of our independence this coming 20th May. We are proud to see for the first time, a governmental place card with the name Timor-Leste clearly marked upon it in the observer section of this auditorium.

However, the violence in Timor Leste during 1999 was a form of serious crime constituting 'crimes against humanity'. The International Commission of Inquiry formed by the UN in September 1999, recommended an international tribunal to deal with these crimes.

In spite of the fact that the UN itself was also a victim of this violence and UN staff members were killed, the UN agreed to encourage Indonesia to bring those responsible for the violence of 1999 to justice in Indonesia. At the same time, the UN formed the Serious Crimes Unit within the Office of the Timor Leste Prosecutor, and the Special Panel for Serious Crimes at the Dili District Court with exclusive jurisdiction to investigate, prosecute and try those responsible for serious crimes during 1999. The Serious Crimes process continues.

The Ad Hoc Tribunal established by the Indonesian Government has already shown that it is not operating in accordance with international standards. (1) Only a fraction of the crimes committed in our country during 1999 fall within the jurisdiction of the Ad hoc Tribunal. (2)

The military and civilian authorities who have been indicted and tried have been charged with neglecting their duties to prevent conflict between two groups. (3) These are the same leaders who were said by KPP-HAM (4) to have been involved in forming militia, arming them, planning and directing their operations, so that there was a "widespread and systematic attack on the civilian population". (5) The indictments that were presented to court have been ill-prepared. (6) Sentences handed down by the Ad Hoc Tribunal are far shorter than that required by the law on which the Ad Hoc Tribunal operates. (7)

International human rights standards, set down by the international community, require accountability for human rights violations, war crimes and crimes against humanity. What has taken place at the Ad hoc Tribunal is a partial process, which has ignored both the number and the systematic nature of the killings. It is a process that has allowed for impunity. (8)

In the meantime, the work of the Serious Crimes Process in Timor Leste has been deliberately frustrated by Indonesia, as the majority of those indicted by SP are in Indonesia, outside the jurisdiction of the Special Panel, and Indonesia has ignored the April 2000 MOU it signed with UNTAET promising to cooperate with the judicial processes in East Timor.

The East Timorese CSOs therefore recommend a review of the process in Indonesia to hold those responsible for the violence in Timor Leste during 1999 to account. The aim of such a review should be to assess whether the Ad Hoc Tribunal is still the appropriate process for this or whether there should be another mechanism to ensure justice, or whether universal jurisdiction should apply. We believe the international community as a whole has a responsibility to prosecute these crimes.

The East Timorese CSOs also urge that the international community give full support, including material support, to the Serious Crimes process in Timor Leste. Reconciliation takes time and effective effort. A process which stands the risk of abandonment long before its work is done, may well hinder rather than help long term reconstruction. Given the resources the international community has invested in East Timor over the past five years, we think, in stark economic terms, there should be interest in ensuring that this is not jeopardised by a failed peace process.

The international community cannot close the possibility for the formation of an international tribunal for Timor Leste. Crimes against humanity are regarded under international law as being jus cogens, that is they cannot at any time be violated. The international community is increasingly acknowledging that there cannot be impunity for crimes against humanity.

The reality is that the government of Indonesia has not demonstrated a commitment to conduct prosecutions in Indonesia and to cooperate with the court in Timor Leste. The CSOs of Timor Leste are therefore calling on the international community to establish an international tribunal in order that those responsible for the violations in Timor Leste will finally face justice.

1 .,This is a view which is expressed by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, in his January 2003 report of his visit to Indonesia.

2 Only 18 people have been indicted by the tribunal and there are no signs that any further indictments will emerge. Some of the key suspects, such as the former Commander of the TNI, General Wiranto and the Head of the Indonesian Taskforce in Timor Leste during 1999, Major General Zacky Anwar Makarim, who based on the principle of command responsibility, must be brought to account, have not been indicted in Indonesia.

3 Pro-autonomy and pro-independence.

4 Komnas Ham, the Indonesian Human Rights Commission.

5 The only exception to this is Eurico Guterres who has been charged with the commission of crimes.

6 They also do not outline the systematic nature of the violence but rather focus on individual events.

7 The former Governor of East Timor, Abilio Osorio Soares, was sentenced to only three years in jail, while the law requires that the minimum sentence handed down is 10 years. Noer Muis, the Military Commander of East Timor from August 1999 received a sentence of five years. The military, police and civilian authorities responsible for the Suai Church massacre were acquited.

8 This is because many of those responsible have not been held to account. The large number of incidents of violence against women have not been dealt with at all by the tribunal. Those trials that have taken place have not been conducted in accordance with international standards. that require accountability. The international community cannot accept this.

Back to April menu

World Leaders Contact List
Human Rights Violations in East Timor
Main Postings Menu

Note: For those who would like to fax "the powers that be" - CallCenter is a Native 32-bit Voice Telephony software application integrated with fax and data communications... and it's free of charge! Download from



make a pledge via credit card here

Bookmark and Share

Background | Take Action | News | Links | What You Can Do | Resources  | Contact

ETAN Store | Estafeta | ImagesHome | Timor Postings | Search | Site Index |