East Timor ACTION Network ALERT
SUPPORT JUSTICE FOR EAST TIMOR THE TIME FOR AN INTERNATIONAL
TRIBUNAL IS NOW!
Without an international tribunal, decades of crimes against humanity
will go unpunished - and the brutal, unreformed Indonesian military will
continue to enjoy impunity.
|A UNITED NATIONS COMMISSION CALLED FOR AN
INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL FOR EAST TIMOR IN JANUARY 2000. The
commission called such a move "fundamental for the future
social and political stability of East Timor" and stated
"ultimately the Indonesian Army was responsible for the
intimidation, terror, killings and other acts of violence"
there. Two years later, East Timor has yet to see justice.
The Indonesian government promised to set up its
own ad hoc Human Rights Court for East Timor. But the faults of
this court are numerous: the court's mandate is limited to just
two months and three of 13 districts in East Timor; the judges
named to the court include people with no court experience and
with close ties to the Indonesian military; the politically
powerful military will try to block attempts to hold its top brass
accountable; traumatized East Timorese will be reluctant to
testify in Indonesian courts; and the court will not hear cases of
the widespread, systematic use of violence against women,
including mass rape and forced sterilization.
The U.S. - which provided Indonesia with
substantial military and political support during its occupation
of East Timor - must take a leadership role in calling for an
international tribunal. And the time for a tribunal is NOW.
What you can do:
Make three phone calls to your members of Congress TODAY!
- Ask women's studies scholars and women's organizations to sign
onto a statement supporting justice for the women of East Timor!
- When you talk to your Representative's and Senators' offices:
- urge them to co-sponsor congressional resolutions calling for an
international tribunal for crimes against humanity committed in
East Timor, House
Concurrent Resolution 60 and Senate
Concurrent Resolution 9, "Condemning the Violence in East
Timor and Urging the Establishment of an International War Crimes
Tribunal for Prosecuting Crimes Against Humanity". For a list
of current co-sponsors, see www.etan.org/legislation.
- thank members of Congress who have already co-sponsored the
resolution and ask them to personally let the State Department and
National Security Council know of their support for an
international tribunal for East Timor.
Contact the Washington office of your Representative and Senators
and ask to speak with the foreign policy staff person. All offices can be
reached through the Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121. To find out
who represents you, visit http://www.congress.org.
See sample letter below.
Please let ETAN Washington Representative Karen Orenstein know the
results of your Congressional calls, at 202-544-6911 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
When you talk to scholars, leaders and
organizations focused on women's issues:
- inform them how women were specifically targeted during the
Indonesian military occupation of East Timor through sexual assault,
forced sterilization and forced "marriage" to Indonesian
military personnel. East Timorese women in Indonesian refugee camps
continue to suffer rape at the hands of the military and its militias.
Many women refugees are forced into prostitution to support their
families and live under horrible conditions, with high rates of
domestic violence in the camps.
- ask them to sign on to a statement calling for an international
tribunal to ensure these crimes against the women of East Timor are
meaningfully prosecuted. The statement can be found at www.etan.org/news/2002a/02women.htm.
you for your support! Your efforts do make a difference.
Background The Indonesian military and its militia proxies razed East
Timor following the August 1999 referendum for independence, murdering
thousands, raping hundreds of women and girls, forcing hundreds of
thousands into Indonesian West Timor and destroying 75% of the country's
infrastructure. In January 2000 the United Nations International
Commission of Inquiry on East Timor and the Indonesian government's own
human rights commission both found the Indonesian military responsible for
these crimes against humanity. The UN commission called for the
establishment of an international tribunal. The Indonesian government
balked at the possibility of international trials and promised to
establish its own ad hoc Human Rights Court for East Timor. Shortly after
taking power, current Indonesian president Megawati Sukarnoputri severely
limited the mandate of the court to only two months in 1999 and just three
of 13 districts in East Timor. These limitations, along with other serious
problems - few trials for high-ranking military and government figures,
the continued political power of the Indonesian military, widespread
corruption in the Indonesian judicial system, no cases regarding the
widespread, systematic use of violence against women - make the Indonesian
court unacceptable. This leaves an international tribunal as the only way
to achieve real justice for East Timor, since Indonesian generals and
political leaders and East Timorese militia leaders are in Indonesia,
inaccessible to East Timorese courts, and Indonesia has stated it will not
extradite them for prosecution.
Today, no Indonesian military or police have been held responsible by
the Indonesian government for the atrocities committed in East Timor in
1999, and some 80,000 East Timorese remain trapped in militia-and
military-controlled Indonesian refugee camps. The near-total impunity
enjoyed by the military and militia leaders in Indonesia is a major factor
perpetuating the refugee crisis. Reports from Jesuit Refugee Services note
the "generally very poor" condition of the refugees' health and
"continued intimidation in the camps". An international tribunal
for East Timor must be established NOW, to provide justice for the women
and men of East Timor, to support nation-building in East Timor and rule
of law in Indonesia where systematic abuses continue, and to facilitate
the return of the one-tenth of the East Timorese population still under
Indonesian occupation in squalid refugee camps.
East Timor was invaded by Indonesia in December 1975 with U.S. weapons
and political support. More than 200,000 East Timorese were killed. On
August 30, 1999, the East Timorese voted overwhelmingly for independence
in a UN-organized referendum. After a period of UN administration, East
Timor will become the first new nation of the 21st century on May 20.
Sample letter to Congress
Sample E-mail/ Fax to Congressional offices Congressional e-mail
addresses and fax numbers are available at: http://www.congress.gov Date
Dear Senator /Representative _________,
I am very concerned that decades of crimes against humanity and war
crimes committed against the East Timorese people will go unpunished if
Congress does not act now. East Timor's women and men suffered under a
brutal Indonesian military occupation that ended with the military and its
militia proxies carrying out a devastating scorched-earth campaign in
retaliation for East Timor's overwhelming vote for independence in 1999.
East Timor will become fully independent on May 20. However, no
Indonesian military or police have been brought to trial for a quarter
century of horrific human rights abuses. The recently-established
Indonesian ad hoc Human Rights Court for East Timor is fatally flawed, and
today approximately one-tenth of the East Timorese population remains held
in militia- and military-controlled Indonesian refugee camps.
I am writing to urge you to uphold international human rights standards
and support justice for East Timor by:
* Co-sponsoring (House Concurrent Resolution 60 or Senate Concurrent
Resolution 9), which urges the administration to work actively to
establish an international tribunal for crimes against humanity committed
in East Timor, as called for by United Nations commissions, East Timorese
Nobel Laureate Bishop Carlos Belo, and many others in East Timor and
* For any members of Congress who have already co-sponsored the
resolution: Communicating to the State Department and National Security
Council (the Rep's/Sen's) support for an international tribunal for East
Timor, as shown by (her/his) co-sponsorship of (H.Con.Res.60 or
I thank you for your attention to these important issues, [thank Sen/Rep
______ if they have already co-sponsored H.Con.Res.60 or S.Con.Res.9] and
would appreciate your informing me of the actions (Rep/Sen) _________
takes on these matters.
Your name, address, city, state, zip
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