Subject: May Need War Crimes Tribunal In E. Timor -UN Official

Associated Press, August 5, 2000

UN Official: May Need War Crimes Tribunal In E. Timor

DILI, East Timor (AP)--The United Nations may still need to set up an international war crimes tribunal to prosecute those responsible for the death and destruction that gripped East Timor last year, the visiting U.N. high commissioner for human rights said Saturday.

Mary Robinson said that if Indonesia fails to punish the people behind the violence that followed the overwhelming vote for independence last August, the United Nations may have to.

"The most important thing is to bring perpetrators to justice," she said after arriving in the capital Dili. "That can either be done by courts in Indonesia or in East Timor. Or if it is necessary it can be done by an international tribunal."

Anti-independence militia and some Indonesian soldiers went on a rampage after the U.N.-sponsored ballot that ended 24 years of Indonesian rule.

Dozens of civilians were killed, thousands of buildings were wrecked and burned and tens of thousands of people were displaced.

Order was restored only after an Australian-led peacekeeping force arrived and Indonesian troops withdrew.

The United States and other Western governments have said they would back the creation of an international war crimes tribunal -akin to those for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda -unless Indonesia's government acts against military commanders responsible for the violence.

Robinson is scheduled to spend three days in East Timor before traveling on to Jakarta.


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