Subject: E. Timor Leader Says UN Must Establish War Crime Tribunal

Also: Indonesia Rejects E. Timor Tribunal

Associated Press October 12, 2000

E. Timor Leader Says UN Must Establish War Crime Tribunal

UNITED NATIONS (AP)--Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta said Thursday the time has come for the Security Council to establish an international war crimes tribunal for East Timor because Indonesia has lost all credibility in bringing those responsible for last year's deadly rampage to justice.

Indonesia has not delivered on promises made Sept. 19 by Security Minister Bambang Yudhoyono to disarm militias responsible for killing three U.N. aid workers in West Timor and restore security to refugee camps where the militias still roam with impunity, Ramos-Horta told a news conference.

He said Indonesia's refusal Thursday to extradite militia leader Eurico Guteres to East Timor to face accusations of major human rights abuses and instead hold him for minor crimes was "really grotesque." It also violated an April agreement under which the Indonesian government and the U.N. administration in East Timor can ask each other to surrender suspects in criminal cases, he said.

Jose Ramos-Horta, East Timorese independence leader and 1996 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, speaks at the United Nations Correspondents Association at the U.N. in New York on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2000. He said the time has come for the Security Council to establish an international war crimes tribunal for East Timor because Indonesia has lost all credibility in bringing those responsible for last year's deadly rampage to justice. 

(AP Photo/Stephen Chernin)

The militias, with backing from elements in the Indonesian military, wreaked havoc in East Timor after its people voted overwhelmingly for independence from Indonesia in an August 1999 referendum. The anti-independence militiamen continue to carry out attacks and intimidate the 120,000 East Timorese refugees in camps in Indonesian-ruled West Timor.

The Security Council in February accepted Indonesia's pledge to conduct its own inquiry into the crimes surrounding the independence vote in which hundreds died and prosecute those responsible, despite a recommendation from a U.N. commission that it create a war crimes tribunal.

Indonesian prosecutors have named 22 possible suspects in the violence, including Guteres, but have not named Gen. Wiranto, who headed Indonesia's military during last year's rampage.

Ramos-Horta said the East Timorese had shown good faith and given Indonesia many months to act but "absolutely nothing has been delivered in terms of justice for the many thousands of victims in East Timor."

Urging the Security Council to move toward establishing a war crimes tribunal for East Timor, Ramos-Horta said "in the next few weeks, few months, something has to be done."

U.S. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke said Thursday the United States is continuing to pursue a review. But he said an international tribunal for East Timor is not supported by Jakarta and some members of the Security Council.


Associated Press October 13, 2000

Indonesia Rejects E. Timor Tribunal 
By EDITH M. LEDERER

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Indonesia rejected Nobel Peace laureate Jose Ramos-Horta's call for an international war crimes tribunal for East Timor, saying it wants to bring those responsible for last year's deadly rampage to justice and doesn't need outside help.

``I think our stance is clear that as a sovereign nation we can handle our problems by ourself,'' Indonesia's Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab said late Thursday. ``We don't need any international tribunal as long as we can prove to the whole world that we can stand up to the responsibility of bringing to justice the perpetrators - those who violate human rights.''

East Timorese independence leader Ramos-Horta told a news conference earlier Thursday that the time had come for the Security Council to establish an international war crimes tribunal for East Timor because Indonesia had lost all credibility in bringing those responsible to justice.

``Absolutely nothing has been delivered in terms of justice for the many thousands of victims in East Timor,'' he said.

Indonesia's refusal Thursday to extradite militia leader Eurico Guteres to East Timor to face accusations of major human rights abuses and its decision to hold him for minor crimes was ``really grotesque,'' Ramos-Horta said. The refusal violated an April agreement under which the Indonesian government and the U.N. administration in East Timor can ask each other to surrender suspects in criminal cases, he added.

Shihab countered that it was ``an exaggeration'' to say Indonesia's credibility had been destroyed, noting that the government had said it would welcome U.N. prosecutors coming to the capital, Jakarta, to question Guteres about two massacres last year.

Shihab held a news conference after reporting to the Security Council on the investigation into the killing of three U.N. aid workers in West Timor, disarming militias blamed for their deaths, and restoring security to refugee camps where the militias still roam with impunity.

Last month, Indonesia barred a Security Council mission from visiting West Timor to look into Jakarta's progress on these issues.

Shihab on Thursday invited council ambassadors to visit West Timor the week of Nov. 13 ``to see with their own eyes what has been achieved by the Indonesian government with regard to solving the problem'' - but he stressed it was a trip to observe, not investigate.

U.S. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke said Indonesia had taken ``an important step in the right direction'' by arresting Guteres and inviting the council to visit West Timor.


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