|Subject: Letter to UNSG by Free East Timor
! Japan Coalition
Free East Timor! Japan Coalition sent a letter to UNSG on the occasion
of UNSC meeting on October 31, calling for an international tribunal to
investigate and prosecute those responsible for crimes against humanity in
East Timor, committed during the illegal Indonesian occupation. Copies
were sent to 15 UNSC member countries, of which UK representative refused
to receive the letter (and returned to FETJC later).
Kyo Kageura Tokyo East Timor Association
Oct 20, 2001
The Honorable Kofi Annan United Nations Secretary-General
Dear Secretary General,
We are writing to urge the United Nations to establish an international
tribunal to try crimes against humanity committed in East Timor.
The recent attacks against the United States, which resulted in the
deaths of thousands of innocent people, have been rightly condemned by the
international community as acts of terrorism. The world has been united in
its calls for the perpetrators of these terrible crimes to be identified
and brought to justice; in fact, the United Nations Security Council
itself, in its antiterrorism plan unanimously adopted on Sept. 30,
requires member states to ensure that terrorists are brought to justice
and appropriately punished, and to assist each other in connection with
criminal investigations into acts of terrorism.
Just as the victims of the U.S. attacks deserve justice, so do the East
Timorese. Terrorism, which is generally defined as the systematic use of
violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby
to bring about a particular political objective, is an accurate
description of the sufferings inflicted on the East Timorese people by the
Indonesian military during the 24 years of Indonesian occupation.
You yourself were shocked at the destruction caused by the Indonesian
military and its militia proxies after the 1999 referendum when you
visited East Timor in February 2000, commenting in Dili that it was
``worse than what I had imagined" and that the United Nations was
``appalled at the violence and the torture that took place here." You
also said that ``it is essential that those who committed crimes be
brought to justice," and that ``if the trial (Indonesian domestic
investigation) does not go forward as planned, they (the U.N. security
council) may revert to an international tribunal."
Unfortunately, to date the U.N. has failed to take effective action to
ensure that justice is served, preferring to accept repeated Indonesian
assurances that crimes committed in East Timor could be properly handled
by Indonesian courts. However, it is now obvious that Indonesia's domestic
inquiry cannot produce any kind of meaningful justice for the East
Timorese. Not a single one of the TNI commanders named in the preliminary
Indonesian investigation as complicit in planning and directing the 1999
atrocities has been indicted; in fact, the investigation into the
September 1999 murder of Dutch journalist Sander Thoenes in Dili was
dropped last month, despite evidence showing the crime was committed by
the Indonesian military's Battalion 745.
Efforts to investigate atrocities committed in 1999 via UNTAET's
Serious Crimes Unit and the fledgling East Timorese judicial system have
also proved unsatisfactory. The Serious Crimes Unit has only been able to
investigate a fraction of the crimes that fall within its mandate, and its
work has been blocked by Indonesia's refusal to honor a single extradition
request made by UNTAET.
It is now time for the U.N. to follow up on the recommendations of its
own initial international commission of inquiry and set up an
international tribunal to further investigate crimes against humanity
committed in East Timor and prosecute those responsible. This would honor
the wishes of the East Timorese people in general, as represented by such
figures as Bishop Carlos Belo and the NGO community (a recent conference
on justice and accountability in Dili, attended by members of more than 15
East Timorese NGOs, voted unanimously in favor of an international
tribunal). It would also in some small way help compensate for the U.N.'s
failure to take effective action to help East Timor during Indonesia's
illegal 24-year occupation, and to protect the East Timorese from the
violence that the U.N. knew would follow the 1999 referendum.
Another important effect of convening an international tribunal would
be to send a strong signal that those who violate Security Council
resolutions and international law will not be allowed to go unpunished,
thereby demonstrating that all the citizens of the world, regardless of
nationality, can expect to be treated equally if they are unlucky enough
to become the victims of organized terror, and strengthening the Sept. 30
UNSC antiterrorism resolution.
We therefore call on you to: 1) support the establishment of an
international tribunal to properly investigate crimes against humanity
committed in East Timor, not only in 1999 but throughout the entire period
of Indonesian occupation, and prosecute those responsible for these
atrocities 2) support the provision of proper funding and resources for
East Timor's judicial system to ensure that low-level militia members
within East Timor are brought to justice.
Free East Timor! Japan Coalition
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