|Subject: ET NGOs: Building Peace, Justice
BUILDING PEACE, JUSTICE AND RECONCILIATION IN EAST TIMOR
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
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
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.
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