Subject: E. Timor Catholic Church Slams 'Truth Commission;' Urges Int'l Tribunal

Catholic Church: E Timor Victims Deserve Tribunal

DILI, East Timor, Aug. 1 (AP)--Victims of East Timor's bloody break for independence will only find justice through an international tribunal, the Catholic Church said Monday, as Indonesia and East Timor pressed ahead with plans for a truth and reconciliation commission.

"The Catholic Church requests the continued intervention of the United Nations to achieve justice for the people of East Timor," Bishops Basilio do Nascimento and Alberto Ricardo da Silva said in a statement.

"We hope that the voice of the East Timorese people, who have suffered from impunity, will be heard."

Indonesian military and their proxy militias are accused of killing nearly 1,500 people after a U.N.-supervised referendum in 1999 brought an end to Indonesia's occupation of the former Portuguese colony.

Jakarta and Dili have rejected a U.N. committee's recommendation for an international tribunal, saying it would harm bilateral relations.

They favor a "Truth and Friendship Commission" instead, and announced the names of 10 panel members Monday who will have the power to interview witnesses and review documents, but not to prosecute. Work begins on Thursday.

"We do not believe the establishment of an international tribunal is the only way to find truth or justice," Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta said Monday, rejecting claims by the bishops that the decision was political.

see also: Catholic Church of ET Position on Justice Presented to Commission of Experts 

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