Subject: LUSA: Rights groups blast Annan's recommendations on atrocities justice

09-08-2006 12:20:00. Fonte LUSA. Notícia SIR-8241621 Temas:

East Timor: Rights groups blast Annan's recommendations on atrocities justice

Washington, Aug. 9 (Lusa) - Two organizations working for human rights in East Timor and Indonesia have strongly criticized UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's recommendations to the Security Council on steps to help assure justice for crimes against humanity committed by Indonesian forces in the once-occupied territory.

Paul Barber, spokesman the Campaign for Human Rights in Indonesia (TAPOL), charged Tuesday that Annan's recommendations demonstrated a "reluctance" to "apply the special UN responsibilities" for justice in East Timor during its 1975-1999 occupation by Jakarta.

The national coordinator for the East Timor Action Network (ETAN), John Miller, said the UN should adopt "stronger measures for accountability", especially in the wave of pro-Indonesia violence around the time of East Timor's UN-sponsored independence plebiscite in 1999.

"Indonesia has ignored repeated appeals to cooperate with international efforts to achieve justice, while East Timor, fearing its powerful neighbor, remains reluctant to demand accountability from the organizers and those responsible for crimes against humanity", Miller said.

More than 1,000 Timorese were killed, some 250,000 forced into temporary exile and 75% of the country's infrastructures destroyed during proxy militia rampages in 1999.

The results of years of investigation by the UN's former Dili- based Serious Crimes Unit (SCU) was destroyed or looted last May during a flare-up of violence pitting rival Timorese security force factions and communal mob confrontations.

In his recommendations to the Security Council Friday, Annan said resurrecting the SCU was "not viable in practical terms".

He suggested, however, that the UN set up an "experienced investigating team" with "sufficient resources" to resume the investigations.

Annan also recommended that the Security Council "encourage" the East Timorese and Indonesian governments to bolster the "efficiency and credibility" of their bilateral Truth and Friendship Commission and "review" the commission's mandate to grant amnesties.

Other recommendations were for the establishment of funds to aid survivors of the Indonesian atrocities and to finance programs for "community restructuring and justice".

The Security Council was slated to discuss the recommendations later this week and take a decision next week, along with the expected approval of a new UN police mission to help restore order after the recent spiral of inter-communal violence in Dili that displaced 152,000 people.

The recent unrest forced the resignation of Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri in June and led to the deployment of a mostly Australian peacekeeping force, which also includes a Portuguese police contingent.



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