Subject: Letter to Editor

The International Herald Tribune

August 18, 2006 Friday


East Timor

Regarding ''In East Timor's story, lessons for Indonesia'' by Jane Perlez (Letter from Asia, Aug. 14): The ''bloody rampage'' that followed East Timor's independence referendum in 1999 was an organized campaign conducted by the Indonesian military. The issue at the time was not just the failure of the Indonesians to control the militia, but their own military.

The violence that took place after the ballot capped several decades of brutal Indonesian occupation. Most of East Timor's infrastructure was destroyed and three-quarters of its population displaced. What Indonesia lacked at the time was the will to rein in its own security forces.

If Indonesia and the international community want to show that they have learned the lessons of East Timor, they should actively work to bring to justice the generals and other officials who planned and ordered the violence. The UN Security Council can remedy this by setting up an international tribunal to try them. Indonesia should pledge to fully support such an effort.

John M. Miller, New York, National coordinator, East Timor and Indonesia Action Network

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