Subject: Ramos Horta hits out at Indonesian military

also Ramos Horta wants truth on 1999 viol

The Age

Ramos Horta hits out at Indonesian military

Lindsay Murdoch, Darwin

April 7, 2008

East Timor's President Jose Ramos Horta today lashed out at senior Indonesian military officers who have refused to admit responsibility and apologise for the violence that swept his country in 1999.

He said the officers should "come clean" and acknowledged their responsibility at a commission of inquiry set-up in 2005 that is about to submit its findings.

The Indonesia-East Timor Commission of Truth and Friendship was instructed to uncover the truth behind the violence that left 1500 people dead and destroyed 70% of East Timor's infrastructure.

The commission, established by East Timor and Indonesia, will send it report to Mr Ramos Horta and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono within days.

Speaking in Darwin where he is recovering from gunshots wounds after attacks in Dili last month, Mr Ramos Horta said the Indonesian officers failed in their responsibilities to provide security in East Timor before, during and after the United Nations organised independence vote.

"Although we don't want to revisit the past, although we don't want to point fingers, although we don't want anybody to go to jail they should have at least had the courage and humility to tell their country and the Timorese people that they were wrong and apologise," Mr Ramos Horta told The Age online.

"That would have been enough," he said.

"They didn't - they kept blaming the United Nations - well, the UN was not responsible for security ... the UN was only responsible for organising the referendum."

Mr Ramos Horta said the leaders of both East Timor and Indonesia will need to read the commission's report calmly and with serenity and "see whether we need to take further steps to address the events of 1999".

The commission has no prosecution powers and can recommend amnesties for people who testified before it.

The United Nations boycotted the commission, saying those responsible for human rights violations should face justice.

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Ramos Horta wants truth on 1999 violence

By Karen Michelmore in Jakarta | April 07, 2008

AAP

EAST Timor's President Jose Ramos Horta has taken aim at Indonesian military officers involved in the violence surrounding East Timor's historic 1999 vote for independence.

Ramos Horta has urged the officers to "come clean" and acknowledge their actions, as a controversial truth commission prepares to hand down its findings into the violence that wracked the country.

The Indonesia-East Timor Commission of Truth and Friendship (CTF) is due to hand its final report on the violence that claimed 1500 lives within weeks.

It comes as Indonesian authorities prepare to release the only Indonesian jailed over the 1999 violence.

Eurico Guterres, who led the notorious Aitarak militia gang that wreaked havoc in East Timor's capital Dili, could be released from his Jakarta prison within days after being acquitted following a final appeal of his case, his lawyer Mahendradatta said.

He had served less than two years of a 10-year jail term.

"Until now, he is still in prison," Mahendradatta said.

"The problem now is not in legal (institutions) but in bureaucracy.

"The (court's decision) document hasn't yet been delivered to Central Jakarta District Court from the Supreme Court."

Mahendradatta said the Supreme Court upheld the final appeal, known as a judicial review, because some of the evidence previously presented to court was "wrong".

Guterres was one of several alleged perpetrators who testified at public hearings of the CTF in Indonesia last year.

Few, if any, of the militia leaders or senior Indonesian military officers admitted contributing to the violence in 1999, some even denying human rights violations had occurred.

A recent report by the International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) found the truth body was "deeply flawed" and many alleged perpetrators at the public hearings had presented an "alarming version of events".

Ramos Horta today told Fairfax media that Indonesian officers had failed in their responsibilities to provide security in East Timor before, during and after the 1999 ballot.

"Although we don't want to revisit the past, although we don't want to point fingers, although we don't want anybody to go to jail, they should have at least had the courage and humility to tell their country and the Timorese people that they were wrong and apologise," he said.

"That would have been enough.

"They didn't - they kept blaming the United Nations - well, the UN was not responsible for security ... the UN was only responsible for organising the referendum."

Indonesia's military today said both countries should wait until the CTF report is released to comment.


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