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NGO Letter on Justice Issues 

The following is the full text of a letter sent by East Timorese organizations to Dennis McNamara, the Deputy Transitional Administrator of UNTAET in East Timor, following a conference on Justice and Accountability held in East Timor on Tuesday, October 16.

October 17, 2001

TO: Mr. Dennis McNamara 
Deputy SRSG 
United Nations Transition Administration in East Timor

RE: Meeting on Justice for East Timor

Dear Dennis,

We write to you in relation to your planned visit to Indonesia to discuss various issues with the Indonesian Government, in particular, the issue of justice for East Timor, with the Indonesian new Attorney General.

Two years after initial steps were taken by the Indonesian government to prosecute those responsible for serious violation of humanitarian law in East Timor, very little progress has been made. Furthermore, recent developments in Indonesia show little prospect of any further measures being taken within the Indonesia system for such necessary prosecution to take place.

The international community continues to have faith that the Indonesian Government will put its commitment into practice. However, at this point, faith is not enough and the Indonesia government must be questioned by the international community as to when it will honour the process it set out to establish and follow through to its end.

Therefore, we would ask you to question the new Attorney-General, as to what concrete steps will be taken on this matter in the near future, and what are the benchmarks and time periods for determining whether such steps have been effectively carried out. At the same time, Indonesian Government needs to be reminded that its lack of action on this matter, is not only undermining the process of justice in Indonesia itself, it is also significantly hampering the justice process in East Timor.

The East Timorese leadership have expressed their views on how, in the aftermath of the Indonesian occupation, the country should deal with its past and those views have been taken by the international community as representative of the feelings of the East Timorese community. However, little space has been provided for the broader East Timorese community to voice their opinions and feelings on this crucial issue. In response to this situation, and the current stalemate in both the Indonesian and East Timor formal justice processes, NGOs and community groups felt that it was imperative to consolidate actions already underway to hold those responsible to account.

On Tuesday 16 October 2001, concerned NGOs and community groups held a joint meeting in Dili to discuss ways to ensure that there be justice for East Timor. One of the outcomes of this meeting was a resolution that it is an International Tribunal that would be the most viable means of holding those senior government and military officials to account. Being aware of your planned visit to Indonesia, another outcome of the meeting was the resolution to bring to your attention our strong views and lasting commitment to ensure that those known Indonesia figures who have documented involvement the attempted genocide of the East Timorese will face justice.

This letter will be followed by a more detailed report of content and resolution of the meeting. All those NGOs and community groups who participated in the meeting would be very interested to hear from you after you return from Indonesia to share your impressions on the meeting and future development. We wish you the best in all your endeavors.

Yours sincerely,

Ubalda Alves 
FOKUPERS

Joaquím Fonseca 
Yayasan HAK

Tomás Freitas 
Lao Hamutuk

(Representatives from the 16 October meeting)

Attendant NGOs: 
1. Bishop Belo's Center for Peace and Development 
2. Lao Hamutuk 
3. FOKUPERS 
4. Yayasan HAK 
5. Kdadalak Sulimutu Institute (KSI) 
6. Working Group for Electoral Education (KKPP) 
7. Judicial System Monitoring Project (JSMP) 
8. East Timor Student Solidarity Council (ETSC) 
9. Student Solidarity Council of Oe-Cusse 
10. Yayasan Timor Nabilan 
11. Caritas Australia 
12. International Federation for East Timor (IFET) 
13. Asia Pacific Cooperation for East Timor (APCET) 
14. East Timor Action Network (ETAN) 
15. Forum Solidaritas Indonesia untuk Rakyat Timor Lorosae (FORTILOS) 
16. Asia Pacific Support Center (APSC) 
17. Oxfam 
18. Nove-Nove Survivers Group (Maliana) 
19. NGO Forum

 


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