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Open Letter to United Nations Security Council

As Security Council Readies Visit to Timor-Leste, Rights Groups Call For Justice and Accountability


  • John M. Miller (ETAN), New York +1/917-690-4391;
  • Yasinta Lujina (Lao Hamutuk), Dili +670/723-4339;
  • Rafendi Djamin, Coordinator, (Human Rights Working Group), Jakarta, +62/81311442159;
  • Dr Clinton Fernandes, (Australian Coalition for Transitional Justice in East Timor), Canberra , +61/2 6268 8847;
  • Paul Barber (TAPOL), Britain, +44/1420 80153; +44/774 730 1739;

An open letter from a worldwide coalition of human rights organizations has called on the UN Security Council to act for substantive justice for the East Timorese people, as a council delegation travels to Timor-Leste.  The East Timorese suffered countless war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Indonesian military's illegal occupation. The letter rejects the Indonesian government's attempts to escape accountability.

The letter is signed by representatives of more than 60 organizations from 15 countries, who call on the Security Council "to act forcefully for justice for the people of Timor-Leste," by implementing the relevant recommendations of  East Timor's Reception, Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CAVR).

The letter applauds the UN Secretary-General's decision not to give legitimacy to the bilateral Commission for Truth and Friendship (CTF), unless its terms of reference are substantially changed. The CTF and Indonesia's Ad Hoc Human Rights Court "have proven manifestly unsuitable in both design and implementation to the task of delivering justice in accordance with international law," the letter states. Instead, the council should create an international criminal tribunal or fully reconstitute the Serious Crimes process with sufficient resources and international backing to investigate crimes committed during the 24-year occupation, not just in 1999. A total of 290 individuals already indicted under the Serious Crimes process remain at large in Indonesia, outside the jurisdiction of courts in Timor-Leste.

The letter says that the recent inquest into the killing of journalists in Balibo, East Timor, in 1975 is the only recent formal investigation into the many crimes committed in East Timor before 1999.

The letter notes that there is widespread support for substantive justice within Timor-Leste, especially by the Church and civil society and insists that the international community, as embodied in the United Nations, must be involved in addressing crimes which violated international criminal law, the UN charter, and Security Council resolutions.

The letter is timed to coincide with the official visit of the UN Security Council's mission to take place the last week in November 2007.

"An international norm has crystallized against impunity", said Dr Clinton Fernandes of the Australian Coalition for Transitional Justice in East Timor, a signer. "The UN Security Council must reinforce this norm by ensuring that those bearing responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity are brought to justice."

Signers include human rights groups from Indonesia, Timor-Leste, elsewhere in Asia, Australia, New Zealand, United States, and Europe. The full text of the letter in English and Bahasa Indonesia with a complete list of signers can be found at


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see also:

AKI: Rights groups urge UN to deliver justice to population

Urge UN Secretary-General to Act for Justice for East Timor

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