East Timor and Indonesia Action Network on attacks on the
President and Prime Minister of Timor-Leste
contact: John M. Miller, (718) 596-7668; (917) 690-4391
Feb. 11, 2008 -- The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) condemns Monday's
violent attacks on the President and Prime Minister of Timor-Leste.
We wish President Ramos-Horta a speedy and full recovery from his
wounds and a quick return to the duties he was elected to carry out.
We deeply regret the loss of life. The people of Timor-Leste have
experienced far too much violence throughout their history. The
pursuit of political goals through violence is unacceptable and must
be rejected. We urge that all reactions to these events be peaceful.
We regret that Major Alfredo Reinado and his followers were allowed
to remain free for so long. It is puzzling to us that some in
Timor-Leste view him as a heroic figure. His use of force during the
crisis in May 2006 and subsequent threats to use force should have
been condemned and rejected by all. These threats were carried out
Monday morning with tragic consequences.
Justice and accountability are lacking for far too many recent and
past crimes in East Timor. Yesterday's events occurred, in part,
because the rule of law remains weak. Major Reinado, who was
indicted for murder for his actions in 2006, should have been
brought to justice long before this attack. Too many in today's
Timor-Leste operate with a sense of impunity, believing that they
will not be held accountable for violent crimes which destabilize
and further traumatize the country's population. This sense of
impunity is only reinforced by the failure of the UN, U.S.,
Indonesia, Timor Leste and the rest of the international community
to achieve accountability for crimes against humanity committed in
East Timor between 1975 and 1999.