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Month for Justice for East Timor

Dear friends of East Timor,

Since March 2002, the sham Indonesian ad hoc Human Rights Court on East Timor -- the Indonesian government's attempt to avoid an international tribunal on war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against the people of East Timor -- has been hearing cases. Since August, the Indonesian court has acquitted 11 of 13 Indonesian security officers, out of a total of 18 defendants.

The Indonesian court's last verdicts are expected in mid-March -- just a few weeks away. Visible grassroots action following the end of the trials is essential to ensure a robust U.S. response condemning the fatally-flawed Indonesian court and demanding an international tribunal for East Timor! The Bush administration would like to ignore the crimes of the Indonesian military, but we must not let them!

We urge you to take action during the MONTH for JUSTICE for EAST TIMOR, from the end of the Indonesian trials in mid-March to the conclusion of the annual UN Human Rights Commission meeting in Geneva on April 24.

There are a number of different actions you and others in your community can take. Please read the suggestions below, decide what makes sense for you to do in your community, and let me know about your plans. I'll be happy to help with materials, input and other support.

We know the possible U.S. war on Iraq is adding to the many demands already placed on activists' time. But any action you are able to take at this critical time for justice for East Timor will make a real difference. And explicitly linking justice for East Timor with U.S.-Indonesian military ties and the "war on terror" will help recruit others.

A luta continua, Diane

What can you do during the MONTH for JUSTICE for EAST TIMOR?

  • Contact the Media. Write letters to the editor in response to news coverage of the Indonesian trials, current Indonesian military crimes, the UN Human Rights Commission meeting (17 March to 24 April) or other related news. Sample letters to the editor are on ETAN's website at
  • You could also write an op/ed piece or article for your local papers, indymedia center or community radio/ TV. Contact supportive local reporters to conduct interviews with you, other local ETANers, ETAN staff or East Timorese friends currently in the U.S.
  • Call and write your members of Congress to ask them to sign on to the "Dear Colleague" letter calling for an international tribunal for East Timor to be circulated by Rep Patrick Kennedy -- and encourage others to do the same (letter to be circulated soon!).
  • Do outreach to local religious communities to encourage their members to take action, and ask them to sign on to the religious community letter calling for an international tribunal for East Timor, covering atrocities committed from 1975 to 1999 (letter to be ready soon!). If local religious bodies adopt formal resolutions, ask them to pass one in support of an international tribunal for East Timor.
  • Host a video showing or house meeting as part of a local "JUSTICE for EAST TIMOR" action night. New videos focused on justice will be available soon; follow the video showing with discussion and time for letter writing to local papers and Members of Congress.
  • Organize a demonstration at the Indonesian embassy, Indonesian consulate or other public place. Ideas include performing a mock trial street theater piece, chalking the names of victims on the sidewalk, or handing out "wanted" flyers for Indonesian military officers asking passers by to take action for justice for East Timor.

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