|Subject: AFP: Rights groups rap UN for
"weak" statement on Timor trials
Rights groups rap UN for "weak" statement on Timor trials Sun Apr 27, 3:43 AM ET
JAKARTA (AFP) - Two international human rights groups have strongly criticised a United Nations (news - web sites) commission, saying it failed to demand justice for victims of atrocities in East Timor (news - web sites).
Amnesty International and the East Timor Action Network took issue with a recent statement from the UN Commission on Human Rights about Indonesia's trials of suspects in the 1999 bloodshed.
"A weakly worded chairperson statement on Timor-Leste (East Timor) may hail the end of the commission's consideration of Indonesia's legacy in Timor-Leste," Amnesty said in a weekend press release.
"As the flawed trials in Jakarta near an end, this was precisely the moment for the commission to condemn Indonesia for its failure to fulfil its commitment to bring perpetrators to justice and demand that alternatives measures should be initiated, including the possibility of an international tribunal," it said.
Amnesty said the statement merely expressed "disappointment" about the conduct of the trials.
Amnesty has previously slammed Indonesia's trials as "not honest, truthful or fair." It has said indictments were weak and failed to address the role of the Indonesian military in setting up and supporting the militias who launched attacks on suspected East Timorese independence supporters.
The US-based East Timor Action Network (ETAN) said the commission, by merely calling on Indonesia to improve the current legal processes, had turned its back on the East Timorese people.
The UN statement "continues the trend of ignoring Indonesia's failure to hold accountable those responsible for the massive human rights abuses in East Timor," it said.
"Indonesia's ad hoc court on East Timor is fundamentally flawed," ETAN said.
"The commission, by calling for Indonesia to fix an irreparable process, is in effect saying it is willing to play along with Indonesia's farce.
"It is clear that only an international tribunal on East Timor can achieve meaningful justice," ETAN said, accusing the UN of "coddling Indonesia."
The Jakarta court has acquitted 10 security force members and a civilian.
Five people have been ordered jailed but only one has received the minimum 10-year sentence mandated by law. All are free pending appeals.
Two generals are awaiting verdicts.
Militiamen organised and directed by the Indonesian army waged a campaign of intimidation before East Timorese voted in August 1999 for independence, and a revenge campaign afterwards.
At least 1,000 people are estimated to have died -- Amnesty says 1,300 -- and whole towns were burnt to the ground.
Rights groups accused UN of weakness over Timor
The United Nations Commission on Human Rights has been criticised by two human rights groups for failing to demand justice for victims of atrocities in East Timor.
Amnesty International and the East Timor Action Network have described as weak, a recent statement from the commission about Indonesia's trials of suspects accused of taking part in violence in 1999.
Amnesty International said the statement should have condemned Indonesia for failing to bring perpetrators to justice, and should have called for alternatives measures, such as an international tribunal.
The US-based East Timor Action Network says the commission has turned its back on East Timorese people.
There was an organised campaign of intimidation before East Timor voted for independence in August 1999, and a revenge campaign afterwards.
At least 1,000 people are estimated to have died.
28/04/2003 01:26:56 | ABC Radio Australia News
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