Subject: Letter to SG from Int'l Human Rights Groups
His Excellency Kofi Annan Secretary-General The United Nations 1 United Nations Plaza New York, New York 10017-3515
1 November 2004
Dear Mr. Secretary-General:
We write to follow up on our letter of 24 June 2004, respectfully urging you to establish an international commission of experts to review the prosecution of serious human rights violations committed in Timor-Leste in 1999.
The commission should assess and propose effective remedial steps for the failure of justice initiatives undertaken in Indonesia, and the incomplete measures taken in Timor-Leste to address the crimes against humanity committed in 1999, before and after the popular consultation held in Timor-Leste.
Five years after those crimes, the major perpetrators still enjoy impunity while the survivors and victims' relatives still wait for justice.
In Jakarta, a flawed process of trials and appeals has concluded without punishment for the major perpetrators: not a single member of the Indonesian security forces has been held to account. In Dili, the UN-established Special Panels are currently scheduled to conclude their work by May 2005, without any Indonesian cooperation to secure the custody of indictees reportedly living in West Timor and other regions of Indonesia. Your report to the Security Council, dated 13 August 2004, correctly considers essential both that justice is done in the cases tried in Jakarta, and that the persons indicted by the Special Panels are brought to justice.
As you know, this unresolved situation poses a special responsibility for the international community, because the denial of justice for the crimes committed violates international norms, Security Council resolutions 1264 (1999) and 1272 (1999), and agreements made by the government of Indonesia with the United Nations.
We are convinced that an independent and authoritative review of efforts in Indonesia and Timor-Leste to bring alleged perpetrators to justice, by a commission of experts appointed by the United Nations, offers a firm basis to address impunity in a comprehensive and practically feasible manner, consistent with the rights of victims and State duties.
Secretary Annan 29 October 2004 Page 2
Now is the right moment to undertake this review. The Indonesian electoral process has concluded and a new government has been installed. The government of Timor-Leste through public declarations by both Prime Minister Alkatiri and Foreign Affairs Minister Ramos-Horta- has signaled that it will support the establishment of the commission of experts if you recommend it.
The prompt installation of the commission will allow it to issue findings and recommendations early next year. This will facilitate a thorough examination of the issue by you and the Security Council and the implementation of appropriate measures ahead of the planned closure of the Special Panels on May 2005.
We know that this matter is very close to your heart, and that you have given to it serious consideration. The continuation of impunity in the region will only increase the likelihood that human rights violations will recur, posing grave dangers to peace and security.
We urge you to promptly establish the international commission of experts, as an effective step to defeat impunity and deliver justice to victims.
Juan E. Mendez President International Center for Transitional Justice
Ken Roth Executive Director Human Rights Watch
Yvonne Terlingen UN Representative Amnesty International
Jim Goldston Executive Director Open Society Justice Initiative
Nina Bang-Jensen Executive Director Coalition for International Justice
John M. Miller UN Representative for the International Federation for East Timor
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