Subject: KY: 100s call for U.N. commission to investigate abuses in E. Timor

Tuesday April 5, 7:07 PM

Hundreds call for U.N. commission to investigate abuses in E. Timor

(Kyodo) _ Hundreds of students and National Alliance for an International Tribunal members demonstrated Tuesday at Dili Airport to press a U.N. Commissions of Experts to seriously investigate abuses in East Timor in 1999.

The protesters underlined the lack of action on abuses perpetrated on East Timorese by wearing black gags emblazoned with "We need Justice" across their mouths.

They also carried banners calling for the U.N. commission to bring the "perpetrators of crimes against humanity" to an international tribunal and for the U.N. "not to wash its hands of the serious crime process in East Timor."

Edio Borges, one of the demonstrators, told Kyodo News the United Nations must take responsibility for crimes that took place in East Timor, stressing the perpetrators must be brought to justice.

Borges blasted an Indonesian ad hoc tribunal that failed to convict most Indonesians accused of crimes against humanity and he also questioned the work done by the U.N. serious crimes unit in East Timor, which is now ending its mandate.

"The crimes against humanity must be sent to an international tribunal because we don't believe the Indonesian ad hoc and the serious crime unit in East Timor is going to finish this now," Borges said. "So we want to tell the U.N. not to wash its hands of the crimes happened in East Timor."

The three members of the U.N. Commission of Experts, appointed last month by Secretary General Kofi Annan are to spend five days in East Timor.

The commission members, Prafullachandra Bhagwati of India, Yozo Yokota of Japan and Shaista Shameen of Fiji, will meet President Xanana Gusmao, other leaders, the East Timor Commission of Truth and Reconciliation and victims and families of victims in East Timor's 13 districts.

Hundreds of thousands of East Timorese were killed, abused or displaced in the bloody aftermath of a U.N.-administered referendum on independence for the former Portuguese colony in 1999.

After Portugal abandoned East Timor in 1975, Indonesia invaded and occupied the colony until rejected by the East Timorese voters in 1999.

Many change the Indonesian leadership and military with widespread abuses during the occupation and in the aftermath of the referendum, but few people have been convicted of any crimes.


05-04-2005 11:45:00. Fonte LUSA. Notícia SIR-6888869 Temas:

East Timor: Demonstrators demanding justice greet UN team on 1999's atrocities

Dili, April 5 (Lusa) - Dozens of demonstrators demanding justice greeted the UN Commission of Experts on its arrival Tuesday in Dili to assess progress made by East Timor and Indonesia in trying those responsible for crimes against humanity in 1999 when the Timorese broke from Jakarta's occupation.

The three-member commission, appointed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in February, met with President Xanana Gusmão shortly after arrival in the Timorese capital at the start of their two- nation mission.

Composed by representatives from India, Japan and the Fiji Islands, the commission was scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri Wednesday.

It was not immediately clear how long the UN team would remain in East Timor, which was torn by Indonesian army-orchestrated violence in 1999, before traveling to Jakarta.

Foreign Minister José Ramos Horta told Lusa Dili's "fundamental concern" was for the Commission of Experts to "make concrete recommendations to the United Nations and the East Timorese government about the future" of Dili's UN-backed Serious Crimes Unit (SCU), whose mandate expires on May 20.

The peaceful demonstration organized by non-governmental organizations arose out of concern that Dili might sacrifice justice for victims of the 1999 rampages, largely carried out by anti- independence militias, to its declared policy of building good relations with Indonesia.

Dili and Jakarta agreed in December to set up a Truth and Friendship Commission (TFC), which has yet to begin its work, to deal with the pro-Indonesia violence that left more than 1,500 dead, forced 250,000 into temporary exile in West Timor and destroyed about 75% of the country's infrastructure.

The UN team is also to assess if and how the United Nations should aid the TFC.

Many Timorese and some international voices demand the UN set up an international tribunal to try the crimes against humanity committed in East Timor around the time of its plebiscite for independence after a quarter century of Indonesian occupation.

They dismiss trials held in Jakarta as a whitewash.

For its part, Dili's UN-sponsored SCU has acknowledged it tried or investigated only about half of the crimes against humanity and did so against a backdrop of declared non-cooperation from Jakarta.

While Dili has promised to cooperate with the UN Commission of Experts, Jakarta has kept its distance, arguing the UN mission is useless given the bilateral agreement to set up the TFC.

Alkatiri's government has made it clear it does not want to be left with the onus of trying to bring Indonesian officials and officers to justice alone once the SCU ends its mandate next month.



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