Subject: AFP: E. Timorese mark 30 years after Indonesia's invasion

Also AU: Justice lost in E Timor friendship;

E. Timorese mark 30 years after Indonesia's invasion

DILI (AFP): About 300 East Timorese called for an international tribunal to try soldiers accused of human rights violations as they marked the 30th anniversary of Indonesia's invasion of the tiny territory.

The protesters marched through the capital Dili, waving banners and shouting slogans demanding justice for victims of the occupation.

"We will continue to cry for justice on behalf of the victims and this is the time for criminal actors to be brought to an international court," said one protester, who asked not to be named.

"There are many problems facing the nation and people of Timor Leste, but we believe that the people will never forget what happened 30 years ago and what they have gone through," he said.

Indonesia invaded East Timor on Dec. 7, 1975, after Portuguese colonizers disbanded the territory. Jakarta's move was never recognized by the United Nations.

The protesters also denounced the August creation of the Commission of Truth and Friendship by Indonesia and East Timor aimed at coming to terms with past bloodshed.

"The people will patiently fight for justice and fight leaders whose policies are against human rights principles," another protester told AFP.

The commission has said it plans to talk to former East Timorese rebel leaders, top Indonesian military officers and former pro-Jakarta militiamen.

Militia gangs, which the United Nations has said were recruited and directed by Indonesia's military, went on an arson and killing spree before and after East Timorese voted for independence in a UN-sponsored ballot in August 1999.

They killed about 1,400 independence supporters and laid waste to much of the infrastructure in the half-island.

An Indonesian court set up to try military officers and officials for atrocities in East Timor has been labeled a sham by critics. Of the 18 people tried, 17 have now been acquitted and one is still appealing.

East Timor gained full independence in May 2002 after more than two years of United Nations stewardship.

The East Timorese government opposes calls for aninternational tribunal for suspects, saying the priority is reconciliation with its giant neighbor.

Documents released last week in the United States showed that U.S. officials were aware of Indonesia's invasion plans nearly a year in advance but adopted "a policy of silence".

A separate East Timorese commission of inquiry into human rights abuses that occurred between 1975 and 1999 produced a 2,500 page report with recommendations for action which have yet to be publicly released.

East Timor president Xanana Gusmao handed the report to his parliament late last month but wanted it withheld from the public, amid an outcry from opposition politicians and rights activists. (**)


The Australian

Justice lost in E Timor friendship

Sian Powell, Jakarta correspondent


EXACTLY 30 years after Indonesia sent a major invasion force into East Timor, the tiny half-island has come full circle in relations with its giant neighbour: from guerilla resistance to friendly neighbourliness.

Too friendly, some critics believe.

They point to the East Timor Government's failure to release a massive report on Indonesia's 24-year occupation, during which as many as 250,000 people were killed or died because of the conflict, from hunger or untreated illness.

Since gaining independence, East Timor has bent over backwards to maintain good relations with Indonesia.

One-time guerilla hero and now president Xanana Gusmao has publicly hugged an Indonesian military leader connected with the occupation - the notorious General Wiranto. An international arrest warrant for General Wiranto was stalled by the East Timorese leaders.

Now the East Timor Government's shelving of a 2500-page report by an independent organisation it established, the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR), has angered many East Timorese.

The report recommended compensation for the East Timorese victims of Indonesian torture, rape and violence, and is believed to include a damning indictment of the Indonesian military. CAVR denies the report has been suppressed, issuing a statement this week saying it was helping Mr Gusmao to "prepare" the report for release to the international community.

But Aderito de Jesus Soares, an East Timorese lawyer, human rights advocate and former MP, yesterday demanded the immediate release of the report.

"I think the East Timorese people and the public in general have the right to know the truth," he said. "They should release it today to mark the 30th anniversary. It's a historical moment. I think it's really demoralising to see the leadership's attitude towards this."

Indonesia's massive sea and air invasion of the former Portuguese colony of East Timor 30 years ago yesterday was ordered by then President Suharto and tacitly approved in advance by Australia, the US and Britain, all fearing the birth of a communist state in southeast Asia.

The invasion began the brutal Indonesian occupation that has shaped the new nation of East Timor, where many families lost at least one person to the conflict.

Yet almost no Indonesians have been brought to book for the war crimes of the occupation or the bloody rampage and retreat that followed the independence vote in 1999.

After international pressure, Indonesia established a tribunal which tried 18 soldiers, police officers and civilians for crimes committed in East Timor.

But all convictions have been overturned on appeal, bar one. And an appeal by brutal militia leader Eurico Guterres is pending in Indonesia's Supreme Court.


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

East Timor: December 7, 1975

Where in the world is East Timor?

On this tragic 30th anniversary, we begin with a geography question of sorts: What nation has the largest Muslim population? Not Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq or Egypt...but Indonesia. With a populace more than 90 percent Islamic, this South East Asian island nation has conveniently avoided America’s notorious anti-Muslim bent by holding claim to the South Pacific’s largest supply of oil, the world’s most abundant reserve of natural gas, and a bloody anti-communist history. Therefore, while Palestinian Muslims are labeled terrorists for having the audacity to revolt against fifty years of Israeli repression, Indonesian Muslims can get away with murder. Literally. Just ask Pat Moynihan.

But first...some more geography: East Timor is another island nation ­ a former Portuguese colony just above Australia ­ that became the target of a relentless and murderous assault by Indonesia 30 years ago today: December 7, 1975. That assault was made possible through the sale of U.S. arms to its loyal client-state, the silent complicity of the American press, and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Pat Moynihan’s skill at keeping the UN uninvolved at the request of his boss, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dr. Henry Kissinger. Over one-third of the East Timorese population (more than 200,000 humans) lost their lives due to war-related starvation, disease, massacres, or atrocities. Proportionally, the depth of this slaughter is on par with the Nazi Holocaust.

For an old article of mine, re: East Timor:
For an old article of mine, re: Pearl Harbor:> 

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