|Subject: KY: Indonesia faults U.N. panel
report on E. Timor tribunal
Friday July 1, 8:32 PM
Indonesia faults U.N. panel report on E. Timor tribunal
(Kyodo) _ Indonesia on Friday criticized a report by a U.N.-appointed panel of experts that calls for prosecution of mostly Indonesian figures allegedly involved in the violence that wracked East Timor in 1999 after its people voted for independence.
"We have seen discrepancies between what they have reported and what they said in Jakarta," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said, referring to the three-member Commission of Experts that compiled the report submitted to the U.N. Security Council.
"After meeting with some Indonesian officials during their visit, they said that Indonesia has been entering a new political perspective and they were impressed with what the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has achieved (in human rights issues), but what they said in the report was different," spokesman Yuri Thamrin told a press conference.
In the report, the commission reportedly recommends that the United Nations invoke its charter to set up an international tribunal to try those involved in the East Timor violence if Indonesia refuses to prosecute them within six months under international supervision.
It reportedly says that prosecutions made so far by an ad hoc human rights tribunal set up by the Indonesian government in response to international pressure try those responsible for the violence, have been "manifestly inadequate" with "scant respect for relevant international standards."
"We believe that the report was made before they visited Jakarta, so the visit was actually meaningless," Thamrin said.
Deutsche Presse-Agentur June 30, 2005
Indonesia rejects international tribunal for East Timor abuses
Jakarta -- Indonesia flatly rejected a recommendation by a U.N. panel to set up an international tribunal to prosecute Indonesian forces and militia leaders accused of rights abuses in East Timor, officials said Thursday.
The panel was appointed by U.N. secretary general Kofi Annan to review efforts by the two countries to bring justice to victims of abuse during a 1999 U.N.-sponsored independence vote in East Timor.
It called efforts so far inadequate, and concluded the perpetrators should be brought before an international tribunal if Jakarta fails to show significant progress within the next six months.
"We can't accept the recommendation," Indonesia's Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Marty Natalegawa told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
"We regret the fact that the CoE (Commission of Experts) neglected to recognize the Commission of Truth and Friendship formed by both the Indonesian and East Timor governments, who are willing to move forward and forget the past.
"The international tribunal is very unrealistic and not visible," said Natalegawa, adding that the recommendation was no surprise. "We knew it was coming."
During the panel's visit to Indonesia, judges met with top Indonesian officials, including President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Foreign Affairs Minister Hassan Wirayudha and Attorney General Abdul Rahman Saleh.
The judges aim was to evaluate the judicial process of Jakarta's ad hoc human rights tribunal, which was set up after intense international pressure to prosecute those charged with atrocities committed during the 1999 referendum in East Timor.
The vote unleashed a wave of murder and mayhem committed by pro-Jakarta militias that was only stopped after an international peacekeeping force was dispatched to restore law and order. More than 1,000 people died and 500,000 were left homeless.
Indonesia's tribunal has tried 18 suspects. Twelve were acquitted, five had their convictions overturned on appeal and the final case is still pending.
Human rights activists have long described the Indonesian judicial process a sham, and have called for a full international tribunal.
"Indonesia should just give away those generals who are responsible for the killings," said Johnson Panjaitan, a human rights activist and former lawyer for East Timor President Xanana Gusmao during the struggle for independence. "That will give Indonesia a better, cleaner image."
Indonesia rejects U.N. report on East Timor violence 01 Jul 2005 11:46:07 GMT Source: Reuters
By Telly Nathalia and Tomi Soetjipto
JAKARTA, July 1 (Reuters) - Indonesia rejected on Friday a report by a special panel to the U.N. Security Council which attacked Jakarta's prosecution of suspects in the violence surrounding East Timor's vote for independence in 1999.
Indonesia's foreign ministry spokesman Marty Natalegawa also said that it was doubtful the Security Council would discuss the 149-page reports by the panel, appointed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan in February.
"We also received information that there was no date yet to discuss the report ... and for sure some members of the Security Council have shown skepticism over (it)," Natalegawa told a regular weekly news conference.
The panel -- P.N. Bhagwati of India, Yozo Yokoto of Japan and Shaista Shameem of Fiji -- filed its report on May 26. The findings reached Security Council members this week.
The panel members visited Indonesia earlier this year as part of their probe and Natalegawa said that at the time they were quite impressed with Jakarta's commitment and progress in handling the issue.
"I don't want to speculate but there is a possibility that what is being reported does not reflect what they uncovered in Jakarta, so from this logic it can't be denied that the report has been pre-written before the visit to Jakarta," Natalegawa added.
Most of the East Timor violence occurred after an August 1999 U.N.-organised independence referendum for the former Portuguese colony that Indonesia ruled for 24 years, in which the vote was overwhelmingly in favour of a break from Jakarta.
Estimates of the dead generally range from 1,000 upward, mostly civilians, and others were raped or tortured.
Australian troops halted the rampage -- which independent observers blamed largely on pro-Indonesia militia units backed by elements of Jakarta's military -- and a U.N. administration and peacekeepers followed.
The territory became independent in May 2002.
A Serious Crimes Unit and special panels established by the United Nations in East Timor issued indictments against 391 people. Among them were the former Indonesian defence minister, Wiranto, six high-ranking army commanders and the former governor of East Timor.
Indonesia established an "Ad Hoc Human Rights Court for Timor-Leste" in Jakarta. The Indonesian attorney general indicted 18 military and police personnel, two government officials and a militia leader but no high-level suspects.
Of the 18 who were tried, only six were convicted, and five of those convictions were ultimately overturned on appeal.
These prosecutions, the commission concluded, were flawed, "due to a lack of commitment on the part of the prosecution" as well as a lack of expertise, experience and training.
Natalegawa reiterated that Indonesia was offering a reconciliation commission to conclude the matter.
"We believe that reconciliation is the wisest and best approach to solve the past burden and strengthen relations in the future,' he added.