Subject: Letter to Editor - Risk of cover-up

Risk of cover-up

I am glad to see that Ramesh Thakur's views on those crimes against humanity in East Timor (CT Opinion, November 7, p11, "For East Timor, reconciliation is preferable to justice", same as published in Int'l Herald Tribune) are his, rather than those of the UN.

His article suggests that he simply understands neither the Timor situation nor what this issue is really about.

The joint Indonesian-Timor Leste Reconciliation Commission may serve a useful political purpose, but its structure and terms of reference suggest that it is very unlikely to bring about anything like real reconciliation.

It is not the kind of panel that could bring out what is most important -the nature of the TNI/Kopassus conspiracy behind the massacres and destruction of 1999, in effect who set up the militia and gave the orders.

Several of those responsible are now among Indonesia's leading generals, and they are extremely unlikely to expose the truth of the matter, if they deign to appear before the commission. What is very worrying about this joint commission, an aspect that troubled the UN Committee of Experts, is that it risks producing yet another cover-up, at a time when the ugly truth about the TNI's record in East Timor needs to be fully exposed, and not only to offer the Timorese victims a modicum of justice.

What is of paramount importance, if the TNI is ever to be appropriately reformed, is that Indonesia's political establishment should face up to the brutal reality of its past behaviour.

It is absurd to suggest that reconciliation and justice are separate issues in matters of this kind.

James Dunn, AM, UNTAET Expert on Crimes against humanity in East Timor, 2000-


See also Justice in East Timor


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