Subject: Activists Slam RI, ETimor Over CTF Report Delay

also: JP: House to pass W. Papua autonomy bill

The Jakarta Post

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Govt slammed over CTF report delay

Abdul Khalik, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Rights activists have accused the governments of Indonesia and Timor Leste of deliberately delaying the publication of the final report by the Commission of Truth and Friendship (CTF) for political reasons.

They said there was strong public suspicion the announcement of the report's findings was being delayed because the report found the Indonesian Military (TNI) committed gross human rights violations in Timor Leste.

Chairman of the Setara Institute, Hendardi, expressed fear the delay would allow changes to be made to the report to protect certain former generals who allegedly committed the rights violations around the time of the 1999 referendum in then East Timor.

"We are afraid the delay aims to protect the perpetrators," he said Monday.

A coalition of civil society groups, including Imparsial and the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), has expressed fear irresponsible parties might exploit the delay to change, add or delete parts of the report, such as taking out the name of Gen. Wiranto, who was chief of the TNI at the time.

Wiranto's name was deleted from the dossier submitted by the Attorney General's Office to the ad hoc human rights court for East Timor cases.

Eighteen people were cleared of all charges over the violence, including former militia leader Eurico Gutteres.

Presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal dismissed the allegations, saying the delay was due only to difficulties in matching the schedules of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Timor Leste President Jose Ramos-Horta.

He said many incidents in Timor Leste, including the rebel attack against Ramos-Horta earlier this year that almost claimed his life, were also a factor behind the delay.

"We will announce the findings as soon as possible," he said.

CTF co-chairman Benyamin Mangkoedilaga said the commission had submitted the executive summary of the report to the two presidents in April.

"We are waiting for confirmation from both presidents as to when we can submit the full report. The presidents will announce the findings to the public after we submit it," he said.

Benyamin said the commission members had settled their disagreements and come up with the final 350-page report, which was written in Indonesian, English and Tetum (the language of Timor Leste).

He indicated the report recognized that gross human rights violations occurred in Timor Leste during the period.

"You see, the House of Representatives and the court all previously acknowledged that gross human rights violations had occurred," he said.

Rafendi Djamin of the Human Rights Working Group said any such acknowledgment could be used as the basis for rights groups inside and outside the country to push for the use of a UN tribunal to seek justice for the victims.

Kusnanto Anggoro of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies warned that CTF was a political compromise between the two countries to solve the problems.

"It is not a legal solution nor a way for seeking justice," he said.

Indonesia and Timor Leste agreed to establish the commission in 2005 to investigate alleged human rights violations involving the TNI before and after the UN-administered referendum in the former Indonesian province in 1999.

TNI-backed militia groups were blamed for the deaths of hundreds of people and the destruction of infrastructure following East Timor's vote for independence.

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