Subject: E.Timor President Insists Does Not Want Warcrimes Tribunal

also Indonesian Military Doubts Talk of E. Timor Military Tribunal

E.Timor President Insists Does Not Want Warcrimes Tribunal

March 10 (AFP) -- East Timor President Jose Ramos-Horta on Wednesday denied claims by Amnesty International that he would support a tribunal for abuses committed during Indonesia's occupation.

Amnesty had claimed he was in favour of the establishment of an international tribunal for crimes committed during the 1975-1999 occupation, should the UN Security Council set it up.

But Ramos-Horta said Amnesty International had "inaccurately reported and thus misrepresented" a discussion he had with Amnesty members at the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom on March 5.

"I remain firmly unconvinced that the interests of the victims of my country and the cause of peace and democracy are best served with an international tribunal," he said in a statement.

The president said he told the meeting he would not oppose an international tribunal -- but he would under no circumstances push for it to be established.

East Timor gained formal independence in 2002 after a bloody 24-year occupation by neighbour Indonesia that led to the deaths of up to 200,000 people and there have been calls to try the perpetrators.

A reconciliation commission established jointly by East Timor and Indonesia found in 2008 that while gross human rights were committed by Indonesian forces, there should be no more trials and no further arrests.

In August, Ramos-Horta rubbished a call by Amnesty International for there to be an international tribunal set up.

"Why always should East Timor be an international experiment with international justice? I have opposed and continue to oppose an international tribunal for East Timor," he told reporters.

The president also said restoring good relations with Indonesia is more important than "prosecutorial justice".


Jakarta Globe

March 09, 2010

Markus Junianto Sihaloho

Indonesian Military Doubts Talk of E. Timor Military Tribunal

The Indonesian military on Tuesday said it doubted claims by Amnesty International that East Timor President Jose Ramos-Horta had promised to support the establishment of an international criminal tribunal by the UN Security Council over crimes committed during the 1975-99 conflict with Indonesia.

In a press release on Tuesday, Amnesty International said that Ramos-Horta had told the human rights group in a private meeting that he would support the establishment of such a tribunal, should the UN Security Council be behind it.

In a meeting with Claudio Cordone, Amnesty International's interim secretary general on Friday, the Timor president was said to accuse the United Nations of "hypocrisy" for using his government's antitribunal stance as a pretext for not establishing it.

Military spokesman Air Vice Marshall Sagom Tamboen said that he doubted Amnesty International's claim.

He said East Timor's ambassador to Indonesia, Manuel de Araujo Serrano, on Monday visited Military Chief Gen. Djoko Santoso at his headquarters in Cilangkap, East Jakarta, and stressed his country's willingness to build better ties with Indonesia, especially with the military.

"So it means that there is no problem between the two countries. The Indonesian military is even seen by East Timor as a reference for the establishment of its armed forces," Tamboen said.

Tamboen added that anything dealing with the past conflict between the two countries was to be aired by the Truth and Friendship Committee (KKP) established by two states.

"The main spirit of the agreement is that what happened in the past would be left behind and both countries would move forward together by building mutual relationships," Tamboen said.

He said the recommendations produced by the KKP over past incidents in East Timor involving Indonesia had been agreed to, approved and signed by the leaders of the two nations.

"If there were another purpose [to criminalize the Indonesian military over the case], then they should not have agreed and signed all the recommendations made by the KKP," Tamboen said.

Ramos-Horta, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has previously said that he would not support an international tribunal into the human rights abuses that occurred during Indonesia's rule over the former Portuguese colony.

At last year's 10th anniversary of his country's vote for independence, he reportedly called on the UN to stop gathering evidence against the killers of hundreds of Timorese, saying his people must put the past behind them. He also called on them to forgive Indonesians who "committed heinous crimes against us."

Foreign Affairs spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said Jakarta would verify what exactly Ramos-Horta had told Amnesty International.

"Because as far as we know, Indonesia and Timor Leste have agreed to settle the problem through the KKP," Teuku said.

He said Indonesia would always have a commitment to improving its relationship with Timor's government.

"Any such propaganda would never influence the good relationship between Indonesia and Timor Leste," he said.

Amnesty International has repeatedly urged the UN Security Council to set up a tribunal with jurisdiction over all crimes committed from 1975 -99, when East Timor was occupied by Indonesia.

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