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Justice for the people of East Timor can no longer be delayed or denied; the time has come to establish an International Criminal Tribunal for East Timor.

Thousands of East Timorese have been raped and otherwise tortured, arbitrarily detained, summarily executed, disappeared, and have had other atrocities inflicted upon them by the Indonesian military and its militia since Indonesia's invasion of the country in 1975. During Indonesia's twenty-four year occupation, more than 200,000 East Timorese, approximately one third of the population, were killed or disappeared.

When the East Timorese, relying on assurances from the United Nations, Indonesia, and the international community, voted for independence from Indonesia in the August 30, 1999 Popular Consultation, the Indonesian military and militia responded by killing and torturing thousands of East Timorese, destroying nearly all infrastructure, and forcing some 250,000 East Timorese into Indonesian West Timor. Most East Timorese lost their loved ones, their homes, or their property.

East Timor's destruction was so complete and its economy so devastated, that the vast majority of its people remain unemployed with little hope of employment in the near future. Medical care is limited to a small percentage of the population who are lucky enough to be treated in one of the country's few under-staffed and under-funded medical clinics. Mental health care, desperately needed by the East Timorese as a result of their horrific suffering, is non-existent.

In response to the post-Popular Consultation violence, the United Nations convened an International Commission of Inquiry on East Timor. On January 31, 2000, the Commission determined that Indonesian governmental and military personnel participated in and were complicit in organizing and committing the violence. Indonesia's "Commission of Inquiry into Human Rights Violations in East Timor" (KPP-HAM) issued a report in January of 2001 making similar findings. On September 10, 2001, Judge Alan Kay of the United States District Court rendered a judgment in the sum of $66 million against the second highest-ranking officer in the Indonesian Army, Major General Johny Lumintang, for his role in the referendum-related violence in 1999.

The UN International Commission's January 31, 2000 report also recommended that the UN establish an International Human Rights Tribunal for East Timor. However, the Security Council has declined to establish a tribunal, in large part due to promises by Indonesia that perpetrators in that country would be prosecuted, and because of the work of the Serious Crimes Unit in East Timor in pursuing prosecutions there. To date, both systems have proven inadequate to hold high-level Indonesian military perpetrators accountable. The Serious Crimes Unit does not have jurisdiction to prosecute individuals who are not present in East Timor, and given the current political climate in Indonesia, convictions of high-level military personnel seem unlikely.

President Megawati Soekarnoputri's mid-January appointment of ad hoc judges to the Indonesian Tribunal on East Timor, after months of delay, does not justify confidence in the process. President Megawati has not provided any measures to protect the safety of judges or witnesses despite the fact that an Indonesian Supreme Court judge was assassinated last year after investigating corruption and human rights abuses. The judges receive low pay and are unknown academics from provincial law schools with little human rights background. Moreover, the Attorney General has declined to include General Wiranto among the list of suspects to be investigated, despite substantial evidence of his direct involvement.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948 without dissent, begins with the recognition of the "inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family" as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. To effectuate these principles by creating fully enforceable obligations under international law, in 1998, one hundred and thirty nine countries signed the Rome Statute to create the International Criminal Court (ICC). Fifty countries have ratified the treaty, moving closer to the sixty ratifications necessary to bring the ICC into being. But the jurisdiction of the ICC will be prospective only, so that forum is not available to the people of East Timor.

The world community recognizes that all victims of gross human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law have an inherent right to seek justice and to demand that the international community bring perpetrators to justice. Indeed, international law imposes a duty to prosecute such transgressions. As UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said in his January 31, 2000 letter to the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly, the International Commission of Inquiry "found that the United Nations and the international community had a particular responsibility to the people of East Timor in connection with investigating the violations, establishing responsibilities, punishing those responsible and promoting reconciliation."

The time to prosecute the crimes inflicted upon the East Timorese through the establishment of an International Criminal Tribunal is now. Each step by the international community to prosecute the acts perpetrated against the East Timorese advances the rule of law, and signals that neither state-condoned nor state-perpetrated terror, wherever it occurs, will be tolerated.

Contact: Anthony DiCaprio 
Volunteer Staff Attorney 
The Center for Constitutional Rights 
New York, NY
or John M. Miller, ETAN, (718)596-7668

Click here to add your signature (please send organization or firm (for identification purposes only), city, state and country.

Signers to date (as of February 24, 2002)

Organizations for identification only

United States
Mike Amitay
Executive Director Washington Kurdish Institute
Washington, D.C.

Betsy Apple Director, Women's Rights Project 
Earth Rights International (US/Thailand) 
Seattle, WA

Irene Baghoomians Human Rights Intern
Center for Constitutional Rights
New York, NY

Robert A. Bloom Esq.
Volunteer Staff Attorney 
Center for Constitutional Rights 
New York, NY

Carolyn Patty Blum 
Clinical Professor of Law and Director of International Human Rights Law Clinic 
Boalt Hall Law School, University of California
Berkeley, CA

Philippe Borsa
 IRD - Génétique des populations

Walter F. Brown 
Retired J.A.G. Commander 
Former State Senator 
Lake Oswego, OR

Juliette Chinaud
Attorney at Law 
New York, NY

Judith Brown Chomsky 
Attorney at Law 
Philadelphia, PA

Roger S. Clark 
Board of Governors Professor 
Rutgers University School of Law 
Camden, NJ

Sandra Coliver 
Executive Director 
Center for Justice & Accountability 
San Francisco, CA

Andrea Costello 
National Organization for Women 
Gainesville, FL

Mariano-Florentino Cuellar 
Assistant Professor Stanford Law School 
Stanford University 
Stanford, CA

Anthony DiCaprio 
Volunteer Staff Attorney 
Center for Constitutional Rights
New York, NY

Laurel Fletcher 
International Human Rights Law Clinic
Boalt Hall School of Law
University of 
California, Berkeley

Hans Gaasbeek co-ordinator
European Democratic Lawyers

Jennie Green 
Staff Attorney, 
International Human Rights 
Center for Constitutional Rights 
New York, NY

Jerry Hebert President Kitsap 
Human Rights Network 
Poulsbo, WA

Charles S. Hay-Maestre 
Attorney at Law 
Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico

Robert Jereski 
Former Executive Director International Forum for Aceh 
New York City, NY

Matthew Jones 
New York University School of Law 
New York City, NY

Constantine P. Kokkoris 
Attorney at Law 
New York, NY

Prof. Bert B. Lockwood
Human Rights Quarterly
Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights
University of Cincinnati College of Law
Cincinnati, OH 

Dr. Owen Lynch 
Senior Attorney 
The Center for International Environmental Law 
Washington, DC

Dr. Owen Lynch 
Senior Attorney 
Center for International Environmental Law 
Washington, DC

Martha McEntee
Attorney at Law
New York, NY

Muna B. Ndulo
Professor of Law 
Cornell Law School 
Cornell University 
Ithaca, NY

Dr. Vasuki Nesiah 
Senior Associate, 
International Center for Transitional Justice 
Human Rights Institute, Columbia Law School 
New York City, NY

Michael Ratner 
Human Rights Attorney
Adjunct Professor of Law 
Columbia University College of Law 
New York, NY

Jennifer Rasmussen 
Southeast Asia Program Coordinator 
Interim Deputy Director of Programs International 
Human Rights Law Group
Washington, DC

Denise Reinhardt 
Morton Stavis Fellow 
Center for Constitutional Rights 
New York, NY

Anne K. Richardson 
Hadsell & Stormer, Inc. 
Pasadena, CA

Shawn Roberts 
Attorney at Law 
San Francisco, CA

Darrel W. Scott J.D. 
Gonzaga Law School 
Lukins & Annis, P.S. 
Spokane, WA

Marco Simmons 
Robert L. Bernstein 
International Human Rights Fellow 
New Haven, CT

Joshua Sondheimer 
Director, Civil Litigation Center for Justice & Accountability 
San Francisco, CA

Susan Douglas Taylor 
Adjunct Professor of Law
CUNY Law School 
Flushing, NY

Angela Villegas, Esq. 
Superior Court of California County of Los Angeles 
Long Beach, CA

Peter Weiss
Vice President
Center for Constitutional Rights
New York, NY

Lynne Wolf 
Law Student
University of Minnesota 
Law School 
Minneapolis, MN

World Organization Against Torture USA 
Washington, DC

Claudia Caldeirinha 
European University Institute 
Florence, Italy

Peter Carey 
Laithwaite Fellow and Tutor in Modern History
Trinity College
Oxford, Britain

Antonio Carlos Facioli Chedid
Labor Federal 
Judge Federal Court of Appeal - Brazil 

Laurent Dalmasso 
Consultations Inter-gouvernementales 
Geneve, Switzerland

Karen Fletcher 
Prisoners Legal Service Inc. 
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Renato Sócrates Gomes Pinto 
Presidente do Instituto de Direito Comparado e Internacional de Brasília 
Professor da Faculdade de Direito do Centro 
Universitário de Brasília - CEUB 
Brasilia, Brazil

Paul Harris 
Chairman, Special Committee for East Timor
Hong Kong Bar Association

Dr. Andre J.J. de Hoogh
Lecturer in International Law Faculty of Law 
University of Groningen
The Netherlands

Patrick MacEntee S.C. Q.C.
Past Chairman of the Bar of Ireland

Steven MacPherson Witt
Human Rights Attorney 

Dr. Felipe Michelini 
Member of Congress
Montevideo, Uruguay 

Jose Nascimento 
East Timor Action Group 
South Africa

Emeritus Professor Garth Nettheim 
Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales 

Pedro Pinto Leite 
International Platform of Jurists for East Timor (IPJET) 
Leiden, Netherlands

Stéphane Rodrigues 
(Panthéon-Sorbonne) Centre d'études européennes 
Paris, France

Mónica Rafael Simões 
Centro de Estudos Sociais of the Faculty of Economics 
University of Coimbra

Jorge Teixeira Lapa 
Ministry of Internal Affairs of Portugal 

Madalena Veiga
Lecturer, European Law and Human Rights Law Soas
University of London, Britain

Peter Wesley-Smith
Professor of Constitutional Law (retired)
University of Hong Kong

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