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Foreign Minister Urged To Act

13 May, 2001

Foreign Minister Urged To Act On International Tribunal For Indonesia's War Criminals

The Indonesia Human Rights Committee has written to the Minister of Foreign Affairs to urge him to mobilise international support for an effective international tribunal to try those responsible for mass murder in East Timor. The Committee also wants stronger action to enforce an end to militia violence in the West Timor refugee camps and on the border with East Timor.

"How come their war crimes tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda but not for East Timor which also experienced genocide?"

"It must be clear by now that Indonesia is using every trick in the book to avoid conducting trials for the masterminds of the terror in East Timor. The much vaunted new human rights court is only mandated to consider cases that arose after the 1999 referendum. Meanwhile masterminds of the East Timor terror such Major General Adam Damiri have gone on to new responsibilities in places such as Aceh where there is also resistance to rule from Jakarta."

"Our Government has challenged Indonesia over the light sentences handed down to those responsible for the killing of the UN aid workers in the West Timor refugee camps. But this does not get to the heart of the matter - the same militia units that terrorised East Timor in 1999 are still ruling the roost. Their activities endanger the East Timorese refugees and the international peace keepers."

"The international community acted decisively in September 1999 - using every ounce of concerted economic leverage to insist that Indonesia leave East Timor and allow in peace keepers. It was an "offer" Indonesia could not refuse. We should now be insisting that Indonesia comply with the UN resolutions that call on it to disband the militia units and help the refugees to go home."

"The nightmare will continue until there is international pressure to insist that the human rights abusers and the war criminals are brought to justice. This is a particular responsibility for New Zealand because of our commitment to the peacekeeping force."




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