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ETAN Calls for Release of Timor Report

ETAN Calls for Release of East Timor Truth Commission Report

Urges Full Discussion of Its Findings and Recommendations

December 1 - The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) today called for the quick release of the full report of East Timor's truth commission, the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor (known by its Portuguese initials, CAVR). The group said a wide-ranging discussion of its findings and recommendations is necessary not only for Timor-Leste but for the United States, Indonesia and other countries.

"Wide circulation of the truth commission's report and recommendations are essential to charting a course of justice for victims," said John M. Miller, National Coordinator of ETAN. "An understanding of the devastating impact of the U.S.-backed Indonesian invasion 30 years ago and quarter-century of illegal occupation are crucial to ensuring that no other people suffer a similar fate.

"Many outside of East Timor - including in the U.S. and Britain - remain ignorant of events there or still believe distorted versions of their own government's role," Miller added. "No one should fear full disclosure or calls for genuine justice and reparations."

"The report will help Timor-Leste and Indonesia move beyond this painful, shameful period of their shared history, strengthen their ability to live peacefully as neighbors, and reinforce rule of law and democracy," he said. "It should be widely accessible to civil society in both countries and internationally. Since the report has been prepared in Indonesian, Portuguese and English, it should be made available in all three languages."

"The CAVR report is the product of three years of extensive research by dozens of East Timorese and international experts. Its completion is especially timely, given the Bush administration's recent decision to ignore the criminal record of many high-ranking Indonesian military officers. Just last week, the Bush administration steam-rolled over congressional intent in issuing a waiver to allow unfettered U.S. support for Indonesia's unrepentant military," said Miller.

"The CAVR report will be very useful to the UN as well. We understand that the CAVR report's recommendations have much in common with those of the UN Commission of Experts (COE)," said Miller. "These include the need for an effective judicial process to try those responsible for crimes against humanity in Timor-Leste, with a call to establish an international tribunal if other processes fail to provide substantive justice."

Earlier this year, the COE evaluated justice processes for East Timor since 2000 and found that none had provided sufficient accountability. The UN Security Council has asked the Secretary General to provide recommendations in response to the COE report.

On December 7, 1975, Indonesia, using almost exclusively U.S.-supplied weapons, launched its full-scale invasion of East Timor, only hours after U.S. President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had given their authorization to Suharto, the Indonesian dictator.

Declassified documents released this week by the Washington-based National Security Archive (NSA) show that multiple U.S. administrations were well aware of Indonesia's intention to invade and of the tragic consequences of that invasion and occupation, even as they sought to keep that information from the public and Congress. The NSA researched and obtained these documents to assist the CAVR in its work.

On November 28, Timor-Leste's President Xanana Gusmao handed the final report of the CAVR to East Timor's parliament and prime minister. The President has not yet made the 2,500-page report public, confounding local and international expectations with a controversial interpretation of the law.

ETAN advocates for democracy, justice and human rights for East Timor and Indonesia. ETAN calls for an international tribunal to prosecute crimes against humanity committed in East Timor from 1975 to 1999 and for restrictions on U.S. military assistance to Indonesia until there is genuine reform of its security forces.

ENDS

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