World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Verdicts Cannot Deliver Justice for East Timor

Imminent Indonesian Verdicts Cannot Deliver Justice for East Timor
International Tribunal Covering Entire Occupation Only Option

August 14, 2002 -- As the Indonesian court on East Timor prepared to announce its first verdicts, the East Timor Action Network/U.S. (ETAN) reiterated its call for an international tribunal.

"The Indonesian trials are so flawed, regardless of their outcome, they can not satisfy the need for justice for East Timor," said John M. Miller, spokesperson for ETAN. "The conduct of the trials confirms that their purpose was to deflect international criticism rather than to get at the truth. The prosecutions in Jakarta have been crushed under the weight of their limitations."

"If those who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity go unpunished, there will be serious implications for healing and reconstruction in East Timor and the rule of law in Indonesia," Miller added.

Verdicts in the first of a dozen trials conducted by Indonesia's Ad Hoc Human Rights Court on East Timor, which began in March, are expected shortly. Under a severely limited mandate, a mere 18 suspects are being tried for failing to prevent massacres and other crimes committed in only three of East Timor's 13 districts during just two months April September 1999 - of a 24-year occupation.

"No one was tried for the many atrocities that occurred outside of these very narrow time periods and locations. Without an international tribunal, those most responsible for orchestrating the violence and devastation in1999 and before will inevitably remain free," said Miller

The defendants are accused of failing to prevent the actions of others rather than for acts they may have directly committed.

"The prosecution bought the military myth that the violence in 1999 was the result of conflict between East Timorese factions. Yet the razing of East Timor undeniably resulted from an orchestrated plan by top Indonesian military and other officials to first intimidate the East Timorese into voting to remain under Indonesian rule and then punishing them when they supported independence," said Miller.

None of the top-ranking officers and officials named by Indonesia's own human rights commission in January 2000 were seriously investigated, much less indicted. During the trials, powerful military officers sat in the courtroom in an effort to influence the outcome. Most East Timorese witnesses called to testify refused, and those who testified were harassed. The prosecutors have requested jail terms at or just above the 10-year minimum provided for in Indonesia law.

"An international tribunal is essential to ensure that those responsible at the highest levels of the Indonesian military and government are brought to justice for crimes against humanity and war crimes in East Timor from the 1975 invasion on," said Miller.

Following the August 30, 1999 UN-organized referendum, the Indonesian military and its militia systematically destroyed East Timor, murdering up to 2000 East Timorese, destroying over 70 percent of the infrastructure and raping hundreds of women. Hundreds of thousands were forced from their homes.

The East Timor Action Network/U.S. (ETAN) supports human dignity for the people of East Timor by advocating for democracy, sustainable development, social, legal, and economic justice and human rights, including women's rights. For additional information see ETAN's web site (http://www.etan.org).

-30-


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Covid: 250 Groups Urge WTO Chief To Ditch Pharma-Friendly Approach And Embrace Vaccine Patent Waiver

by Jake Johnson, staff writer An international coalition of 250 civil society groups on Tuesday urged the head of the World Trade Organization to embrace a temporary suspension of coronavirus vaccine-related patents, warning against pursuit of a voluntary ... More>>

Samoa’s Stunning Election Result: On The Verge Of A New Ruling Party For The First Time In 40 Years

Tamasailau Suaalii Sauni , University of Auckland and Patricia A. O'Brien , Georgetown University Samoan politics is on a knife edge. After the country voted in general elections on April 9, counting so far has resulted in a dead heat between the two ... More>>

Timor-Leste: UN Agencies Support Response In Wake Of Deadly Floods

United Nations agencies in Timor-Leste are supporting response efforts, as floods and landslides left widespread damage across the country, including in the capital, Dili. According to media reports, at least 21 people died in the country and many ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Awake At Night: S3-Episode 21: There Is Hope

Brazzaville visit to CSI Pilote du Diabete with Health workers at a local government clinic. 2018 - Photo: ©CSI/Dr. Soumya Swaminathan 'When it comes to a pandemic, it really needs global collaboration and solidarity because the pathogens and viruses More>>

UN: Growing Calls For Revamping Development Financing To Ensure Sustainable Global Recovery From COVID-19 Pandemic

Forum to highlight new initiatives to tackle inequalities exacerbated by pandemic With many economies reeling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as inequalities continue to widen, world leaders will discuss options to unlock concrete investments ... More>>

How Can We Vaccinate The World? Five Challenges Facing The UN-Backed COVAX Programme

The aim of the UN-backed COVAX scheme is to get two billion vaccine doses into the arms of around a quarter of the population of poorer countries by the end of 2021. What are the main challenges that need to be overcome, if this historic global effort ... More>>