13 November 2012

Timor-Leste Civil Society and Amnesty International call for an end to impunity

Likisa Church Massacre 1999
ETLJB 13 November 2012 - In a joint statement titled “Tackling Impunity In Timor-leste And Indonesia: Justice Is The Only Way” issued 12 November 2012, the 21st commemoration of the infamous Santa Cruz massacre in Dili, East Timorese civil society and Amnesty International (AI) called upon the United Nations, the international community and the governments of East Timor and Indonesia to pursue means to prosecute serious crimes committed during the Indonesian occupation of East Timor.

The civil society representative body, ANTI (Aliansa Nasional Timor-Leste ba Tribunal Internasional - the East Timor National Alliance for an International Tribunal) and AI demanded that the governments of East Timor and Indonesia as well as the international community "take responsibility and ensure justice, truth and reparations for human rights violations committed during the Indonesian occupation and in the context of the 1999 referendum."

The serious crimes and human rights violations committed during the Indonesian occupation included unlawful killings, enforced disappearance, rape and other crimes of sexual violence against women and girls, torture and other ill-treatment."

Many of these crimes amount to crimes against humanity and violate international law and standards, the joint statement said.

Impunity for those crimes persists with more than 300 people indicted for crimes against humanity and gross human rights violations evading justice in Indonesia.

Indonesian atrocity in East Timor
"The Indonesian authorities have refused to co-operate with the UN-sponsored justice system in Timor-Leste and to extradite their nationals suspected of crimes against humanity to stand trial in Timor-Leste. In Indonesia, all 18 defendants originally tried for crimes committed in Timor-Leste during 1999 by the ad hoc Human Rights Court in Jakarta were acquitted by the Human Rights Court or later on appeal,' the statement said.

ANTI and AI therefore called for the following immediate actions:

1.      The UN must state clearly that there will be no impunity for crimes against humanity and gross human rights violations committed in 1999 and during the Indonesian occupation (1975-1999), and further, must ensure that justice for serious crimes committed in Timor-Leste remains on the UN Security Council agenda beyond the planned withdrawal of the UN peacekeeping mission in December 2012.

2.      The UN must take concrete and effective steps to establish a long-term comprehensive plan to end impunity for all the perpetrators of human rights violations committed in 1999 and during the Indonesian occupation.

3.      The UN Security Council should discuss and implement the recommendations of the 2005 Commission of Experts, including that the UN Security Council adopt a resolution under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to create an ad hoc international criminal tribunal for Timor-Leste when domestic mechanisms have failed to bring those responsible for past crimes to a credible legal process. Such a tribunal should have jurisdiction over all crimes under international law committed by Indonesian security forces and their auxiliaries in Timor-Leste between 1975 and 1999.

4.      The Timorese and Indonesian governments should ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and take effective steps to implement the recommendations of the bilateral Commission of Truth and Friendship (CTF) to establish the fate and whereabouts of disappeared persons.

Together, ANTI and Amnesty International demand that the UN and the governments of Timor-Leste and Indonesia take responsibility to ensure justice for crimes against humanity and human rights violations which took place in Timor-Leste between 1975 and 1999. They must ensure that victims of the Santa Cruz massacre, and all those who suffered during the Indonesian occupation and in the context of the 1999 independence referendum, have access to justice, truth and reparation. Continued inaction will further entrench a culture of impunity, and leave a dark stain on the UN’s record in Timor-Leste.

Aliansa Nasional Timor-Leste ba Tribunal Internasional is comprised of the following civil society organisations:

1. National Victim Association
2. Committee of 12th November
3. HAK Association
4. La’o Hamutuk (Walking Together)
5. Luta Hamutuk (Struggle Together);
6. OPVG (Organização Popular da Vitima da Guerra/Popular Organization of Victims of War)
7. FONGTIL (Timor-Leste NGO Forum)
8. FTM (Forum Tau Matan/Forum for Monitoring)
9. KSI (Kdadalak Sorumutuk Institute)
10. FOKUPERS (Women organization)
11. KBH (Knua Buka Hatene/Home for Searching Knowledge)
12. Judicial System Monitoring Program (JSMP)
13. CDI (Community Development Interest)
14. Front Mahasiswa Timor-Leste (FMTL, Student Front)
15. Institute Edukasaun Popular (IEP)
16. Klibur Solidariedade
17. Mata Dalan Institute (MDI)
18. Ita ba Paz

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