UN Must Back Prosecution of Indonesian Officers;
International Action Needed After Indonesia Snubs
Extradition of Suspects to East Timor
- March 4 - The East Timor Action Network U.S. (ETAN) today urged
the United Nations to support the prosecution of top Indonesian
officials accused of committing crimes against humanity in East
in a move ETAN called "vitally important for East Timor's future
stability," prosecutors in East Timor filed indictments against
high-ranking Indonesian officers.
After the Indonesian
government quickly dismissed the indictments, ETAN called for
international pressure to ensure that those responsible for decades
of torture, rape, forced sterilization, deliberate starvation
and mass murder face justice.
"We urge the
UN as well as the Bush administration to press Indonesia to extradite
officials charged by prosecutors in East Timor with crimes against
humanity and other serious crimes," said John M. Miller, spokesperson
alleged in the indictments were committed against a UN mission
created by the Security Council. They involved assaults on both
UN personnel and the East Timorese population," said Miller. Ten
East Timorese who worked for the UN in organizing the 1999 independence
ballot were among the estimated one-to-two thousand who died.
The UN official
spokesperson's only comment on the indictments to date is a request
to the media that "that in [the] future you'll say, 'East Timor
indicts,' and not 'the United Nations indicts.'"
splitting hairs, the UN should be forcefully advocating that those
responsible for such serious crimes be brought to justice," responded
Miller. "The UN must heed East Timorese victims' cries for justice
or risk endangering its own missions."
of the crimes committed, the inability of the new nation of East
Timor to seek justice on its own and the violence targeted at
the UN all necessitate international involvement," added Miller.
Kofi Annan and the Security Council must establish an international
tribunal with sufficient authority and resources to try these
and other suspects," Miller said. "The tribunal must also investigate
war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed during
Indonesia's illegal occupation of East Timor prior to 1999."
the Serious Crimes Unit (SCU) in East Timor issued several indictments
against senior Indonesian military officials, East Timorese militia
leaders and others. The most wide-ranging accuse former commander
General Wiranto and other high-ranking Indonesian military officials
of crimes against humanity "undertaken as part of a widespread
or systematic attack directed against the civilian population
of East Timor," according to a statement by the SCU. The indictment
further accuses the commanders of "funding, arming, training and
directing the militia.... The militia groups acted together with
TNI in a planned and systematic campaign which led to crimes against
humanity being committed across East Timor during the 1999 period."
The SCU was
established by the United Nations Transitional Authority in East
Timor (UNTAET) under authority granted by UN Security Council
Resolution 1272 to set up a system to administer justice in the
territory. The resolution demanded that those responsible for
violence be brought to justice. UNTAET also created Special Panels
of judges to hear serious crimes cases from 1999. The Serious
Crimes Unit now operates as a unit of the newly-independent country's
Office of the General. The Secretary-General has regularly reported
to the SecurityCouncil on the work of the SCU and Special Panels.
The East Timor
Action Network/U.S. supports human dignity for the people of East
Timor by advocating for democracy, economic justice and human
rights, including women's rights. Additional background can be
found at http://www.etan.org/et2003/february/default.htm.
make a secure financial contribution: http://etan.org/etan/donate.htm
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