Timor-Leste President would support international tribunal
8 March 2010
The President of Timor-Leste has told Amnesty International he would support the establishment of an international criminal tribunal for crimes committed during the 1975-1999 occupation by Indonesia, should the UN Security Council set it up.
José Ramos-Horta also accused the UN of "hypocrisy" for using his government’s stance on justice as a pretext for not setting up the tribunal. He said that key countries on the UN Security Council were against it, in a meeting with Amnesty International’s interim Secretary General Claudio Cordone on Friday.
Amnesty International has urged the UN Security Council to set up a tribunal with jurisdiction over all crimes committed in Timor-Leste between 1975 and 1999.
“I welcome the President’s readiness to accept an international tribunal for the crimes committed in Timor-Leste in the past,” said Claudio Cordone, Amnesty International’s interim Secretary General.
“We again urge the UN Security Council and the Timorese and Indonesian authorities to establish such a tribunal to address the enduring impunity for the crimes against humanity and other serious human rights violations which occurred under Indonesia’s occupation of 1975-1999.
Since the end of the occupation, the Timor-Leste authorities have taken measures supporting reconciliation with Indonesia at the expense of criminal prosecutions. However, President Ramos-Horta has now challenged the UN Security Council to set up the tribunal, despite his own reservations.
Such a tribunal should be able to ensure justice for victims in representative cases. Victims of past human rights violations would also be provided with full and effective reparations.
During the meeting with President Ramos-Horta, Amnesty International also pressed for victims to be consulted in decisions to pardon or commute sentences and for renewed efforts in establishing the fate and whereabouts of missing persons.
Amnesty International also urged Timor-Leste’s President to support current efforts within parliament to create a follow-up institution tasked to implement the recommendations of the reports of the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation, and of the joint Indonesia-Timor-Leste Commission for Truth and Friendship. Both Commissions looked into human rights abuses during Indonesia’s occupation.