BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor      home April news

"The NGO Forum regards an International Tribunal as an option that needs to be seriously considered given that to date Indonesia has not made any progress in investigating human rights offences committed by the Indonesian military in East Timor." ET NGO Forum
"If an international court is not a priority for resolving war crimes cases in East Timor, what other court is able to ensure that the war criminals concerned do not just walk free?” Arsenio Bano, Executive Director of the NGO Forum

See below: Apr 23 TP: Xanana: “The success of the elections are my priority”

[Statements in the US and Indonesian press quoting Xanana Gusmao as saying that an international crimes tribunal is not a priority for the East Timorese give the impression that he does not consider a tribunal as important to the East Timorese. However, other comments by Xanana reveal that he considers that the establishment of an international crimes tribunal is a role that the international community must play since East Timor doesn't have the resources to do it themselves. See for example this recent interview in which Xanana Gusmao calls for an international war crimes tribunal Apr 4 DN: RealAudio of Interview of Xanana and Kirsty Sword Gusmao - BD]


April 25, 2001

Dear all,

Please see below the NGO Forum Press Release concerning Xanana’s Statement in Indonesia that the International tribunal is not East Timor priority.  The press release was publish in two reputable East Timor Newapaper (STL and Timor Post) yesterday.
Any action thatyou would like to take on this issue we will very much appreciate, and we will be happy to discuss with you anything related to this matter.

Regards
Andrea da Costa
External Liaison Officer, ET NGO Forum
Dili Kaikoli.
Email: etngocentre@hotmail.com


23 April 2001

NGO Forum Press Release

Expression of Concern at Xanana’s Statement regarding an International Tribunal

The NGO Forum is very concerned by CNRT President Xanana Gusmao’s recent comment, as quoted in Suara Timor Lorosa’e on 23 April 2001, that an International Tribunal is not a priority for East Timor. If he has been quoted correctly, the NGO Forum considers this to be a political statement of an East Timorese politician, since it is unlikely that the families of the victims of violence of Indonesian crimes in East Timor, particularly the families of those murdered by the Indonesian military, would concur with him.
In our view Xanana’s assertion on this matter misses the mark entirely, given that the courts both in Indonesia and Dili, in their investigations into instances of crimes perpetuated by the Indonesian military in East Timor, have so far failed to satisfy the victims’ families demands for justice.

The NGO Forum regards an International Tribunal as an option that needs to be seriously considered given that to date Indonesia has not made any progress in investigating human rights offences committed by the Indonesian military in East Timor. As Suara Timor Lorosa’e noted in its 21 April edition, we have yet to see an Indonesian general,  Probowo Subianto among them, confess to Xanana in a court of justice, whether in Indonesia or at an International Tribunal, their probable involvement in cases of human rights offences in East Timor.

We believe that anyone is entitled to offer comment on the prosecution of war crimes cases in East Timor, provided such comments accord with the wishes of the families of the victims of these war crimes, so as not to reopen the wounds of the families concerned.
“If an international court is not a priority for resolving war crimes cases in East Timor, what other court is able to ensure that the war criminals concerned do not just walk free?” asked Arsenio Bano, Executive Director of the NGO Forum, adding that future improvements in East Timor-Indonesia relations depend inter alia on how Indonesia completes its investigations into the war crimes it perpetuated in East Timor, together with its willingness to assist in the return from Indonesia of East Timorese refugees.

End.

For further information, please telephone 0061- 0418 200 697.



Apr 23 TP: Xanana: “The success of the elections are my priority”

Bahasa Indonesia Headlines ­ Monday 23 April 2001

Xanana: “The Success Of The Elections Are My Priority”

Timor Post

Front Page lead

The President of CNRT, Xanana Gusmao said Satruday that the success of the general election this year was still the number one priority of CNRT.

He said this when talking to reporters on his arrival back from Jakarta.

He said giving priority to the elections was more important than an international court for Timor Lorosae.

He said if an international court was talked about right now, more important issues like economic development, education, health and jobs would be overlooked.

“We are now in the process of having elections. So why don’t we concentrate our energy on it?” asked Xanana


East Timor National NGO Forum  Updated Mar 23
Umbrella agency for East Timorese Non-Government Organisations (NGOs)
VISION: To contribute to the building of a pluralist, democratic, just and sustainable East Timor through the development of a strong, independent and responsible civil society committed to upholding and making real in the daily life of the community, both village and urban, the full range of human rights so that all East Timorese, particularly the poor and disadvantaged, can enjoy the fruits of liberation and development in an East Timor forever free.
MISSION: To realise its vision by promoting a culture of learning, cooperation, partnership with the community and respect for human rights and good practice amongst East Timorese NGOs and between them and other development actors, both domestic and international, and by serving as a collective, independent voice for the rights and needs of the community.
VALUES AND PRINCIPLES: a rights approach to development; inclusiveness, participation; accountability; gender balance; respect for the environment; non-party political; non-sectarian; good governance; volunteerism.
Kaikoli Street, Dili-East Timor  Telephone +670(390)322772
E-mail: etngocentre@hotmail.com  Homepage: http://www.geocities.com/etngoforum/index.html

See especially:

Apr 4 DN: RealAudio of Interview of Xanana and Kirsty Sword Gusmao  Interview & excerpt added May 10
"DN: The Indonesian government says they'll try the people who they feel committed crimes but they are yet to do this. Do you think an international war crimes tribunal should be set up?
Xanana Gusmao: It is the job of the international community. ... East Timor is a very small country and, we cannot be ambitious to be, to be a model of justice, but we hope the international community can do that. I believe that the (?) project of searching all the genocide crimes in East Timor from 1975 can give to the international community enough proof of the involvement of certain generals."


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