DOOR Newsletter on East Timor home
[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, these and 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. - BD]
[excerpt: 18 min 56 secs into interview]
"DN: What about real War Crimes tribunals
for the Indonesian military? Where does that now stand Xanana Gusmao?
XG: I don't know. We hope that the international
community can do the job. You can understand we are in a very difficult
phase, in a very difficult transition to independence. We know that we
will face other difficulties in the last period of independence, and we
believe that if the international community follows the example of the
United States court about Lumintang it will not only help us East Timorese,
but essentially to help the democratisation in Indonesia, because I believe
that the Indonesian society also is waiting a chance of clarifying all
the problems in the past.
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
XG: It is the job of the international
community. We East Timorese, and 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.
Now, international community is more looking at August and September 1999
events and forget all the past from 75 from the invasion."
links to RealAudio of broadcast of April 4, 2001 edition of Democracy Now!
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH EAST TIMORESE LEADER
XANANA GUSMAO AND KIRSTY SWORD GUSMAO
In August 1999, the overwhelming majority
of East Timorese voted to end more than a quarter century of Indonesian
occupation. From the time of its invasion in 1975, the Indonesian military
killed one third of the population, more than 200,000 Timorese. Throughout,
the Indonesian army was armed, financed and trained by the United States.
This, right though the independence vote.
As the Timorese went to the polls, the
Indonesian military and its militias razed East Timor to the ground, thus
turning the birth of the fledgling nation into a humanitarian disaster.
The man who led the resistance from the
mountains and eluded the military for 17 years was Xanana Gusmao. In November
1992, he was captured and imprisoned in Jakarta. His contact to smuggle
out information was Kirsty Sword, a young Australian woman working underground.
Her nom de guerre was Ruby Blade. When Timorese students took over foreign
embassies in Jakarta to call attention to the genocide occurring in their
country, Sword was their contact to the outside world and the media.
When Gusmao got out of prison in 1999,
she worked with him in Indonesia. They married last summer and recently
had a baby. In March, Kirsty Sword Gusmao testified before the United Nations
Human Rights Commission about violations against East Timorese women that
continue to this day. Although the Indonesian occupation is officially
over, 100,000 East Timorese are still in refugee camps in neighboring West
Timor. Indonesian military and militia forced many of them out of East
Timor after the vote. The most vulnerable are the women, many of whom have
been raped and turned into sexual slaves of militia members.
Last week, independence leader Xanana Gusmao,
widely predicted to become the nation’s first president, quit the National
Council. This move caused an up roar.
This is the only interview they have granted
on this trip to the United States.
Kirsty Sword Gusmao,
longtime underground activist. She was Gusamao’s contact while he was imprisoned
in Indonesia and is currently campaigning for the release of Juliana Dos
Santos and other Timorese women being held by Indonesian militiamen in
independence leader, president of CNRT (National Council
of Timorese Resistance) who just resigned as head of the National Council.
DOOR Newsletter on East Timor home
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