BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor      home  May news

"It is time for the international community to tell  Indonesia  that it has had its chance and failed. ... So if trial and prison is good enough for Milosevic and Pinochet, it is good enough for Indonesia’s former dictator, Suharto, who is still free despite having robbed and murdered for 32 years. Many of those TNI commanders who were responsible for countless murders in East Timor are likely enjoying comfortable retirements in Jakarta.  Any international war crimes tribunal for East Timor will serve several purposes. It will let the Indonesian people know the full extent of the savagery and horror of what was done in their name. And it will let them and the world know the Indonesian military for what they are - a gang of murderers and criminals. They won’t just become international pariahs, but become pariahs in their own country. Last but not least, for those of us who saw many members of our families die, it will give us some comfort at the thought that those responsible will one day have to face justice and answer for what they did." Jose Lopes
See also:

BD: War Crimes & Crimes Against Humanity - A collection of recent press releases, petitions, articles and news
BD: Calls for International War Crimes Tribunal - A collection of recent reports, articles and news

The Irish Times [Dublin]

May 3, 2001

Letters to the Editor

War Crimes In East Timor

Sir, - Your article “Massacres work of Indonesia’s army” (The Irish Times, April 21st) was a timely reminder that while East Timor may have achieved its freedom, it has not yet achieved justice.

It is nearly 17 months since the people of East Timor went to the polls in a UN-sponsored referendum and voted for independence. And of course it is also 17 months since the Indonesian army (TNI) launched its “Operation Final Cleansing”, which aimed to wipe our country from the face of the earth and very nearly succeeded.

Despite repeated promises, not one senior member of the Indonesian military has been tried for their crimes, even though an Indonesian government commission named senior military commanders as being responsible for the violence of September 1999.
Bad and all as that is, that final round of violence came after the 24-year illegal military occupation by  Indonesia  which left many members of our families dead among the 200,000 people who lost their lives. Listening to Indonesian officials promise time and time again to hold trials that never materialise is not just depressing, it is deeply insulting.

It is time for the international community to tell  Indonesia  that it has had its chance and failed. It is time to set up an international tribunal for East Timor similar to that in the Hague for the former Yugoslavia, or in Tanzania for Rwanda. The architect of the wars and genocide in Bosnia and Kosovo, Slobodan Milosevic, sits in prison in Belgrade. Many of the people who took part in those wars are in jail, awaiting trial or like Radovan Karadzic on the run. Chile’s former Pinochet may also face trial.

So if trial and prison is good enough for Milosevic and Pinochet, it is good enough for Indonesia’s former dictator, Suharto, who is still free despite having robbed and murdered for 32 years. Many of those TNI commanders who were responsible for countless murders in East Timor are likely enjoying comfortable retirements in Jakarta.

Any international war crimes tribunal for East Timor will serve several purposes. It will let the Indonesian people know the full extent of the savagery and horror of what was done in their name. And it will let them and the world know the Indonesian military for what they are - a gang of murderers and criminals. They won’t just become international pariahs, but become pariahs in their own country.
Last but not least, for those of us who saw many members of our families die, it will give us some comfort at the thought that those responsible will one day have to face justice and answer for what they did. -

Yours, etc., (P) Jose Lopes,
Dino Gandara RAI, Keeper Road, Drimnagh, Dublin 12.


See also:

BD: War Crimes & Crimes Against Humanity - A collection of recent press releases, petitions, articles and news

BD: Calls for International War Crimes Tribunal - A collection of recent reports, articles and news


BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor      home  May news
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