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BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor

January 2002 News, Articles & Reports:


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Jan 31 JSMP: Second crimes against humanity trial commences in dili  News added Feb 1
"The Second Special Panel of the Dili District Court has begun hearing the second trial involving crimes against humanity charges in East Timor.  The trial relates to militia violence in Liquica District in March and April 1999, including the massacre of a group of villagers who were hiding in the Liquica Church on 6 April 1999.  One charge also relates to another massacre at the house of Manuel Carrascalao in Dili on 17 April 1999.  The accused, Armando Dos Santos, is charged with 3 counts of murder and one of other inhumane acts." Judicial System Monitoring Programme (JSMP)

Jan 31 UNTAET: Assembly Votes To Transform Itself Into Legislature  News added Feb 1
"The Constituent Assembly voted today to transform itself into East Timor’s first legislature upon final approval of the Constitution.
The overwhelming vote for the transformation - 65 in favour, 16 against, two abstentions and five absent - ended a heated debate on whether or not legislative elections should be held in concert with the 14 April presidential election or shortly after East Timor marks its independence on 20 May." UNTAET Daily Briefing 31 January 2002

Jan 31 UN: Security Council extends mandate to 20 May 2002  Resolution added Feb 1
"Welcoming the strenuous efforts of the Second Transitional Government and people of East Timor to reach independence by 20 May 2002, the Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) until that date. ... Looking forward to receiving further specific proposals from the Secretary-General for the mandate and structure for a successor United Nations mission after independence at least one month before the date of independence," United Nations Security Council

Jan 30/31 Free East Timor Japan Coalition letter to UNSG  Letter added Feb 1
"We therefore call on you to strongly commit yourself to: (1) the establishment of an international tribunal to properly investigate crimes against humanity committed in East Timor, not only in 1999 but throughout the entire period of the Indonesian occupation, and prosecute those responsible for these atrocities; and (2) the provision of proper funding and resources for East Timor’s judicial system to ensure that low-level militia members within East Timor are brought to justice." Free East Timor! Japan Coalition

Petition for Lawyers and Legal Scholars to sign:
Jan 31 Attorneys and Legal Scholars Call for International Tribunal for East Timor  Release added Feb 1
"The time to prosecute the crimes inflicted upon the East Timorese through the establishment of an International Criminal Tribunal is now. Each step by the international community to prosecute the acts perpetrated against the East Timorese advances the rule of law, and signals that neither state-condoned nor state-perpetrated terror, wherever it occurs, will be tolerated." Nearly 50 Legal Experts from around the world (Signatures at: http://www.etan.org/news/2002a/01law.htm )
“We intend to keep pressing for justice for the people of East Timor, and will continue to collect signatures in support of a tribunal, ... A tribunal is necessary to hold those high ranking officials who organized and implemented the destruction of East Timor accountable. The international community cannot countenance impunity.” Anthony DiCaprio, Center for Constitutional Rights & lead attorney in a civil action against General Johny Lumintang

Jan 31 JSMP: Constituent Assembly adopts Serious Crimes articles  Comment added Feb 1
"The Constituent Assembly yesterday adopted three new articles to the East Timorese constitution who all relates to the process of bringing perpetrators of previous serious crimes in East Timor to justice. The articles, however, surprisingly limits the process quite significantly compared to the system already established by UNTAET. ... JSMP fear that the limitations of the adopted articles derives mainly from confusion over legal terminology and lack of knowledge of the system currently in place for trying Serious Crimes in East Timor. The end result may be that some of the most severe crimes will not be tried, or tried in a court system already overburdened with cases and where the lack of resources may seriously endanger the defendant’s right to a fair trial. In another surprising decision, the assembly adopted a regulation establishing the right of the East Timorese Parliament to revise the mandate of the Reception, Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The suggestion was raised by Chief Minister Mari Alkatiri, and will limit the independence of the commission drastically." Judicial System Monitoring Programme (JSMP)

Jan 30 MFAC: Horta Addresses UN Security Council  Release added Jan 31
"Indeed, we are confident that our people have the capacity to govern ourselves and to establish and maintain a sustainable economy. This will all develop gradually. The country does not as yet have the means to support itself without assistance. In time, there will be revenues from oil and gas exploitation. Tourism will also thrive once we have created the necessary infrastructure and facilities. But in the short term, East Timor will need all the assistance it can get to build up its fragile economy. In conclusion Mr. President, I earnestly request, on behalf of the Second Transitional Government and the entire country that this Council endorse the concept of a successor mission, which has been carefully thought out and planned by my colleagues at UNTAET. In this way, the gains that have resulted from your tremendous commitment to East Timor so far will be consolidated and maintained in the crucial first years of Independence." Dr Jose Ramos-Horta is Senior Minister & Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Second Transitional Government East Timor

Jan 30 MFAC: Ramos-Horta on Fretilin  Release added Feb 1
"I was very impressed by the moral and political courage of the current Fretilin leadership in their decision to set up, early last year, its own investigation to establish the facts about what happened in the past. ... I am impressed by the maturity that all political parties have shown thus far. The democratic elections of August 30, 2001, which included 16 political parties, passed without one single incident, this is the result of the maturity displayed by the leadership of all 16 parties, and credit must go to impartial East Timorese leaders such as Xanana Gusmao and Bishop Belo for their guidance.” Dr Jose Ramos-Horta, Senior Minister & Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Second Transitional Government East Timor

Jan 29 AP: Horta: East Timor Asked to Admit Wrongdoing  News added Jan 31
"East Timor will have to face up to atrocities committed by the liberation movement during the 25-year independence campaign if the new nation hopes for true reconciliation and peace, interim Foreign Minister Jose Ramos-Horta said Tuesday. ... He urged the United Nations to set up a criminal tribunal to deal with the worst abuses in East Timor, as it sponsored tribunals for the Balkans and Sierra Leone, but said he was not optimistic. “The U.N. Security Council does not seem to have the courage to do what is logical, to set up a war crimes tribunal,” he said." Peter James Spielmann

Portuguese:
Jan 25 OTL: A Indonésia arrasta o julgamento dos crimes cometidos em Timor Leste
Reportagem de 14 fevereiro 2002
"Quanto tempo a comunidade internacional vai conceder ao tribunal para apresentar resultados? Já passaram mais de dois anos sobre os factos. A total ausência de balizas favorece a estratégia de arrastamento. ... O julgamento não é vingança: “é indispensável para abrir caminho a uma verdadeira reconciliação em Timor Leste” afirmou a comissão de inquérito das NU, mas também para “encorajar as reformas democráticas na Indonésia e ajudar a evitar que os oficiais das FA responsáveis pela destruição de Timor Leste, a maior parte dos quais continuam a ter prestígio e poder, continuem a cometer atrocidades contra os cidadãos indonésios” (carta de 30 congressistas americanos a Colin Powell, 30-1-01)." Observatório Timor Leste

Jan 25 ETO: Indonesia delays East Timor atrocities trials  Report added Feb 14
"How much time is the international community going to give the [Indonesia’s ad hoc] tribunal to come up with results? Over two years have already elapsed since the atrocities occurred. A total absence of time limits serves to encourage further delay tactics. ... The trial is not an exercise in vengeance, but rather essential: “to open the way forward to genuine reconciliation in East Timor” (UN Commission of Inquiry), and “to encourage democratic reforms in Indonesia and help prevent the armed forces officers responsible for the devastation in East Timor, most of whom are still in positions of prestige and authority, from continuing to commit atrocities against other Indonesian citizens” (letter from 30 members of the US Congress to Colin Powell, 30-1-01)." East Timor Observatory

Jan 25 JP: End game in East Timor  Editorial added Jan 26
"Even though it has been almost two and a half years since an eruption of violence in East Timor, not a single Indonesian military and police officer responsible for security in the territory at that time has been prosecuted. ... there is no doubt that Indonesia owes the international community some credible explanation. ... unless Indonesia lives up to its responsibility as a member of the international community, an international tribunal hearing for these officers will be the most appropriate alternative. ... The heaviest cost that the East Timor debacle is exacting on Indonesia, though, is on its international reputation and image. This incident hurt the entire nation, and not just the military. ... It is no wonder that more and more people around the world see Indonesia as a pariah state. If this image continues, more and more investors and tourists will shun Indonesia. ... Clearly, it is in the best interest of this nation to accelerate the entire legal process. These delays should come to an end, for our own good. We need to put the East Timor nightmare behind us, once and for all, and quickly, and restore our reputation and credibility among the international community.  Most of all, we need to get on with our lives." Jakarta Post Editorial

Portuguese:
jan 25 SGTTL: Contactos - o Gabinete do Chefe
Informações de 25 janeiro
"Temos o prazer de informar que o Gabinete do Chefe do Segundo Governo de Transicao de Timor-Leste terah, a partir de 28 de Janeiro de 2002, os seguintes contactos: Telefone: (+ 670 390) 3339502 E-mail: chefe.do.governo@timor-leste.minihub.org " Gabinete do Dr. Mari Alkatiri, Chefe do Segundo Governo de Transicao de Timor-Leste

Jan 25 STGET: Contact info for Office of Chief Minister  Info added Jan 25
"We are pleased to inform that as from 28 January 2002, you may contact the Office of the Chief Minister of the Second Transitional Government of East Timor via: Phone: (+ 670 390) 3339502 E-mail: chefe.do.governo@timor-leste.minihub.org " Office of Mr. Mari Alkatiri, Chief Minister, Second Transitional Government of East Timor

Jan 23 GLW: East Timor: Campaign launched for new elections  Article added Jan 22
"An alliance called the Group for the Defence of Democracy, Peace and Stability in East Timor (GDDPE) issued a public statement and petition on January 3, calling for the “simultaneous holding of presidential and legislative elections” by May 20 (the date set for the formal transfer of power from UNTAET) or “legislative elections soon after independence, preferably on August 30”. The GDDPE is headed by Manuel Carrascalao, former head of the National Council, and includes representatives from the PST, the Democratic Party (PD), the Social-Democratic Party (PSD), the Timorese Democratic Union (UDT) plus a number of independents. The PD and PSD form the largest bloc in the Constituent Assembly after Fretilin. In response to the formation of the GDDPE, Alkatiri claimed the group was merely “dreaming of better results than at the last elections”." Green Left Weekly

Jan 22 UNTAET: Chief Minister, SRSG Speak Out Against Domestic Violence  News added Jan 24
"Chief Minister Marí Alkatiri and SRSG Sergio Vieira de Mello led the launch today of a nationwide campaign against domestic violence with strong words of support for the women of East Timor. ... The campaign, organized by UNTAET’s Office of Communication and Public Information, aims to use television, radio and other media to disseminate information on domestic violence throughout each of East Timor’s 13 districts. The campaign works in concert with the Civilian Police’s Vulnerable Person’s Units in each district. ... Dili Bishop Carlos Felipe Ximenes Belo lent his voice to one of two public service announcements that will be broadcast on national television." UNTAET Daily Briefing 22 January 2002

Jan 22 UNTAET: Ministers Discuss Development Of Tetum Language  News added Jan 24
"The Council of Ministers of East Timor’s Second Transitional Government met today to discuss issues relating to Tetum, one of two planned official languages. The Council was briefed by Benjamim Corte-Real, rector of East Timor’s National University. Corte-Real, who is also director of the university’s National Institute of Linguistics, described the institute’s work to encourage the use of Tetum as the lingua franca of the nation in order to preserve the cultural identity of the country. The institute has collaborated with other foreign institutions—including the Camões Institute of Portugal and the University of Sydney—in developing its Tetum-related activities." UNTAET Daily Briefing 22 January 2002

Bahasa Indonesia/Malay:
Jan 22 Shige: Jepang dan TL: Luka Kekerasan Sulit Dilupakan
Artikel ditambahkan tanggal 22 Januari 2002
"Seandainya pemerintah Jepang sungguh mau membangun hubungan bilateral yang baik dengan Timor Lorosae, langkah awal adalah pengakuan kesalahan atas perbuatan dan kebijakannya pada masa lalu yang kejam, baik pada masa Perang Dunia II maupun masa pendudukan militer Indonesia di mana pemerintah Jepang selalu mendukungnya, dan meminta maaf kepada rakyat Timor Lorosae. Mungkin ada yang mengatakan (pejabat Japan Mission dan UNTAET?) bahwa Pasukan Bela Diri berbeda dengan tentara Kaisar Jepang dulu yang terkenal dengan fasisme paksaan, kekerasan keji dan metode-metode teror. Atau, Pasukan Bela Diri adalah pasukan yang semata-mata mengajar ilmu “bela diri”. Tetapi kenyataannya, itu adalah penjelmaan kembali tentara Kaisar Jepang yang pernah membantai kira-kira 20,000,000 jiwa di kawasan Asia-Pasifik, termasuk sekitar 40,000 jiwa di Timor Lorosae selama Perang Dunia II." Takahashi Shigehito, Perwakilan East Timor Desk, Konferensi Uskup Katolik Jepang

Jan 22 Commission for Reception, Truth, and Reconciliation sworn in  Biographies updated Jan 24
"On 21 February [January?] 2002, the National Commissioners of the East Timor Commission for Reception, Truth, and Reconciliation were sworn in to office, with speeches by Jose Ramos Horta, Sergio Vieira de Mello and Xanana Gusmão, and messages from Mary Robinson and Rev. Desmond Tutu. The following are the names and brief biographies of the Commissioners, from the program for the swearing-in ceremony."

Jan 21 ABC: East Timor: Truth Commissioner says process will liberate people  Interview added Jan 22
"This is a most deep division between the pro-autonomy and pro-independence groups. And you see, among the pro-independence and pro-autonomy people, there are also groups that cannot accept one another. And all the groups are still fighting for their own interests. That’s why I think the Commission is a very, very, very good opportunity. It’s a place for East Timorese people meet and to accept that they did (things), they are the perpetrators, they are the victims. It is the process of liberation.” Fr. Jovito Araujo, Catholic priest & National Commissioner of Commission for Reception, Truth, and Reconciliation

Jan 21 affet: Selling E.Timor Short: Timor Sea gas project decision postponed  Statement added Jan 22
"Timor Lorosae may be fortunate that the Oil companies have not yet determined their favoured options for processing Oil and Gas from the Timor Sea areas. ... Although negotiations by East Timor authorities have been cloaked in a great deal of secrecy,  at some point it appears to have been agreed that East Timor’s claim on Greater Sunrise would be accepted as 20%. How could this decision be reached when there has been no declaration of Maritime Boundaries for East Timor? This determination [of Maritime Boundaries] should be made under international law, with East Timor fighting for its rights, not conceding before the battle plan has been even considered." Rob Wesley-Smith, australians for a free east timor, darwin

Jan 21 UNTAET: East Timor Constitution To Be Approved On 9 March  News added Jan 24
"East Timor’s Constituent Assembly today set 9 March as the date for completion and final approval of the nation’s first Constitution.
An Assembly working commission produced a revised constitutional debate schedule over the weekend after the full Assembly voted Friday to extend its deliberations. ... All 151-articles of the draft Constitution are expected to be approved by the end of January. The Portuguese-language document must then be translated into Tetum and distributed to various civil groups for review.  The final text is scheduled to be ready by 5 March, and a formal promulgation vote and ceremony is to be held on 9 March. " UNTAET Daily Briefing 21 January 2002

Jan 19 auskadi: Constituent Assembly passes articles on court structure  Letter added Jan 24
"Article 118 provides that the Supreme Court has the jurisdiction to make declarations of illegality or unconstitutionality upon application by the Prime Minister, President, President of Parliament, Attorney General, Ombudsman, or one fifth of the members of Parliament. Why don´t ordinary citzens who can demonstrate an interest in the law at issue have a right to seek to have a law declared unconstitutional or acts of the government illegal....? It seems that only the political class will have the right to enforce the law and constitution. Why is this so and who argued for and against it? Is not the effect of this that nobody will challenge the constitutionality of a law becuase only the people who have passed the law or assented to it (other than the Ombudsman) can enquire as to its validity." auskadi

Jan 17 HTLee: Asbestos epidemic in East Timor, but UNTAET negates its responsibility  Article added Jan 18
"There is a big asbestos problem in East Timor. UNTAET has been made aware of it since December 1999. However, UNTAET has failed to make the removal of asbestos a priority and has not notified the East Timorese and the thousands of foreigners working there about its dangers. ... Asbestos is a silent killer and there is no safe level to its exposure. The victims do not even know they have been attacked until 10 or more years down the track. By then it is too late and the victim suffers an agonising death." HT Lee, freelance photojournalist

Jan 17 Lee, McKinley King, Shaw: Asbestos problem in East Timor  Report added Jan 18
"The removal of asbestos using Australian NOHSC standard must be made a top priority. The East Timor Constituent Assembly can and is in a unique position to make UNTAET accept this fact and act on it. The cleaning up of the asbestos will be a huge task which will require additional funding from donor countries as well as additional assistance from abroad. Many organisations including trade unions in Australia would be more than happy to provide the assistance ... Finally, the clean up of the asbestos would require the importation of large quantities of disposable asbestos overalls and masks. These items could be manufactured in East Timor as a cottage industry to provide local employment." HT Lee, Julian McKinley King & Andrea Shaw

Jan 15 ETAN: Indonesian Judges Will Not Provide Long-Delayed Justice for ETimor  Release added Jan 15
"The multiple delays in establishing the court, its limited jurisdiction, and the continued impunity with which the Indonesian military operates throughout the archipelago only reinforce our belief that the special Indonesian court will be a sham, ... The Indonesian military remains too powerful and the courts too corrupt. Without an international tribunal, those most responsible for Indonesia’s scorched earth campaigns in East Timor will escape punishment,” John M. Miller, spokesperson for East Timor Action Network U.S.

Jan 12 ETDF: Ruak on occasion of Offering of 2 Patrol Boats  Speech added Jan 16
"The interests of our country and the territorial constraints arising from the fact that it is a half-island with an enclave, a small island and an islet, inevitably compel us to look towards the sea with a strategic perspective. The political leadership of our country presented and underscored this strategic importance and the national interests of East Timor in its discussions with Portugal. Such interests were clearly understood by Portugal which responded with the donation of these two Oecussi class patrol boats." Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak, Força de Defesa de Timor-Leste

Jan 12 STGET: Alkatiri on occasion of Offering of 2 Patrol Boats  Speech added Jan 16
"The East Timorese have become accustomed to looking towards the sea as a potential source of income only from petroleum and gas. However, the wealth of our country and its potential to diversify its income stream is far wider. We need to further develop the fishery sector and build our enforcement capacity through the patrolling of our coastal waters. At the same time we will also be able to avoid the illegal exploration of our resources without the benefit to our People." Mr. Mari Alkatiri, Chief Minister, Second Transitional Government of East Timor

Jan 11 JP: ETimor’s patience wears thin over rights tribunal  News added Jan 15
"The East Timor transitional government is considering turning to an international tribunal due to the repeated delays in the trial of officers allegedly involved in the 1999 human rights abuses in the former territory. Philipe Rodriguez of the East Timor Public Administration’s Department of Foreign Affairs said in Jakarta on Thursday that the East Timor people’s wish to see the perpetrators taken to the court of justice has not materialized." Tiarma Siboro, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Jan 10 Shige: Japan & ET: Wounds of Violence are Hard to Forget  Article added Jan 22
"If the Government of Japan really wanted to build a good bilateral relationship with Timor Lorosae, the first step it should take is to acknowledge the mistakes of its brutal policies and actions toward the people in the past, both during WWII, and during the Indonesian military occupation - which Japan’s government consistently supported it - and ask the pardon of the people of Timor Lorosae. There may be those that say that the Self-Defense Forces is different from the Imperial Japanese Army of the past, infamous for its fascist coercion, and its shameless, terrorist methods. Or, they may say that the Self-Defense Forces is only going to teach the science of “self-defense”. In fact, however, the SDF is a reincarnation of the army of the Japanese Emperor, the army that claimed the lives of some 20 million people in the Asia-Pacific region during WWII, including around 40,000 people in Timor Lorosae." Takahashi Shigehito, Resident Representative of East Timor Desk, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan

Jan 10 CNS: Former ETimor guerrillas receive job training at Salesian center  Article added Jan 16
"Cipriano Alves Amaral seems an unlikely freedom fighter. The soft-spoken, 26-year-old grew up wanting to become an electrician.  Instead, he became a guerrilla, joining East Timor’s armed resistance movement four years ago. For two years, he fought from the jungles surrounding the town of Same against Indonesia’s 24-year occupation of East Timor. The guerrillas, known by their Portuguese acronym, Falintil, disbanded in February 2001, more than a year after the East Timorese overwhelmingly rejected Indonesian rule in a 1999 U.N.-sponsored referendum. Now more than two years after the referendum, Amaral is learning to become an electrician." Christine Kearney, Catholic News Service

Jan 10 CONG: Letter to Constituent Assembly  Letter added Jan 16
"From our end, we want to assure you that we would like the Constituent Assembly to have as much time as it needs to write the best possible constitution for East Timor. In this regard, we propose that you consider further extending the session, perhaps by two months beyond that date. Your Constitution would still be finished well before formal independence. The extra time would enable more thorough discussions and additional consultation within the Constituent Assembly and throughout East Timor." U.S. Members of Congress: Dennis J. Kucinich, Barbara Lee, Chris Smith, Anthony D. Weiner, Tammy Baldwin, Bernard Sanders, Lane Evans, Sam Farr

1 Janeiru 2002: Feliz Anu Novu! Kontinuasaun de boasfestas


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