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The Times (London)

6 December 2000

Justice is vital to East Timor Future

From the Roman Catholic Bishop of Leeds & the Bishop of Oxford


At a World Bank meeting in Brussels on December 5 and 6 to review progress on reconstruction and development in East Timor, Christian Churches and organisations worldwide will call for the return of the refugees in West Timor. They will also ask for an international tribunal to try Indonesian and East Timorese perpetrators of war crimes and abuses, and the ringleaders in the Indonesian military.

We are doing this because the Christian Churches in East Timor, both Catholic and Protestant, have made it clear that, for true reconciliation to take place in East Timor and between Indonesia and East Timor, there must first be justice.

In Indonesia efforts are being made to set up trials. But the conditions for them to be conducted according to international standards do not exist and are unlikely to in the near future. Our East Timorese colleagues are very concerned that the UN authorities do not have the resources to investigate fully the serious crimes.

No healing process can start in the knowledge that perpetrators will go unpunished. Justice is vital to East Timor's future, and to the future of Indonesia, which is struggling to found a democratic state based on the rule of law.

Yours faithfully,
Bishop of Leeds, Chairman
Catholic Bishops' Conference Department of International Affairs
Bishop of Oxford.

C/O Catholic Institute for International Relations
Unit 3, Canonbury Yard
190A New North Road
London N1 7BJ
December 4

David Konstant is episcopal adviser to CIIR.

For further information contact:
Catherine Scott, Asia Policy Officer, CIIR: e-mail

Catholic Institute for International Relations
"Tackling the causes of poverty and injustice internationally through advocacy and skillsharing."
CIIR works with people of all faiths and none.
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