Human Rights: Indonesia Accepts Truth Commission Report on East Timor

Updated On: Jul 15, 2008

Indonesia said 13 July that it will accept the final report by a truth commission which has concluded the government, military and police were responsible for gross human rights violations in East Timor in 1999.
The report by the Indonesia-Timor Leste joint Commission for Truth and Friendship (CTF) declared that "gross rights violations in the form of crimes against humanity, such as murder, rape, torture, illegal detention and forced deportation against civilian populations did occur" in Indonesia's former province.
The commission will formally submit the report to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Timor Leste President Jose Ramos-Horta on Tuesday 15 July in Bali.
The acceptance would mean the first-ever state recognition of gross human rights violations by the Indonesian government during East Timor's independence vote.
The Report is said to conclude that, "The evidence left no doubt that pro-autonomy militias were the primary direct perpetrators of gross human rights violations in East Timor in 1999. The commission found that TNI personnel, police and civilian authorities consistently and systematically cooperated with and supported the militias in a number of significant ways that contributed to the perpetration of the crimes,".
The commission recommends that the Indonesian and Timor Leste governments make "official acknowledgement through expression of regret and apology for the suffering caused by the violence in 1999 and firm commitment to take all necessary measures to prevent the reoccurrence of such events and to heal the wounds of the past".
The bilateral team, set up in 2005 to investigate the bloodshed before, during and after the 1999 referendum that saw the independence of Timor Leste, decided not to recommend amnesty or rehabilitation for any officers involved.
East Timorese and international rights advocates had dismissed the team as a "charade" designed to ease international pressure for a UN-sponsored tribunal.
East Timor voted overwhelmingly to end 24 years of Indonesian rule in a 1999 referendum that triggered a burst of killing, looting and burning by Indonesian soldiers and their militia proxies that killed at least 1,000 people, according to a previous UN inquiry and scores of witnesses.
Indonesia established an ad hoc human rights tribunal to try the military and civilian officials accused of conducting the crimes, but all the 18 officials and civilians were later cleared of all charges over the violence.

Source: Jakarta Post, 14 July 08 Govt 'to accept' joint report on East Timor

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