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Inquiries into atrocities in East Timor.

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News Release

Laurie Brereton, MP

Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs


1 February 2000



Inquiries Into Atrocities In East Timor

The Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Laurie Brereton, today welcomed the release of the report of the Indonesian inq uiry into Human Rights Abuses (KPP HAM) in East Timor and the report of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry into Atrocities in East Timor.

"The releases yesterday of both the Indonesian and United Nations reports are important and complementary steps in establishing accountability for the killings and widespread violations of human rights committed in East Timor last year", Mr Brereton said.

"The KPP HAM inquiry's finding of extensive Indonesian military complicity in 'planned and systematic' violence with responsibility extending to the top of the TNI chain of command, comes as no surprise. That said, the KPP HAM report is a courageous document and Indonesia's National Human Rights Commission - Komnas HAM - deserves high praise for its determined and wide ranging investigation."

"The United Nations Commission of Inquiry further reports that 'the Indonesian army was responsible for the intimidation, terror, killings and other acts of violence experienced by the people of East Timor' and that 'the evidence collected to date indicates that particular individuals were directly involved in violations of human rights'."

"The next step is to ensure that those responsible, either directly or indirectly, are held fully accountable. There must be no impunity. President Wahid's announcement that he will seek the resignation of former TNI Commander General Wiranto from his current senior Cabinet post is a very encouraging development."

"General Wiranto survived the initial transition to President Wahid's administration with his power and influence largely intact. In the early weeks of the new Government he clearly obstructed Presidential policy in regard to resolution of the conflict in Aceh. More recently he has been accused of playing a significant role in the orchestration of religious violence in the Maluku Islands."

"General Wiranto's departure from ministerial office will be greeted with widespread approval. It will be a welcome step in President Wahid's efforts to wind back the military's long dominant role in Indonesia's political life."

"President Wahid and Indonesia's Attorney-General Marzuki Darusman must now follow through on the findings of the KPP HAM report. There must be effective prosecution of those responsible for human rights abuses in East Timor. This may well prove to be a major challenge given the debilitated state of the post-Suharto Indonesian judiciary."

"As a consequence, while there would appear at present to be little prospect of Security Council approval of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry's recommendation for establishment of an International Human Rights Tribunal, the potential for such a process must remain open."

"The international community must make it very clear that a failure to energetically pursue those responsible for the atrocities in East Timor will damage Indonesia's international standing and lead to the establishment of an international tribunal to ensure accountability. Australia must be forthright in pursuing this matter with the Indonesian Government."

"Those responsible for the killings in East Timor must face justice - not only for the sake of the long-suffering East Timorese people, but for Indonesia's democratic transition too."



jy  2000-02-03  16:01