Tuesday, March 23, 2010

ETAN to President Ramos-Horta on justice, accountability & international tribuanl

ETAN has written to President Ramos-Horta in response to his recent remarks on justice and accountability for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during the Indonesian occupation (1975-1999), and his attack on Amnesty International. It begins:
"We are writing to express our sadness and deep dismay on reading your speech to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 11, 2010. In your address, you refer to having been "unfairly criticized by some fringe elements in this amorphous international community” for decisions made by you and the Government of Timor-Leste concerning justice and accountability.

"While you did not mention Amnesty International by name, the target of your anger was clear as it directly followed a public dispute with them regarding your stance on an international tribunal. It is ironic that one whose heart is as forgiving as yours would issue such a strong attack on another Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Amnesty International has stood strongly for peace, and collaborated closely with you throughout the Indonesian occupation during the long campaign for human rights in Timor-Leste. To refer to them as “fringe” and accuse them of “regurgitating ready-made clich├ęs or academic jargon on justice” is both disrespectful and engages in the same rhetorical excess you decry."
Read the full letter here.

The Timor-Leste National Alliance for an International Tribunal (ANTI - Aliansi Nasional Timor Leste Ba Tribunal Internasional) delivered their own letter the other day.
As citizens of this country, our feeling and desire for justice for serious crimes is not enough when our leaders become spokesmen to express views which don’t follow what we feel and work for. Our thirst for this justice draws its legitimate power from Article 160 of the Constitution of RDTL, that “…crimes against humanity of genocide or of war shall be liable to criminal proceedings with the national or international courts.” Therefore, we are sad and strongly lament when a leader of Timor-Leste makes a statement that the Timorese people don’t need an international tribunal for crimes against humanity and show ignorance of the fundamental principles of our democratic constitution which expresses the wishes of the common Timorese people.
Candles are lit at the Indonesian Embassy in Dili on September 6, 2009, the anniversary of the Suai Church massacre, where Maternus Bere was thought to be residing. Ramos-Horta told the Human Rights Commission that no Timorese had lit candles in protest of Bere's release. Photo by La'o Hamutuk.

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