"called on the world to listen to East Timor’s victims and act on their demands for justice. The group also urged the United States government to formally acknowledge its past support for Indonesia’s brutal military occupation of East Timor, and for the international community to learn from this history and never repeat the same crimes."
|December 7 invasion day, via Timor Archives|
It is well-documented that the Indonesian military launched its 1975 invasion just hours after then President Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger gave their explicit permission to go ahead. They reassured Suharto that U.S. military support would continue, despite U.S. law and Indonesia's treaty obligations. U.S. weapons, military training and political support enabled Indonesia to seize the territory and maintain its occupation for 24 years. These brutal events claimed the lives of up to 200,000 people.
The report of Timor-Leste's Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (known by its Portuguese initials, CAVR) thoroughly documents the impact of the Indonesia's illegal invasion and occupation.
While the report was long ago officially delivered to the U.S. and other governments, the CAVR's recommendations to the international community remain largely ignored. anniversary. Despite being urged to do so, President Obama did not address these issues during his recent visit to Jakarta.
We highlight some of the CAVR's most pertinent recommendations after the jump.
7.1 Justice for past atrocities
7.1.9. The international community urges and supports Indonesia to declassify information
held by the Indonesian security forces so that it is available for judicial processes
7.1.12. The international community demonstrates its commitment to justice and the Serious
Crimes process by, inter alia:
- ensuring that their law enforcement authorities are enabled to transfer those indicted to the Serious Crimes regime established by the UN, to try those indicted themselves or to extradite them to a jurisdiction genuinely interested in trying them
- ensuring that persons responsible for the crimes described in this report are not allowed to continue profitable careers regardless of their crimes
- establishing a special board of investigation under the auspices of the United Nations to establish the extent, nature and location of assets held by those indicted for crimes against humanity in Timor-Leste
- freezing the assets of all those indicted for crimes against humanity in Timor-Leste, subject to national and international laws and pending hearing of cases before the relevant tribunal
- placing travel bans on those indicted for crimes against humanity in Timor-Leste
- linking international aid and cooperation to specific steps by Indonesia towards accountability, such as cooperation with the Serious Crimes process, the vetting of perpetrators who continue their careers in the public sector, and the scrutinising of Indonesian members of peacekeeping missions and training courses to ensure that alleged perpetrators of violations are not included.
7.2 International tribunal
The Commission recommends that:
7.2.1. The United Nations and its relevant organs, in particular the Security Council, remains seized of the matter of justice for crimes against humanity in Timor-Leste for as long as necessary, and be prepared to institute an International Tribunal pursuant to Chapter VII of the UN Charter should other measures be deemed to have failed to deliver a sufficient measure of justice and Indonesia persists in the obstruction of justice.
1. Timor-Leste and the international community
The relationship of Timor-Leste to other nations was defined by the nature of the political conflicts
between 1974 and 1999. The conflict in Timor-Leste was not primarily an internal conflict but one
of foreign intervention, invasion and occupation that caused the people of Timor-Leste great
suffering and loss and violated international law and human rights which the international
community was duty bound to protect and uphold. While these relationships have evolved since
the intervention of the United Nations in 1999, there are a number of steps to be taken which will- 4 -
assist the building of this new nation and its international relations and to ensure that TimorLeste’s experience is not repeated in other situations.
The Commission recommends that:
1.1. This Report is given the widest possible distribution at all levels in the international community through the media, internet and other networks and particularly within the United Nations and those individual nations and institutions that are highlighted in the Report, viz. Australia, China, Britain, France, Indonesia, Japan, Portugal, Russia, US, the Catholic Church, as well as the East Timorese diaspora and international civil society organisations.
1.2. This Report is disseminated at all levels in the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (Communidade dos Paises de Lingua Portuguesa, CPLP) with a view to it contributing to greater understanding of Timor-Leste as the newest member of the Community.
1.3. This Report is disseminated at all levels in each of the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in order to deepen appreciation of Timor-Leste’s recent history and its needs as a future member of this important regional body.
1.4. The Vatican and the governments of China, Britain, France, Japan, and Russia make available to Timor-Leste their classified and other archival material on the period 1974-1999 so that this information can be added to that already provided by other countries to ensure that Timor-Leste, after so many years of isolation, can build a comprehensive depository of information on its history.
1.5. The UN Secretary-General refers the Report to the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Special Committee on Decolonisation and the UN Commission on Human Rights, and requests that each of these bodies devotes a special session to discussion and reflection on the Report and the lessons to be learned from its contents and findings.
1.6. The states that had military cooperation programmes with the Indonesian Government during the Commission’s mandate period, whether or not this assistance was used directly in Timor-Leste, apologise to the people of Timor-Leste for failing to adequately uphold internationally agreed fundamental rights and freedoms in Timor-Leste during the Indonesian occupation.
1.7. The Permanent Members of the Security Council, particularly the US but also Britain and France, who gave military backing to the Indonesian Government between 1974 and 1999 and who are duty bound to uphold the highest principles of world order and peace and to protect the weak and vulnerable, assist the Government of Timor-Leste in the provision of reparations to victims of human rights violations suffered during the Indonesian occupation.
1.8. Business corporations which profited from the sale of weapons to Indonesia during the occupation of Timor-Leste and particularly those whose material was used in Timor-Leste contribute to the reparations programme for victims of human rights violations.
1.9. All UN member states refuse a visa to any Indonesian military officer who is named in this Report for either violations or command responsibility for troops accused of violations and take other measures such as freezing bank accounts until that individual’s innocence has been independently and credibly established.
1.10. States regulate military sales and cooperation with Indonesia more effectively and make such support totally conditional on progress towards full democratisation, the subordination of the military to the rule of law and civilian government, and strict adherence with international human rights, including respect for the right of self-determination.
1.11. The governments of Australia, Britain and New Zealand undertake a joint initiative to establish the truth about the deaths of the six foreign journalists in Timor-Leste in 1975 so that the facts and accountability are finally established.
1.12. The international Catholic Church, led by the Vatican, honours Dom Martinho da Costa Lopes and the Catholic sisters, priests and laity who were killed in 1999 seeking to protect the people of Timor-Leste.
1.13. The documents and any other material relating to the events of 1999 and militia activity that were allegedly removed to Australia for safe-keeping after the arrival of Interfet in 1999 be returned to Timor-Leste by the Government of Australia.
1.14. The Government of Timor-Leste, with the support of the United Nations, honours the contribution of international civil society to the promotion of human rights in TimorLeste, particularly the right of self-determination, and invites civil society organisations to contribute their documentation on this struggle to the people of Timor-Leste as a tool for remembering and fostering ongoing relations and solidarity
1.15. Support, both practical and financial, be given by business, philanthropic bodies, corporations and academic institutions to assist key East Timorese figures and others to document their histories and experiences in order to build up the limited stock of East Timorese-generated literature for future generation