[ETAN-key] ETAN: On 15th Anniversary of Timor Massacre Rights Network Calls for Justice

John M Miller fbp at igc.org
Sat Nov 11 10:34:10 PST 2006



On 15th Anniversary of Timor Massacre Rights Network Calls for Justice

ETAN Urges Administration, New Congress to Support International Tribunal

For Immediate Release

Contact: <mailto:john at etan.org>John M. Miller, 
718-596-7668; mobile: 917-690-4391, john at etan.org

November 12, 2006 - On the fifteenth anniversary 
of the infamous massacre at Santa Cruz cemetery 
in Timor-Leste, the East Timor and Indonesia 
Action Network (ETAN) called for justice for its 
victims and their families, as well as the many 
others killed and victimized during Indonesia’s 
invasion and occupation of the territory from 
1975 to 1999. The 1991 massacre -- witnessed and 
filmed by foreign journalists – was a turning 
point in Timor-Leste’s struggle for self-determination.

“East Timor is now independent, but its people 
cannot overcome their tragic past until there is 
accountability for decades of systematic human 
rights violations by the Indonesian military,” 
said John M. Miller, National Coordinator of 
ETAN. “This de facto impunity has an impact on 
Timor-Leste today, contributing to the current 
security crisis which forced half the capital’s 
residents from their homes. ETAN will not rest until justice is done.”

“We urge the new Congress to take action toward 
accountability and justice, moving beyond the 
Bush administration’s lip service to support  for 
an international tribunal to try crimes against 
humanity committed in Timor-Leste,” said Miller. 
“Congress should address the recommendations of 
Timor-Leste’s truth and reconciliation 
commission, especially its calls for a tribunal, 
reparations and restrictions on assistance to 
Indonesia’s military. By doing so, Congress will 
demonstrate its commitment to human rights and 
begin to redress the years of active U.S. support 
for Indonesia's brutal,  illegal occupation of Timor-Leste,” added Miller.

“On this important anniversary, we again join 
with the Timorese people in urging the United 
States and the international community to 
seriously pursue the Indonesian generals and 
political leaders who organized and directed 
numerous crimes during the 24-years of illegal 
occupation. A credible international tribunal is 
the only way to end impunity,” said Miller.

“After seven years and numerous  processes, 
neither Indonesia, Timor-Leste nor the United 
Nations has mustered the political will needed to 
achieve accountability,” said Miller. 
“Unfortunately, this impunity leads some in 
Timor-Leste to believe they will not be held 
accountable when they commit violent crimes and 
sometimes motivates violent retaliation by 
victims who do not expect redress from the legal system.”

Background

On November 12, 1991, Indonesian troops opened 
fire on a memorial procession which had become a 
peaceful pro-independence demonstration at the 
Santa Cruz cemetery in Dili, Timor-Leste’s 
capital. More than 270 mostly-young Timorese were 
murdered. This massacre, unlike many others 
committed during Indonesia's 24-year occupation, 
was witnessed by international journalists, whose 
video and photographs were shown worldwide. The 
Santa Cruz massacre galvanized international 
support for Timor-Leste and was the catalyst for 
congressional action to stem the flow of U.S. 
weapons and other assistance for Indonesia’s security forces.

During more than two decades of occupation of 
Timor-Leste, Indonesian soldiers committed 
serious crimes with impunity, taking well over 
100,000 Timorese lives and torturing and displacing countless others.

Timor-Leste's Commission for Reception, Truth and 
Reconciliation researched and documented the new 
nation’s experiences during the occupation. The 
Commission recommended establishment of an 
international criminal tribunal and also 
advocated that countries (including the U.S.) 
which backed the occupation and corporations 
which sold weapons to Indonesia during that 
period to pay reparations to victims. The 
commission urged the international community not 
to support Indonesia's military until it was 
thoroughly reformed and respectful of human rights.

ETAN was formed in reaction to the Santa Cruz 
massacre. The U.S.-based organization advocates 
for democracy, justice and human rights for 
Timor-Leste and Indonesia. For more information 
on the massacre see 
<http://etan.org/timor/SntaCRUZ.htm>http://etan.org/timor/SntaCRUZ.htm 
or see ETAN's web site: <http://www.etan.org>http://www.etan.org.

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John M. Miller         Internet: fbp at igc.org
National Coordinator
ETAN
PO Box 21873, Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873 USA
Phone: (718)596-7668      Fax: (718)222-4097
Mobile phone: (917)690-4391  Skype: john.m.miller
Web site: http://www.etan.org

Send a blank e-mail message to info at etan.org to find out
how to learn more about East Timor on the Internet

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