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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 January 2006, 05:38 GMT
Indonesian E Timor 'abuse' listed
East Timor's President Xanana Gusmao
East Timor's President Xanana Gusmao wants to move on
East Timor's president has presented the UN with a report of alleged atrocities committed by Indonesia during its 24-year annexation.

However, Xanana Gusmao said the study should be a means of "healing wounds" rather than an attempt to punish.

It contends more than 100,000 people were either killed or died from hunger or illness and says there was widespread rape and torture.

Jakarta says the report is not helpful and the nations should look forward.

Witness testimony

Mr Gusmao handed the report to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on Friday.

The president said: "We accept the results of the report as a way to heal the wounds.

EAST TIMOR
1975: Indonesia invades after colonial power Portugal withdraws
Indonesia's often brutal rule opposed by Fretilin fighters
1999: More than 1,000 people killed over independence referendum
2002: East Timor becomes independent nation

"The figures [of casualties] can be disputed. But it is not so important to look at the figures. It is more important to look at the lessons. We don't advocate punitive justice but restorative justice."

The BBC's Rachel Harvey in Jakarta says Mr Gusmao has tried hard to play down the report.

Our correspondent says there is no appetite from either Indonesia or East Timor to pursue those ultimately responsible for the violence.

The 2,500-page report, by the East Timorese Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation, has yet to be made public but details were leaked earlier through Timorese politicians.

Based on testimony from thousands of witnesses, it documents a catalogue of abuses allegedly committed by Indonesian security forces.

The report says that Indonesia's policy of deliberate starvation could have cost the lives of between 84,000 and 183,000 people between 1975 and 1999, and that the military used napalm bombs during its occupation of East Timor.

Resistance criticised

Indonesian Defence Minister Juwono Sudarsono said on Friday: "This is a war of numbers and data about things that never happened.

If we hide the truth, we will not be courageous enough to look at [each] other eye-to-eye
Xanana Gusmao

"How could we have used napalm against the East Timorese? Back then we didn't even have the capacity to import, let alone make napalm."

Indonesia's State Secretary Yusril Ihza Mahendra added: "We have agreed to co-operate for reconciliation and for solving our problems, therefore there is no need to look into the past because that does not help."

The report is also critical of the tactics used by the Timorese resistance movement, which Mr Gusmao led.

The territory won independence after a UN-sponsored referendum in 1999, which was itself the focus of widespread violence.

Our correspondent says East Timor is still heavily dependent on Indonesia, not least in terms of trade, and that Mr Gusmao saw the main objective of the research as a reminder to future generations that they should not make the same mistakes again.

However, critics of the government's approach say little has been achieved in attempts to prosecute those responsible for abuses and that justice needs to be done.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See Xanana Gusmao present the report to the UN




SEE ALSO:
Victims of a brutal war
20 Apr 03 |  From Our Own Correspondent
East Timor: Birth of a nation
19 May 02 |  Asia-Pacific
East Timor launches truth commission
21 Jan 02 |  Asia-Pacific
Timeline: East Timor
12 Jan 06 |  Country profiles
Country profile: East Timor
30 Dec 05 |  Country profiles


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