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Friday, 10 December, 1999, 10:44 GMT
Calls for UN tribunal on Timor

UN soldiers guarding the site of a mass grave UN soldiers guarding the site of a mass grave


Two East Timorese winners of the Nobel peace prize have said the United Nations must set up an international tribunal to try those accused of human abuses during the last weeks of Indonesian rule over the territory.

East Timor
Bishop Carlos Belo and Jose Ramos Horta, won the prize in 1996 for campaigning for the rights and independence of the East Timorese.

Calling for an international tribunal, Bishop Belo said: "Hopefully through the United Nations framework, these people should be taken into a tribunal like for Kosovo, for Bosnia, because the crimes committed here are really crimes against humanity."



You cannot in this day and age, plan an orderly destruction of a whole country, the abduction of thousands of people, the killing, the rape, and get away with it with impunity
Jose Ramos Horta
"You saw our cities destroyed, everybody suffering without shelter, without anything, so those people must be taken to justice," Bishop Belo added.

Mr Horta, who shared the Nobel prize with Bishop Belo, said the former head of the Indonesian armed forces, General Wiranto, and other senior commanders should be made answerable for crimes against humanity.


Jose Ramos Horta, Jose Ramos Horta, welcomed by crowds in East Timor earlier in December
"You cannot in this day and age, at the end of the 20th Century, plan an orderly destruction of a whole country, the abduction of thousands of people, the killing the rape, and get away with it with impunity," Mr Horta said.

"It would be an affront to humanity if Wiranto and the others retired peacefully and nothing happened," he added.

Finding the facts

Mass grave sites have already been uncovered in East Timor, though no authoritative figure has been given for the number of people who died in the last weeks of Indonesian rule over East Timor.

The UN has recently sent a fact finding mission to East Timor to investigate the alleged human rights abuses committed by the Indonesia military and pro-Jakarta militias in the period after the territory voted for independence in August. It will report to the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan.


Bishop Belo Bishop Belo returning to East Timor in October
An Indonesian commission of inquiry into human rights violations has also launched an investigation.

Both inquiry teams have said gathered testimony pointed to the responsibility of senior army generals in planning and executing the violence that engulfed East Timor before Indonesia pulled out.

Though the Indonesian team has surprised many with its apparent honesty and willingness to criticises its own military, Bishop Belo dismissed its efforts.

"I do not have confidence in Indonesian institutions," he said.

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See also:
01 Dec 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Timor leader returns home
08 Sep 99 |  East Timor
Profile: Timor's exiled leader
30 Nov 99 |  Asia-Pacific
'New relationship' for East Timor
23 Oct 99 |  Asia-Pacific
'Day of freedom' for Timor
29 Nov 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Indonesia 'responsible' for Timor destruction
27 Oct 99 |  Asia-Pacific
UN wants $200m for East Timor
06 Oct 99 |  East Timor
Bishop Belo: Timor's spiritual leader

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