In "Indonesian Military Applauds Human Rights Acquittals" [news story, Aug. 31], Indonesia's chief military spokesman challenged human rights advocates to prove that the Indonesian military committed human rights violations in East Timor in 1999.
The Serious Crimes Unit, which has been mandated by the U.N. Security Council, issued a large number of highly credible indictments of Indonesian officials; 75 percent of those accused remain free in Indonesia, including former military commander and recent presidential candidate Gen. Wiranto.
The acquittals by Indonesia's appeals court should surprise no one. Now that Indonesia's judicial farce is in its final act, the United Nations, with vigorous U.S. government leadership, must step in and create an international tribunal on East Timor with the resources and clout to credibly prosecute the masterminds of the terror in the world's newest country.
The violence in 1999 was a systematic assault not only on the East Timorese, but on a U.N. mission. Two U.N. investigations have called for the establishment of an international tribunal.
The international community must fulfill its promises of justice to the East Timorese people. By ending impunity for the Indonesian military, genuine justice for crimes against humanity in East Timor is equally critical to advance justice and democracy within Indonesia.
East Timor Action Network