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Indonesia accepts truth commission report on East Timor rights abuses

[JURIST] Indonesia [JURIST news archive] on Tuesday formally accepted a joint Indonesian-East-Timorese Commission of Truth and Friendship (CTF) [official website] finding that Indonesia was responsible for human rights violations following a 1999 referendum in which East Timor voted for independence from Indonesia [BBC backgrounder]. This is the first time that Indonesia has accepted any responsibility for the attacks in East Timor, which it has previously blamed on local militias. In a report obtained by AFP, CTF suggested that perpetrators of the violence be brought before a human rights court. Both Indonesian and East Timorese leaders rejected calls for prosecution, noting that it could hinder the reconciliation process between the two nations, but Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono [official website] promised to implement other recommendations by the CTF. AFP has more. The Los Angeles Times has additional coverage.

Last year, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon criticized the CTF for violating international humanitarian standards [JURIST report] because it allowed amnesty for some perpetrators of crimes against humanity. Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda responded [JURIST report] that the government of East Timor had voluntarily agreed to the CTF to resolve past disputes without injuring long-term relations with Indonesia. The East Timorese government has rejected the establishment of an international tribunal to try those responsible for human rights abuses allegedly committed after the 1999 referendum. Ban indicated that UN officials would not testify [press release] before the CTF and that the UN "would not support the work of the CTF and thereby further the possible grant of amnesties." The CTF, established [terms of reference] in 2005 by the East Timorese and Indonesian governments, does not have independent authority to prosecute suspects.

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