East Timor bishops seek justice for victims of violence

Victims of East Timor's violent break from Indonesia will only find justice through an international tribunal, East Timor's two bishops warned, as Indonesia and East Timor pressed ahead with plans for a truth and reconciliation commission.

"The Catholic Church requests the continued intervention of the United Nations to achieve justice for the people of East Timor," Bishops Basilio do Nascimento and Alberto Ricardo da Silva said in a statement reported by Associated Press through Seven News.

"We hope that the voice of the East Timorese people, who have suffered from impunity, will be heard."

Indonesian military and their proxy militias are accused of killing nearly 1,500 people after a UN-supervised referendum in 1999 brought an end to Indonesia's occupation of the former Portuguese colony.

Jakarta and Dili have rejected a UN committee's recommendation for an international tribunal, saying it would harm bilateral relations.

They favour a "Truth and Friendship Commission" instead, and announced the names of 10 panel members who will have the power to interview witnesses and review documents but not to prosecute.

The East Timorese bishops slammed "the decision of political leaders to deny the Timorese people the right to justice."

"East Timor is a nation with a Catholic majority that cannot support the governments' policy of impunity," they said.

Catholics seek justice for Timor victims (Seven News/Australian Associated Press 1/8/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Church in East Timor (catholic-hierarchy.org)
Mary MacKillop Institute of East Timorese Studies

Timorese Church opposes war crimes deal (CathNews 8/2/05)
Commission welcomes UN recommendation on East Timor (CathNews 24/2/04)
Belo scuttles Gusmao 'forgive and forget' bid to woo Indonesia (CathNews 11/9/03)
Caritas says international court 'crucial' for East Timor (CathNews 19/7/02)
East Timorese priest says justice essential to reconciliation efforts (CathNews 24/5/02)
No amnesty for crimes against humanity, says East Timorese bishop (CathNews 10/7/02)
Former chief justice tells Catholic principals of lost tolerance (CathNews 3/1/02)

East Timor bishops back UN proposal for an international tribunal (AsiaNews.it 1/8/05)

2 Aug 2005