British Catholic group protests after Indonesian police cleared of killings

The Catholic Institute for International Relations has denounced a ruling by an Indonesian Human Rights Court last week that acquitted two senior police officers accused of serious human rights violations.

CLICK HEREIndepedent Catholic News reports that the two officers were cleared of all charges of failing to stop gross human rights violations. Yet they were involved in a police operation on 7 December 2000 that resulted in the killing of three Papuan students and the torture of more than 100, in Abepura, Papua, the Western-most province of Indonesia.

According to Theo van den Broek, CIIR Country Representative for East Timor: "The ruling is further proof that the Indonesian government is neither willing nor able to bring human rights abusers in the Indonesian security forces to book."

He added: "It shows that Indonesia's promises to the international community to try those responsible for human rights violations cannot be trusted and that the practice of impunity is alive and well."

The ruling in the Abepura case casts further doubt on the prospects for justice for victims of rights violations in East Timor. The international community appears increasingly willing to turn a blind eye to attempts by the Indonesian government to avert legal process and secure impunity for those responsible for war crimes there.

In a report completed on 26 May 2005, the independent Commission of Experts, mandated by the United Nations, made recommendations to address the poor progress on the issue of rights violations in East Timor.

These included recommending that the UN ensure that the investigation into and prosecution of serious crimes in East Timor maintain an independent and international component as local resources are insufficient; that the UN set up mechanisms to allow the East Timorese government to retain sovereignty over the justice process, facilitate capacity building of the judiciary and provide opportunities for the international community to help address human rights issues.

These recommendations offer the best hope of delivering the genuine justice that the victims of human rights violations deserve and international law demands. Yet the UN Security Council has so far failed to properly consider the report.

CIIR, along with the churches and other civil society groups in East Timor, is urging the UN Security Council to endorse the commission's recommendations.

CIIR protests after police cleared of killings in Indonesia (Independent Catholic News 13/9/05)

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14 Sep 2005