15 July 2008 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the commitment made by the Presidents of Indonesia and Timor-Leste to follow up on the final report of the panel set up to look into the violence that accompanied the latter’s bloody struggle for independence in 1999.
“The Secretary-General has taken note of the submission of the final report of the Commission of Truth and Friendship (CTF) to the Presidents of Indonesia and Timor-Leste and the subsequent joint statement issued by the two Governments,” according to a statement issued by his spokesperson.
“He looks forward to the early public release of the report and hopes that this process will be the first step towards achieving justice and reconciliation.”
Mr. Ban encouraged both Governments to take concrete steps to ensure full accountability, to end impunity and to provide reparations to victims, adding that the UN stands ready to extend its technical assistance in that regard.
In the popular consultation held in August 1999, virtually the entire electorate voted overwhelmingly for a transition towards independence.
Following the announcement of the result, pro-integration militias, at times with the support of elements of the Indonesian security forces, launched a campaign of violence, looting and arson throughout the entire territory.
Despite their obligations, the Indonesian authorities did not effectively respond, and many East Timorese were killed – including nine local UN personnel – and up to half a million displaced from their homes.
The UN did not participate in the Commission, set up by the two countries in 2005, since the body’s terms of reference into the 1999 violence did not preclude it from recommending amnesty for gross abuses.
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