Indonesia-E. Timor Truth Commission to Report Findings

DENPASAR ~ A commission investigating an outbreak of deadly violence during East Timor’s 1999 independence vote from Indonesia has said it is ready to submit its findings.

The Indonesia-East Timor Commission of Truth and Friendship (CTF), set up in 2005, was tasked by both governments to uncover the truth behind the violence surrounding East Timor’s overwhelming vote to break from Indonesia.

Indonesian co-chairman of the CTF Benjamin Mangkudilaga said the commission was ready to submit its report to the heads of state of each country for submission to their respective parliaments.

East Timorese CTF member Jacinto Alves said the report would “include conclusive facts on the cause and nature of human rights violations in Timor Leste around the referendum in 1999.”

The commission completed its mandate on Monday this week. The CTF had twice requested an extension saying more time was needed to “align perceptions” among the 10 members.

The body was set up in August 2005 and originally had an extendable work period of one year.

Alves said recommendations included “rehabilitation aspects for victims and the people including system reforms so similar incidents will not happen in the future”.

He added that findings were not directed to individuals but to institutions involved during the unrest. He gave no other details.

An estimated 1,400 people were killed when militias backed by the Indonesian military rampaged as East Timor’s population voted overwhelmingly in favor of breaking away from Indonesia, which invaded in 1975.

The CTF has no prosecution powers. It has been boycotted by the UN, which says those guilty of human rights violations should face justice.

The commission has heard testimony from scores of witnesses, including East Timor’s Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, Indonesian officials, military, police and East Timorese who both backed Indonesia’s rule or were pro-independence.

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