At FORUM-ASIA, we employ a range of strategies to effectively achieve our goals and create a lasting impact.

Through a diverse array of approaches, FORUM-ASIA is dedicated to achieving our objectives and leaving a lasting imprint on human rights advocacy.

Who we work with

Our interventions are meticulously crafted and ready to enact tangible change, addressing pressing issues and empowering communities.

Each statements, letters, and publications are meticulously tailored, poised to transform challenges into opportunities, and to empower communities towards sustainable progress.

Multimedia Stories

With a firm commitment to turning ideas into action, FORUM-ASIA strives to create lasting change that leaves a positive legacy for future generations.

Explore our dedicated sub-sites to witness firsthand how FORUM-ASIA turns ideas into action, striving to create a legacy of lasting positive change for future generations.

Subscribe our monthly e-newsletter

Commission of Truth and Friendship (CTF) Vouch Impunity in Timor Leste

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

The fifth public hearing of Indonesia and Timor Leste joint Commission of Truth and Friendship (CTF) is calling for justice for victims of the 1999 referendum who have been ignored, as perpetrators are on the verge of getting amnesty as a sign of good will by CTF. FORUM-ASIA members and partners grilled the Commission to include provisions on trying the perpetrators to build the friendship and welcome the truth.
Indonesia and Timor Leste’s joint Commission of Truth and Friendship (CTF) held its fifth public hearings in Dili from 24 to 27 September, concluding the CTF’s investigation of the violations surrounding the 1999 referendum, in which more than 1,500 persons killed by pro-Indonesian militia groups. However, Timorese people are concerned that CTF will not be able to bring justice to the victims of the atrocities surrounding the referendum, in which they voted overwhelmingly for independence from Indonesia’s 24-year occupation.

The CTF’s mandate, which was signed by both governments in December 2005, has undermined the quest against impunity, since it gives CTF the power to recommend amnesty for those who cooperate in the search for truth. The CTF hearing took place while other countries were making important strides in implementing the rule of law with the arrest of the Khmer Rouge’s Nuon Chea of Cambodia. The highlight of the Dili hearings was the closed-door testimony of Timorese Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, who was the leader of the independence movement at the time of the transition. A similar procedure was used in the case of former Indonesian President B.J. Habibie in the fourth hearing.

Because of the CTF’s power to recommend amnesty to human rights violators, the United Nations’ has questioned the credibility of the body, and does not allow UN officials to participate in investigations. Meanwhile, the Indonesian military officials accused the United Nations Assistance Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) of orchestrating the violence.

FORUM-ASIA members and partners in both Timor Leste and Indonesia organised alternative public hearings because of their opposition to the questionable mandate of the CTF, which could allow persons such as General Wiranto, Maj. Gen. Adam Damiri, Maj. Gen. Nor Muis and Brid Gen. Tono Suratman, among others, to walk free despite their responsibility. These generals have been accused in the Indonesian AdHoc Human Rights Court for engineering the 1999 mayhem. However, in its initial judgement the Court has not found any of the accused guilty of the 1999 atrocities, except Eurico Guterres, head of the militia group Aitarak.

Dili-based FORUM-ASIA member NGO, HAK Association and the Judicial System Monitoring Programme (JSMP), have also voiced concern over the effectiveness of the CTF in addressing the legacy of violence if perpetrators are given amnesty.
At the alternative public hearing held on 28 September, Anam from FORUM-ASIA member Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) explained that the (Commission) process could set a dangerous precedent and overturn any effort to address many of Indonesia’s unresolved human rights violations from Aceh to Papua; from Tanjong Priok to Munir.

During these alternative hearings, JSMP Director Timotio de Deus, said “a number of witnesses from across Timor Leste were given the space to speak freely about their experiences and their perspectives on the political machinations of the recent past.” He added with hope that this NGO initiative will have a constructive venue for the people to understand the status of the CTF, and an important counterpoint to the CTF process.

The CTF’s mandate expires on February 2008 when it releases its final report aimed at “promoting reconciliation and friendship (between the two countries), and ensuring the non-recurrence of similar events.” With this expectation, only people’s solidarity in both countries with the regional and international support, can succeed in pushing for the prosecution of the rest of the perpetrators of crimes against humanity in an international court.