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Commission of Truth and Friendship: One Way to Forget Victims’ Rights

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CTF has neglected victim’s participation in several hearings. CTF merely asked victims to give “opinions” and not “testimonies”. The Commissioners also failed to verify findings and facts of previous investigations. Such action shall only allow impunity to grow and undermines the original objectives of the establishment of CTF.

WE, the civil society in Indonesia and the international community, express our deep regret that the Commission of Truth and Friendship (CTF) has so far failed to maximize the participation of victims and civil society in the hearing process. It is in our view that the Commission’s hearing will only obstruct the truth of the experience of victims and civil society at the height of the popular referendum in 1999.

Looking at the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the Commission, the objective neither includes a provision for victim reparation nor suggests if the rehabilitation will include the victims’ right to compensation. We believe that one form of continuing suffering among the victims is the unresolved bitter memory of the atrocities that happened in Timor Leste in 1999.

The exclusion of victims’ rights is becoming more apparent as the CTF hearing process unfolds, where the participants merely give opinions and not testimonies. This process only addresses their ‘role’ and ‘position’ in the events of the atrocities. Furthermore, the Commissioners have failed to ask questions to verify findings and facts of previous investigations, as mandated by the agreement in the Commission. This practice of excluding previous findings is worrisome because the results will provide a ‘safe haven’ of impunity for alleged perpetrators instead of making them accountable and responsible for their actions that resulted in loss and suffering of the victims.

Protecting victims and their families’ rights to justice, reparation and truth-seeking are the best guarantee that atrocities will never be repeated. This provision should be the essential aim that the Commission should seek at all costs. Therefore, initiatives from both governments in fulfilling the abovementioned rights should be demonstrated through genuine accountability and transparency. In the long term, both governments must formulate better cooperation for full reparation for all victims. We reiterate our call for the Commission to ensure that its proceedings meet international human rights standards based on the findings of KKP-HAM (Inquiry Committee for Human Rights Abuses) and Chega! CAVR (Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation).

The right to justice for victims and all human beings is recognized by both governments through their constitutions and as stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human rights (UDHR). Therefore both governments must show their sound commitment to fulfill the need for justice to harness friendship and encourage truth-seeking.

ELSAM – Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy
FORUM-ASIA – Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development
HRWG – Human Rights Working Group
ICTJ – International Centre for Transitional Justice
IMPARSIAL – Indonesian Human Rights Monitor
KontraS – The Commission for Disappearances and Victims of Violence
PEC – People Empowerment Consortium
SOLIDAMOR – Solidarity for Peaceful Solutions for Timor Leste
YLBHI – Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation

Read a copy of this Joint Statement in Bahasa Indonesia (in .pdf).

For further information please contact:

Tadzrul Tahir Hamzah at [email protected] or +66 (02) 391 8801 ext 203 for English
Haris Azhar at [email protected], Choirul Anam at [email protected] and Taufik Basari at [email protected] or visit and for Bahasa Indonesia.