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East Timor war crimes
17 Sept 99
Following on from the Caritas press release of yesterday, here is some information on the setting up of a War Crimes Tribunal for atrocities committed in East Timor.
EAST TIMOR WAR CRIMES PANEL SET UP.
SYDNEY, Australia (AP) - Lawyers from around the world will begin collecting eyewitness testimony about atrocities committed in East Timor for an eventual U.N. war crimes tribunal, a senior judge said today.
Such a court has not yet been established, but it came a step closer to realization Monday when Mary Robinson, the United Nations' top human-rights envoy, said Indonesian President B.J. Habibie agreed that those responsible for atrocities in East Timor must be held accountable.
Lawyers will begin taking statements from East Timorese refugees, said Justice John Dowd, president of the Australian section of the International Commission of Jurists.
The testimony would be stored in a database that could be handed to a future U.N. court.
Robinson is pushing for a court to be set up similar to those prosecuting perpetrators of atrocities in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.
"A panel of eminent jurists will be established to assume responsibility for the collection of evidence of crimes against humanity and genocide in East Timor," Dowd said in a statement.
Killing and looting by militias that followed an Aug. 30 U.N.-sponsored vote for independence have driven an estimated 300,000 of East Timor's 850,000 people from their homes. Evidence points to Indonesian army direction of the operation.
The most the Indonesians have admitted to is "rogue elements"' in the armed forces.
Tuesday, September 14, 1999; 7:20 a.m. EDT. The Associated Press.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
- Human Rights in East Timor. http://www.derechos.org/human-rights/seasia/indonesia/
- Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/c_coloni.htm
- Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity. http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/p_limit.htm
- Principles of international co-operation in the detection, arrest, extradition and punishment of persons guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/p_extrad.htm
- Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/92.htm
- Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and
relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts
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