February 13, 2001 - Issue: Vol. 147, No. 20 — Daily Edition107th Congress (2001 - 2002) - 1st Session
SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 9--CONDEMNING THE VIOLENCE IN EAST TIMOR AND URGING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF AN INTERNATIONAL WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL FOR PROSECUTING CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY THAT OCCURRED...
(Senate - February 13, 2001)
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[Pages S1349-S1350] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 9--CONDEMNING THE VIOLENCE IN EAST TIMOR AND URGING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF AN INTERNATIONAL WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL FOR PROSECUTING CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY THAT OCCURRED DURING THAT CONFLICT Mr. HARKIN (for himself, Mr. Feingold, Mr. Reed, Mr. Leahy, Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Wellstone, and Mr. Kohl) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. S. Con. Res. 9 Whereas the people of East Timor experienced an unprovoked and violent attack in the aftermath of a peaceful referendum in which they cast an overwhelming vote for national independence; Whereas at least 1,000 people were killed, thousands more people were injured, 500,000 people were displaced, much of the infrastructure was destroyed, and scores of communities and villages were completely destroyed in East Timor by roving bands of militias and paramilitary organizations; Whereas some Indonesian military officers and personnel along with some Indonesian civilian police helped to train and arm the militias and paramilitary organizations before setting them loose to terrorize the people of East Timor and destroy their homes, businesses, and personal property; Whereas the Indonesian ranking military officers and civilian police officers not only failed to keep the peace in East Timor once the referendum on national independence was conducted but also, in some cases, actually incited violence and participated in widespread killing, rape, forced displacement, mayhem, and wholesale property destruction; Whereas numerous militia leaders who have been implicated in various crimes against humanity in East Timor continue to operate with impunity in West Timor and throughout Indonesia and none have been formally charged and brought to trial in Indonesia for the wave of violence, murder, rape, and terror inflicted on the people of East Timor, in particular, in preparation for, the conduct of, or the aftermath of the 1999 referendum; Whereas Indonesia is a party to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other international human rights agreements and is legally obligated to comply with those agreements; Whereas the continuing failure to investigate, indict, prosecute, and secure convictions and appropriate punishment for those responsible for so much death, violence, and destruction among the people of East Timor continues to fuel an environment of terror, fear, and crime in East and West Timor and along their common border, thus trapping tens of thousands in squalid refugee camps and preventing their safe return to their homes; Whereas the Indonesian government has failed to follow through on its agreement to provide evidence and accused criminals to the justice system of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor, creating circumstances whereby lower-level East Timorese militia members are brought to justice in East Timor, while East Timorese militia leaders and Indonesian military officers with command responsibility reside in Indonesia without fear of prosecution; Whereas the Indonesian government has yet to take all necessary steps to create a court with authority to prosecute past crimes under internationally-recognized human rights and humanitarian law, and the National Human Rights Commission of Indonesia has limited authority to only investigate such violations; Whereas, in August, 2000, Indonesia's upper house of parliament passed a constitutional amendment prohibiting retroactivity in prosecutions; Whereas repeated assurances to the international community and to Congress by the Indonesian government of impending action against the perpetrators of crimes against humanity in East Timor have produced few noticeable or substantive results; and Whereas Congress is deeply disturbed that gross violations of the human rights of the people of East Timor and United Nations personnel rendering basic humanitarian services in East and West Timor have gone unpunished since January 1, 1999, and the perpetrators have not been brought to justice: Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That (a) Congress-- (1) deplores the widespread and systematic violence that-- (A) has occurred in East Timor and in the refugee camps of West Timor since January 1, 1999; and (B) has resulted in many murders, rapes, and the near-total destruction of East Timor's infrastructure and numerous villages on that troubled island; (2) decries the continued existence of an environment of intimidation, misinformation, instability, terror, and fear among the people living in the refugee camps housing tens of thousands of displaced people, many of whom wish to return to East Timor, but are too scared to freely repatriate and return safely to their home communities; (3) denounces the leaders of the militias and paramilitary groups who are responsible for the violent attacks, pillaging, and mayhem that has caused so much suffering and property destruction in East Timor as well as their accomplices in Indonesia inside and outside of that sovereign country's armed forces; and (4) continues to support the courageous efforts of those in Indonesia working toward domestic prosecutions of the individuals most responsible for the post-referendum violence, but recognizes that these efforts currently face overwhelming obstacles. (b) It is the sense of Congress that the President and the Secretary of State should-- (1) endorse and support the establishment of an international criminal tribunal for the purpose of prosecuting culpable Indonesian military and police officers and personnel, leaders of local militias and paramilitary organizations, and other individuals who are responsible for crimes against humanity in East Timor, including systematic murder, rape, and terrorism, the unlawful use of force, and crimes against United Nations personnel deployed in East Timor and in the refugee camps of West Timor; (2) direct the pertinent agencies of the executive branch-- (A) to begin collecting and organizing such information (including from intelligence sources), and to provide such appropriate resources, as will be necessary to assist in preparation of indictments and prosecution of cases before an international criminal tribunal; and (B) to undertake any additional inquiries and investigations that would further such efforts; and (3) work actively and urgently within the international community for the adoption of a United Nations Security Council resolution establishing an international criminal court for East Timor. Mr. HARKIN. Mr. President, I am joined today by Senators Feingold, Reed, Leahy, Kennedy, and Wellstone in introducing legislation calling for the establishment of an International War Crimes Tribunal for East Timor. We recently passed the first anniversary of the date when a Special United Nations of Commission of Inquiry into the Violence and Destruction in East Timor first recommended this course of action. As many of us know, back in 1999, after many years of military occupation, the people of East Timor were suddenly and brutally attacked immediately after they peacefully cast their overwhelming vote for national independence. At least 1,000 people were murdered and thousands more were injured. 500,000 people were displaced. And scores of communities and villages in East Timor were destroyed by roving bands of militias and paramilitary organizations. These militias and paramilitary organizations were trained and armed by Indonesian military officers and personnel along with the Indonesian civilian police. Around this time last year, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan urged us to give the Government of Indonesia time to find and punish these guilty individuals in Indonesia and to demonstrate their cooperation on related criminal investigations and prosecutions with authorities in East Timor and the United Nations Transition Authority in East Timor (UNTAET). But as I stand here today, not a single individual has been charged or brought to trial in Indonesia for the wave of violence, murder, rape, and terror inflicted on the people of East Timor in preparation for and the conduct of the 1999 referendum and its aftermath. A number of militia leaders were implicated in these heinous [[Page S1350]] crimes--but they have never been formally charged and brought to trial in Indonesia or East Timor. They continue to operate with impunity in West Timor and throughout Indonesia. This is unconscionable. We have shown nothing but patience, and they have simply done nothing. The time for sitting back and waiting is over, and we must now take decisive and concrete steps to ensure that justice is done. This legislation I am introducing today is carefully modeled after similar legislation that established the International War Crimes Tribunals for Iraq, the Balkans, and Rwanda. It consists of three parts: First, it calls upon the Bush Administration to endorse and support the establishment of an international criminal tribunal to prosecute all individuals who are responsible for egregious human rights abuses in East Timor. These abuses include crimes against humanity in East Timor, including systematic murder, rape, and terrorism, the unlawful use of force, and crimes against United Nations personnel deployed in East Timor and in the refugee camps of West Timor. Second, it calls upon the Bush Administration to direct pertinent U.S. Government agencies to begin collecting and organizing the necessary evidence and information needed to indict and prosecute these war criminals before an international tribunal. Finally, the legislation calls upon the Bush Administration to work actively and urgently within the international community to adopt a UN Security Council resolution establishing an international tribunal on East Timor. In the course of human events, Mr. President, wherever and whenever conflict has resulted in great bloodshed, human suffering, and destruction, there has been no real peace established without real justice. The people of East Timor deserve peace--and to establish peace, we must first seek justice. ____________________