[TimorLesteStudies] New Publication : Report on the Commission of
Truth and Friendship
Bu.Wilson at anu.edu.au
Tue Jan 29 12:08:30 EST 2008
In February the Timor-Leste and Indonesian Commission of Truth and
Friendship (CTF) is expected to launch its final report. Since its
establishment in 2004, the CTF has been fraught with controversy.
International and domestic human rights advocates have criticized the
initiative as a means to delay or avoid implementing effective
criminal-justice mechanisms for crimes committed in East Timor in 1999.
I am pleased to announce the publication of "Too Much Friendship, Too Little
Truth: Monitoring Report on the Commission of Truth and Friendship in
Indonesia and Timor-Leste" <http://www.ictj.org/images/content/7/7/772.pdf>
, a ground-breaking report by the ICTJ's program in Indonesia and
Timor-Leste. It carefully examines the creation of the CTF, its constitutive
instruments, and its flawed public hearing process.
The report reveals:
* The CTF was created not with truth-telling and interpersonal
reconciliation in mind, but as a means to ignore calls for international
criminal justice already made by the UN and the international community.
* The process for creating the Commission was insufficiently
transparent and consultative, resulting in a body that has failed to reflect
international best practices and the views of Timorese victims and
* The CTF's Terms of Reference are fundamentally flawed, and
included a mechanism for recommendations of amnesty while prohibiting
recommendations for new judicial processes;
* The Commission's public hearings failed as a truth-telling
activity. Most took place in Indonesia and gave accused perpetrators of
serious crimes in Timor-Leste opportunities to provide self-serving accounts
that charged the UN with responsibility for the mass violations and promoted
factually incorrect versions of events. The UN Secretary General made a
decision not to cooperate with the Commission due to its flawed mandate, so
UN personnel were not able to respond to the serious allegations made
against themselves and the organization in the public hearings.
The Commission's final report will be the final opportunity for the
Commission to achieve some level of international credibility, which has
been seriously compromised. This can only be achieved if the report places
the principles of truth and justice ahead of the political factors which
have marred the process to date.
I hope that you find this paper of interest. We would welcome any comments
you may have on it.
Juan E. Méndez
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