Participants in Conference call for Establishment of International Tribunal
Participants in JSMP's Conference, Justice for Timor Leste: Civil Society Strategic Planning for the Future of Serious
Crimes, agreed that the most important mechanism of justice for past international crimes in Timor Leste is an
Over 200 people participated in the Conference on 23 24 September. Participants included victims and their families from
the districts, members of government, members of Parliament, jurists from the Special Panels for Serious Crimes and
district courts, members of the diplomatic community and UN agencies.
The Conference was addressed by SRSG Hasegawa, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Olimpio Branco, the US
Ambassador Grover Rees, the Chair of the CAVR Aniceto Guterres, the President's Chief of Staff Agio Pereira, judges from
the Special Panels for Serious Crimes and NGOs and academics.
Participants particularly welcomed the SRSG's statement that "prosecuting Generals who had committed serious crimes
should not be allowed to let go simply because of the fear of jeopardizing the relationship of countries in which they
After the formal presentations the participants split into workshop groups to discuss the options for the future of
serious crimes. Participants agreed on the following statement:
Participants agreed that the most important mechanism of justice for past international crimes in Timor Leste is an
International Tribunal. This was agreed to by all of the groups discussing the various issues at the conference. It was
agreed that any other options are only supported in the knowledge that an International Tribunal will be strived for and
that these other options are complementary to the establishment of an International Tribunal.
The cost of an International Tribunal was acknowledged by the participants in the Conference, but these costs are seen
as secondary to the overwhelming need for formal justice in a credible international institution. It is hoped that this
process is not an issue of contention for governments of Timor Leste and Indonesia. But is a process that is undertaken
by the international community and therefore allows governments to continue building their strong relationship and also
allows for both countries to follow and demonstrate the need for adherence to the rule of law and to stop impunity for
The need for, and imminent arrival of, a Commission of Experts was supported unanimously. It was agreed that the
Commission of Experts is encouraged to come and assess the situations of the Special Panels for Serious Crimes and Ad
Hoc Panels in Jakarta but must have within its frame of reference the International Tribunal. The conference welcomed
the support from the President's office and the Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation for this
Commission to assess the situation of Serious Crimes in Timor Leste and the participants of the conference welcome
providing information to the Commission of Experts.
As a complementary process to the International Tribunal, the process of the Special Panels for Serious Crimes should
continue and possible consideration should be given to the options of the Special Panels for Serious Crimes continuing
with the strength of international actors, and preferably through a UN process. Consideration must be given urgently to
cases in which investigations have not been completed or trials that will not be completed by May 2005, to ensure the
continued stability of the justice process in Timor Leste. Again, this process would not prejudice an International
Tribunal and all possible efforts, international and bi-lateral agreements, should be made to try those currently
indicted and residing outside of East Timor.
Participants thought that more information about the International Truth Commission is required before a possible
assessment of this option can be made. Some participants did not agree with this option because they did not think it
was necessary. The establishment of such an International Truth Commission as a quasi or non-judicial body was also
considered as possibly unconstitutional.
The possibility of continuing the CAVR process was widely supported but expanding the CAVR mandate to include more
serious crimes was not supported.
Civil Society, and particularly the families of victims, welcome the opportunity to discuss the above options with the
Commission of Experts and the government of Timor Leste. It was proposed at the conference that a National Dialogue be
held to discuss the issue of Serious Crimes in Timor Leste.
It was decided that the papers from the Conference, and the individual comments as recorded will be made available to
the Commission of Experts when formed. The Conference declaration will be sent to the governments of Timor Leste,
Indonesia, the UN, CAVR, and speakers at the conference.