17 July is commemorated as the World Day for International Justice, where the international community emphasizes the importance of continuing the struggle to provide justice for victims of human rights violations and against impunity. This commemoration is a reminder of the historic events on 17th July 1998, which was the day Rome Statute was adopted, which later became the basis for the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC). AJAR hosted an online discussion event on instagram to share about the current situation regarding the Indonesia-Timor Leste Truth & Friendship Commission, 13 years after its establishment. The speakers of this event were Jose Luis de Oliveira (Director of AJAR Timor-Leste) and Bedjo Untung (Activist, 1965 Murder Victims Research Foundation (YPKP 65)).
When there was violence by TNI/Polri officers during the Timor-Leste ballot, the Indonesian and Timor-Leste governments formed the Commission of Truth and Friendship (CTF) to “seek the conclusive truth” about the war crimes that happened in 1999. On 15th July 2008, the CTF submitted its report to the two governments with contains several recommendations, but until now, 13 years after the submission of the Indonesia – Timor-Leste Commission of Truth and Friendship (CTF) report, these recommendations are still being ignored by the governments of both countries, resulting in the non-fulfillment of the victims’ rights to an effective remedy.
There have been efforts to bring these issues to the international judicial system, to bring the perpetrators of human rights violations to justice. However, experts have concluded that this judicial process has not been running fairly for the perpetrators. This is one of the reasons why it’s crucial to maintain the CTF between Indonesia and Timor-Leste in an effort to ensure justice and accountability.
This session also discusses several issues arising from the past conflict between Indonesia and Timor-Leste that need to be addressed with bilateral diplomatic relations, including the human rights violations that occurred during those times of conflict. Challenges being faced to maintain this bilateral commission are also discussed. One of the biggest challenges faced by the CTF is that the recommendations made to address human rights violations from the conflict have not been implemented by both the governments of Indonesia and TImor-Leste.
Watch the full online discussion session here