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Press release: East Timorese resistance not responsible for latest murders in East Timor

Jose Ramos-Horta - October 6, 1997

Lisbon &150; Jose Ramos-Horta, 1996 Nobel Peace Prize co-laureate, emphatically denounced the recently reported murder, in East Timor, of one elementary school teacher, Jacinto da Trindade. His colleague, Jzlio Pereira, was seriously injured in the assault and was taken to the military hospital in Dili. Mr. Ramos-Horta firmly refuted the allegation that the East Timorese resistance is to be blamed for the attack. The only sources of the news, it must be noted, are the Indonesian military and the state controlled Antara news service.

Mr. Ramos-Horta believes that these murders were deliberate acts perpetrated by Indonesian security personnel with the intended purpose of discrediting the East Timorese resistance. In an interview to a Portuguese radio station, Mr. Ramos-Horta said:

"The resistance has never before been masked during attacks. And why attack a school?"

This is not the first instance of premeditated murder of East Timorese civilians by the Indonesian military to be attributed to the resistance. In the past, such barbaric acts have not been investigated as they might have been had the Indonesian authorities had a clean conscience.

On 26 June 1997, Josi Ramos-Horta appealed to the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for an independent investigation to be held on the capture and assassination of resistance leader David Alex. Apart from a letter of acknowledgment, no specific action is known to have been carried out by the appropriate UN bodies.

Once again, Mr. Ramos-Horta demands a prompt UN investigation to establish the responsibilities of the perpetrators of these crimes. He urges the United States and other nations with diplomatic representation in Jakarta to undertake their own investigation. To this date, Indonesia has refused to cooperate with the UN thematic rapporteurs who have repeatedly requested access to Indonesia and East Timor. Until the authorities in Jakarta agree to cooperate fully with the UN human rights bodies and the independent NGOs such as Amnesty International, any allegation by Indonesia attributing violent actions to the East Timorese resistance must be taken with due skepticism.

Mr. Ramos-Horta stated, as he has said in the past, that he will not hesitate to condemn the actions of the resistance if an independent international investigation finds it responsible for acts of premeditated violence against unarmed civilians be they East Timorese or Indonesian migrants. The Nobel Peace Prize co-laureate reiterated his appeal to the resistance in East Timor, the students and youths to refrain from engaging in any violence. They should exercise increased caution at this time when the Indonesian military intelligence is attempting to discredit the resistance.