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Reflections on the 20th Anniversary of the Santa Cruz Demonstration
Reflesaun kona-ba Aniversáriu Manifestasaun Santa Cruz ba dala 20

By Charles Scheiner, ETAN & La’o Hamutuk

For the Klibur Universitáriu Progresivu (KUP) at Dili University, 11 November 2011

Thank you, Maun Atino, and I appreciate the wisdom and history we just heard from two Antonios. I am grateful to the Klibur Universade Progresivu (KUP) for organizing this important event, and for inviting me to participate.

Tonight, I’m honored to be with so many young Timorese people who believe in justice and independence. Twenty years ago, brave people just like you peacefully demonstrated against the Indonesian occupation of your country. Nobody paid them, or ordered them, or told them it would be safe or easy.

The Santa Cruz protesters inspired people around the world, including me. I was in New York, and I heard about the massacre on community radio. Although I already knew about Indonesia’s illegal occupation here, and about the criminal support my Government was giving to it, I hadn’t done much to stop it.

A month after the Santa Cruz massacre, I and some other friends organized a peaceful protest at the Indonesian Mission to the UN. We didn’t risk being shot or tortured, but we knew we had to speak out in solidarity with the heroes of Santa Cruz who risked and lost their lives in the struggle for self-determination. It was much easier for us than it was for your parents – but it was also hard, because so many other Americans didn’t know or care that our Government was complicit with Indonesia in committing crimes against humanity in Timor-Leste.

Our demonstration grew into a movement – the East Timor Action Network (ETAN) – that had more than 15,000 members and 25 chapters all across the United States by 1999. Through public education, lobbying, demonstrations, outreach, coalition-building and every other kind of nonviolent action we could think of, we turned U.S. policy around. Washington had provided most of the weapons and training for the Indonesian military from 1975 until 1991, but pressure from American citizens cut it off. By 1998, the United States Government had abandoned Suharto and was supporting self-determination – helping to open a door for the people of Timor-Leste to finally end Indonesia’s occupation.

It’s 12 years later now, 20 years after the Santa Cruz massacre and the founding of the East Timor Action Network. RDTL has been independent for nine years. You have your own government, your own leaders, your own political debates, your own successes… and your own mistakes. I feel privileged to live here during this period, traveling that journey with you. Building a peaceful, democratic nation, with economic and social justice for its entire population, may be even harder than throwing out the Indonesian army and police.

We are still far from some of our goals. In particular, the foreigners responsible for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed against the Timorese people have not been held accountable.

These were international crimes – the Indonesian invasion of Portuguese Timor (RDTL after 28 November 1975, but Indonesian aggression started before that) violated international law, as did the thousands of massacres, tortures, rapes, killings and other crimes that were part of the occupation. When people are ordered or paid by one government to commit crimes against people in another country, those are international crimes. When other governments, including my own, give political, military, diplomatic or financial support to these crimes, they also become criminals.

As a U.S. citizen (I am not yet a Timorese citizen, but hope to become one), I have to apologize to the people of Timor-Leste because I and my fellow citizens took so long to stop our Government from supporting crimes against you, while tens of thousands of Timorese people were killed. As a human being, I join the Timorese people – including survivors and victims’ families – in calling for an end to impunity for crimes against humanity.

A hero of my country – ex-slave Frederick Douglass – once said that “Power never concedes anything without a demand.” If we want justice, we have to demand it – it will not come by itself.

As you know, there was progress a few years ago. Between 1999 and 2005, Commissions of Inquiry established by the United Nations, Indonesia and Timor-Leste recognized the international nature of the huge crimes committed here and called for the prosecution of those who perpetrated them. During UNTAET, the UN Serious Crimes Unit indicted nearly 400 people for crimes committed during 1999, bringing 87 to trial and convicting 84. But everyone brought to trial was Timorese, and none of them are still in prison. None of the people who murdered Santa Cruz protesters twenty years ago were Timorese.

A larger problem is the 300 people indicted by the SCU who have never been arrested because Indonesia is sheltering them. And even more fundamental, no action has been taken against those who directed and executed the 99% of occupation-related crimes committed during its first 23 years. Those perpetrators were carrying out criminal policies of the Suharto dictatorship, and most of them were soldiers following orders from Jakarta, shooting guns made in the United States, flying bombers from Britain or the U.S., getting political support from Australia or Malaysia or France.

The United Nations says there must never be impunity for Crimes Against Humanity. In 2002, nations from all over the world established the International Criminal Court to try such crimes when national processes are unwilling or unable to – but unfortunately it has no power to judge crimes committed before the court was set up. In 2005, this global consensus was reflected by a UN Commission of Experts, who concluded that an international tribunal should be created if judicial processes in Indonesia and Timor-Leste fail to achieve justice for crimes committed during Indonesia’s occupation of Timor-Leste. But today, the UN runs away – they and the other responsible governments and agencies say that Timor-Leste’s Government has the responsibility but not the will to end impunity.

For some of us – Timorese and foreigners – the struggle is not over. We draw courage from people like Argentinian justice activist Patricia Isasa, who visited here last month. She campaigned for 33 years before her torturers and kidnappers were finally sent to prison.

Here, our justice campaign is only 12 years old. Although the UN, other Governments, and some Timorese politicians prioritize diplomatic relations with formerly hostile nearby Governments over justice, and although some say economic development is more important than accountability, there is no need to choose.

Relations between democratic states can go well even while criminals are brought to justice. People’s economic lives – including victims of past crimes -- can improve at the same time that masterminds of those crimes are brought to court. There is no need to choose among economic, social and criminal justice.

We, citizens of countries from around the world who support Timor-Leste’s people, will continue to demand that our governments and the United Nations keep their promises that impunity can never be accepted.

Today, ETAN issued a press release calling “for the U.S. and other governments and the United Nations to commit to justice for the victims and their families. The 1991 massacre was a major turning point in Timor-Leste’s struggle for liberation. When we saw and heard about the Indonesian military shooting down hundreds of peaceful, unarmed student protesters, we knew we had to do something to stop the killing. The Santa Cruz massacre inspired many around the world to work for justice for the East Timorese people.”

Earlier this week former General Taur Matan Ruak said “Justisa sei iha” (there will be justice). President Jose Ramos-Horta hopes that a courageous, young Indonesian prosecutor may bring high-level criminals to court five or ten years from now.

But it will never happen if we don’t continue to demand it. People in Timor-Leste, together with our friends in Indonesia, the United States and around the world, should see today’s anniversary as an opportunity – and a challenge – to renew our commitment to struggle for justice. Since neither the Indonesian nor Timor-Leste governments are yet ready to end impunity, it is up to us.

Obrigado. A luta continua!

Obrigadu KUP no maun Atino, no ha’u apresia matenek no istória ita foin rona hosi Antonio na’in rua. Ha’u agradese tomak ba Klibur Universitáriu Progresivu ba organiza eventu importante ida ne’e, no ba konvida ha’u mai partisipa.

Kalan ne’e, ha’u hetan onra hodi mai hamutuk ho foin sa’e Timoroan barak loos ne’ebé fiar iha justisa no ukun rasik-an. Tinan rua-nulu liu ba, ema sira ne’ebé brani hanesan imi ho dame halo manifestasaun hasoru okupasaun Indonézia nian ba ita boot sira nia nasaun. La iha ema ida selu sira, ka haruka sira, ka dehan ba sira ida ne’e sei seguru ka fásil.

Ema sira ne’ebé halo protestu iha Santa Cruz nian inspira ema iha mundu tomak, inklui ha’u. Ha’u iha Nova Iorke, no ha’u rona kona-ba masakre ne’e iha radiu komunidade nian. Maske ha’u hatene tiha ona kona-ba okupasaun ilegál Indonézia nian iha ne’e, no kona-ba apoiu kriminál ne’ebé ha’u nia governu fó ba, ha’u seidauk halo barak hodi hapara ida ne’e.

Liu tiha fulan ida masakre Santa Cruz nian, ha’u no maluk sira seluk organiza protestu pasífiku ida iha Misaun Indonézia nian ba Nasoins Unidas. Ami la risku hetan tiru ka tortura, maibé ami hatene katak ami tenke ko’alia sai ho solidariedade ho eroi sira Santa Cruz nian ne’ebé risku no lakon sira nia moris iha luta ba ukun rasik-an. Ida ne’e fásil liu mai ami duke ba imi nia inan-aman sira – maibé ida ne’e mós susar, tanba Amerikanu barak loos mak la hatene ka preokupa katak ami nia governu halo komplisitu ho Indonézia iha komete krime hasoru umanidade iha Timor-Leste.

Ami nia manifestasaun buras sai movimentu ida – the East Timor Action Network (ETAN) – ne’ebé iha membru liu hosi 15,000 no nia sanak (grupu ki’ik tan) 25 iha Estadu Unidus laran tomak iha 1999. Liuhosi edukasaun públiku, lóbi, manifestasaun, habelar informasaun, harii koligasaun no kada tipu seluk hosi asaun pasífika ami bele hanoin, ami dulas polítika E.U. nian ba mai. Washington mak fornese liu kilat sira no treinamentu ba militár Indonézia nian hosi 1975 to’o 1991, maibé presaun hosi sidadaun Amerikanu sira nian ko’a tiha ida ne’e. Hahú hosi 1998, Governu Estadus Unidus husik tiha Suharto no apoiu ukun rasik-an – ajuda ne’e loke odamatan ida ba ema Timor-Leste hodi ikus liu hakotu okupasaun Indonézia nian ne’e.

Agora tinan 12 ona, tinan 20 depois masakre Santa Cruz no harii East Timor Action Network. RDTL independente durante tinan sia ona. Ia boot sira iha ona ita boot sira nia governu rasik, imi nia líder sira rasik, ita boot sira nia debate polítika rasik, ita boot sira nia susesu rasik…no ita boot sira nia sala rasik. Harii nasaun ida ne’ebé nakonu ho dame, demokrátiku, ho justisa ekonómiku no sosiál ba ninia populasaun tomak, bele sai susar liu duke hasai militár no polisia Indonézia nian.

Ita sei dook hosi ita nia objetivu balun. Partikulár liu, responsabilidade ema li’ur sira nian ba krime hasoru umanidade no krime funu ne’ebé halo hasoru Timoroan seidauk simu akontabilidade.

Sira ne’e krime internasionál – invazaun Indonézia nian ba Portugés Timor (RDTL depois 28 Novembru 1975, maibé agresaun Indonézia nia hahú molok ida ne’e) viola lei internasionál, hanesan halo masakre, tortura, violasaun seksuál, oho ema rihun ba rihun no krime sira seluk ne’ebé parte hosi okupasaun. Bainhira ema sira simu orden ka selu hosi governu ida hodi komete krime hasoru ema seluk iha nasaun seluk, sira ne’e krime internasionál. Bainhira governu sira seluk, inklui ha’u nian, fó apoiu polítika, militár, diplomátika ka finanseiru ba krime sira ne’e, sira mós sai nu’udar kriminozu.

Hanesan sidadaun E.U nian ida (Ha’u seidauk sidadaun Timoroan ida, maibé espera atu bele hetan ida), ha’u tenke husu deskulpa ba ema Timor-Leste tanba ha’u no ha’u nia maluk sidadaun sira seluk foti tempu naruk hodi hapara ami nia governu hodi apoiu krime hasoru imi, bainhira ema Timoroan rihun sanulu balun mate. Hanesan ema ida, ha’u hamutuk ho ema Timoroan sira – inklui sobrevivente no família vítima sira – hodi luta ba hakotu impunidade ba krime hasoru umanidade.

Eroi ida hosi ha’u nia nasaun – Eis-eskravu Frederick Douglass – dala ida hateten katak “Podér nunka fó buat ruma la ho ezijénsia”. Bainhira ita hakarak justisa, ita tenke ezije – nia sei la mai rasik.

Hanesan ita boot sira hatene, iha progresu tinan balun liu ba. Entre 1999 no 2005, Komisaun Inkéritu ne’ebé estabelese hosi Nasoins Unidas, Indonézia no Timor-Leste rekońese natureza internasionál krime boot sira ne’ebé komete iha ne’e no husu prosekusaun ba sira ne’ebé perpetra sira. Durante UNTAET, Unidade Krime Sériu ONU nian (SCU) halo akuzasaun formál ba ema besik 400 ba krime sira ne’ebé komete durante 1999, lori ema na’in 87 ba tribunál no kondena ema na’in 84. Maibé ema sira ne’ebé lori ba tribunál ne’e mesak Timoroan de’it, no la iha ida hosi sira oras ne’e iha prizaun. Ema sira ne’ebé oho ema sira ne’ebé oho manifestante sira iha Santa Cruz tinan rua-nulu liu ba la iha ida mak Timoroan.

Problema boot liu ida mak ema 300 ne’ebé hetan akuzasaun formál hosi SCU nunka hetan kapturasaun tanba Indonézia proteje hela sira. No sei fundamentál liu, la iha asaun ne’ebé foti hasoru sira ne’ebé dirije no ezekuta 99% krime sira ne’ebé kait ho okupasaun ne’ebé komete durante tinan 23 dahuluk. Perpetradór sira ne’e halo tuir polítika kriminál ditadura Suharto nian, no sira barak liu mak soldadu ne’ebé halo tuir de’it orden hosi Jakarta, tiru kartus halo iha Estadus Unidus, hatun bomba hosi Inglatera ka Estadus Unidus, hetan apoiu polítiku hosi Australia ka Malazia ka Fransa.

Nasoins Unidas dehan nunka bele iha impunidade ba krime hasoru umanidade. Iha tinan 2002, nasaun sira hosi mundu tomak estabelese Tribunál Kriminál Internasionál hodi julga krime sira ne’e bainhira prosesu nasionál sira la iha vontade ka la bele halo-maibé ho laran susar tebes, nia la iha kbiit hodi julga krime sira ne’ebé komete molok ninia harii. Iha 2005, konsensu globál ida ne’e refleta hosi Komisaun Peritu ida hosi ONU ne’ebé konklui katak tribunál internasionál ida tenke harii bainhira prosesu judisiál iha Indonézia no Timor-Leste la konsege hetan justisa ba krime sira komete durante okupasaun Indonézia nian ba Timor-Leste. Maibé ohin loron, ONU halai ses – sira no governu responsavel sira seluk no ajénsia sira hateten katak governu Timor-Leste mak iha responsabilidade maibé la’ós vontade hodi hakotu impunidade.

Ba ita sira balun – Timoroan no estranjeiru sira – luta seidauk hotu. Ita foti aten brani (korajen) hosi ema sira hanesan ativista justisa hosi Arjentina, Patricia Isasa, ne’ebé mai vizita iha ne’e fulan kotuk. Nia kampańia durante tinan 33 molok ninia ema sira ne’ebé halo tortura no kaer na’ok nia ikus mai hatama ba prizaun.

Iha ne’e, ita nia kampańia justisa foin mak tinan 12. Maske ONU, governu sira seluk no ema polítiku Timoroan sira balun fó prioridade ba relasaun diplomátika ho governu vizińu uluk ostil liu fali justisa, no maske sira balun dehan dezenvolvimentu ekonómiku importante liu duke akontabilidade, la nesesáriu atu hili.

Relasaun entre estadu demokrátiku sira bele la’o di’ak maske kriminozu sira lori ba hasoru justisa. Ema sira ninia vida ekonómika -- inklui vítima sira krime pasadu nian -- bele hadi’a iha tempu hanesan bainhira ema sira ne’ebé sai kakutak ba krime sira ne’e lori ba tribunál. La presiza atu hili entre justisa ekonomiku, sosiál ka kriminál.

Ami, sidadaun hosi nasaun sira iha mundu tomak ne’ebé apoiu povu Timor-Leste, sei kontinua ezije katak ami nia governu sira no Nasoins Unidas kaer metin nafatin sira nia promesa katak impunidade nunka bele simu.

Ohin, ETAN hasai komunikadu emprensa ida hodi husu ba “E.U. no governu sira seluk no Nasoins Unidas hodi kompromete ho justisa ba vítima sira no sira nia família. Masakre tinan 1991 sai nu’udar pontu mudansa boot ida ba Timor-Leste nia luta ba libertasaun. Bainhira ami haree no rona kona-ba militár Indonézia tiru mate estudante manifestante pasífika no liman tanan sira, ami hatene katak ami tenke halo buat ruma hodi hapara oho ne’e. Masakre Santa Cruz inspira ema barak iha mundu hodi servisu ba justisa ba povu Timor-Leste”.

Molok semana ida ne’e eis Jeneral Taur Matan Ruak hateten “Justisa sei iha”. Prezidente Jose Ramos-Horta hein katak prokuradór foin sa’e brani ida hosi Indonézia bele lori kriminozu nível aas sira ba tribunál iha tinan lima ka sanulu tuir mai.

Maibé ida ne’e nunka mosu bainhira ita la kontinua ezije ba ida ne’e. Ema iha Timor-Leste, hamutuk ho ita nia maluk sira hosi Indonézia, Estadus Unidus no haleu mundu tomak, tenke haree aniversáriu ida ohin nian hanesan oportunidade ida – no dezafiu ida – hodi hafoun fali ida nia kompromisu luta ba justisa. Bainhira la iha ida hosi governu Indonézia ka Timor-Leste prontu atu hakotu impunidade, ida ne’e depende ba ita rasik.

Obrigadu. A luta kontinua!

The Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis (La’o Hamutuk)
Institutu Timor-Leste ba Analiza no Monitor ba Dezenvolvimentu
Rua dos Martires da Patria, Bebora, Dili, Timor-Leste
P.O. Box 340, Dili, Timor-Leste
Tel: +670-3321040 or +670-77234330
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