February 16, 2008
RECENT EVENTS in East Timor are disturbing. The people of the country have experienced far too much violence through the years, and the international community has an important role to play in supporting East Timor’s reconstruction and security.
However, quick amnesties for lawbreakers will not bring peace to the East Timorese (“East Timor’s enduring tragedy,” Editorial, Feb. 12). The failure to hold accountable those responsible for many recent and past crimes in East Timor has encouraged lawlessness and despair.
The renegade major Alfredo Reinado, who died in his attack on East Timor’s president, had been indicted for murder in 2006. He should have been brought to justice long ago.
Reinado’s and others’ sense of impunity no doubt was encouraged by the failure of the international community, including the United States, to work to hold accountable the Indonesian generals and leaders who committed brutal crimes against humanity in East Timor between 1975 and 1999, during Indonesia’s occupation.
Indonesia’s former dictator, Suharto, may have died without facing trial, but it is not too late to bring to justice those who aided and abetted his murderous reign. An end to their impunity would contribute greatly to East Timor’s (and Indonesia’s) sense of security.
JOHN M. MILLER
East Timor and Indonesia Action Network
THANK YOU for your editorial on East Timor. President Jose Ramos-Horta has demonstrated an enduring dedication to the democratic process and to the goal of reconciliation in that severely war-torn country. I can only hope that the concern of people both within East Timor and in other countries will help reinforce the strengths of that land and lead to a peaceful future.