FP: What plans are in place for post-conflict justice for the crimes committed during the Indonesian occupation and around the 1999 referendum?

President Jose Ramos-Horta: My personal preference is to adopt a law that simply puts an end to the tragic chapters of the past. Let bygones be bygones. Let us not forget the victims and heroes, but let us forgive those who did harm, because God gave us a greater gift: our independence.

Let's forget about an international tribunal — it will never happen.


I remain 100 percent confident in Xanana Gusmão. He was right in assigning contracts to 15 Timorese companies, and his daughter happened to be a minor member of one company. Should he have said that this company cannot take part just because of that? I don't know the details of how this was done. But I can guarantee that Xanana Gusmão is the most decent, most caring person you will find in this country.

She has an 11% share in Prima Food, the same as the other shareholders.

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4 thoughts on “Forgiveness

  1. 1) How in the world will Timor-Leste going to *force* Indonesia into getting their hands on those Suharto-cronies and thugs if the present Indonesian government can't even lift a finger on them (e.g. the release of "Tommy" Suharto despite hard evidence of his 'bloodied hands' in the execution of a high-ranking judge who convicted him). Moreover, with the West presently going a 'ga-ga' with Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as their recent democratic 'trophy' boy, the chances quickly drop to zilcho!

    2) As for Gusmao & his family, to victor(s) goes the spoils!

  2. 2+) She's still in the minor leagues. Who knows maybe someday their descendants (with a little help of another energy crisis) could make it into Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, the Carlyle Group, etc. ;-)

  3. Although it may take a long time, there is a good chance perpetrators of human rights violations in Timor-Leste will be brought to justice at some point, especially given the way international law is developing.

    Despite what JRH says, the people here are still calling out for justice and the international community is slowly getting its act together.

  4. "Long time" in Asia usually means another posthumous conviction with the descendents & their supporters given blanket immunity & forking over neglible monetary compensation. Possibly, Tommy & his siblings may even 'beautify' their father for the material progress in holding the state together from 'Communism', etc. (aka Tojo's granddaughter). Even Pinochet & his family had it harder …

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