Asian nations reject Timor war crimes trial

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The Independent Online
THE ASIAN members of the special UN Commission on Human Rights have rejected calls for a war crimes tribunal for East Timor, arguing that its establishment could further destabilise the region.

The 11 Asian members of the 53-member forum - including China, Japan and India - also challenged the validity of the special session of the human rights body, which was convened in Geneva at the request of Portugal, the former colonial power in East Timor.

Sri Lanka's delegate said the decision to hold the session "discounted the unanimous view of an entire region" and that the UN "should contribute to the stability of the situation and not exacerbate instability".

Indonesia's delegate also challenged the legality of holding the session, claiming it "lacked impartiality".

The forum was due to vote overnight on an EU resolution calling on the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, to go ahead with an inquiry to establish responsibility for atrocities in East Timor.