Subject: Zackyís testimony deemed Ďmysticalí

Indonesian Observer 5th January 2000

Zackyís testimony deemed Ďmysticalí

JAKARTA (IO) ó Human rights activists have slammed the latest testimony made by Major General Zacky Anwar Makarim on the violence that destroyed about 70% of East Timorís infrastructure last year after the territory in August voted overwhelmingly to split from Indonesia.

Munir, a member of the Commission of Inquiry for Human Rights Abuses (KPP HAM) which yesterday questioned Zacky, said the generalís answers were "unclear" and "mystical".

Zacky, who served as the main security adviser to the Indonesian task force (P3TT) that prepared East Timor for the August 30 ballot, is accused of conspiring with other senior generals to unleash the murder and destruction that devastated the territory.

"It just didnít make any sense when he [Zacky] said he didnít know who he was responsible to during his service in East Timor," said Munir, who questioned Zacky with fellow KPP HAM members Nursyahbani Katjasungkana, Asmara Nababan, Todung Mulya Lubis and Albert Hasibuan.

Munir said Zacky was obviously trying to make excuses for the militaryís conduct in East Timor after the referendum.

Zackyís testimony was similar to those of other generals already questioned by KPP HAM. He denied the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) had created, commanded and armed the pro-Jakarta militias that went on the rampage in East Timor in September.

Witnesses and the foreign press have said itís clear that TNI used the militias to punish East Timor for choosing independence and to set an example to other provinces wishing to secede from Indonesia.

Zackyís strong denial of TNIís role in the violence was seen as a bit over the top, especially when he claimed that all guns used by the militias were from Portugal or slain Indonesian soldiers.

He said the violence occurred spontaneously because the pro-Jakarta militias were so upset when it was announced in early September that only 21.5% of voters had opted to remain part of Indonesia.

The general then accused pro-independence supporters of being equally responsible for the massive violence. He also said the UN-sanctioned international peacekeeping force (Interfet) allowed violence to occur.

"Both feuding parties committed the atrocities in East Timor after the ballot. Please note that after martial law administrator [Major General] Kiki Syahnakri left East Timor and there were no TNI troops left, pro-independence supporters torched an Indonesian bank in front of Interfet troops," he told reporters.

He firmly rejected reports that the widespread arson was systematic and carefully planned. Citing examples of atrocities and killings in Ambon, Madura and Kalimantan, he said it was just the typical Indonesian way of running amok.

"I donít want to talk about what they refer to as systematic, total devastation and arson in East Timor. But I will admit there was some arson there. Itís part of the pattern of people who run amok. They spill out their uncontrollable emotions by torching anything they consider precious, in order to satisfy their violent rage."

Zacky, who ended his service as security advisor to P3TT immediately after the ballot, admitted he had predicted there would be violence after the announcement of the result. "I knew there would be a big brawl which would led to riots, but I didnít expect them to be that big."

Asked about the many weapons and ammunition possessed by the militias, which he preferred to call Pam Swakarsa (civilian guards), he said their guns were left behind when Portugal abandoned East Timor in 1975.

"The Portuguese left 27,000 guns when they fled from East Timor. That arsenal was then used by both feuding parties. There were also guns from TNI which had been taken from TNI troops who were killed there."

Zacky insisted that pro-independence supporters had been assisted by a foreign country. However, he refused to name the country. "They had a more sophisticated communications system than TNI. They also had logistics supplies dropped by helicopters from that country."

Zacky said that to counter the "foreign assistance" TNI had arranged a contingency plan within the Udayana Regional Military Command.

However, he refused to reveal any details of the plan. "Thatís the business of TNI headquarters."

Munir expressed doubt over Zackyís comment that pro-independence forces had received weapons from abroad.

"KPP HAM asked him whether he had reported this information to the government. He said he had. Then we again asked whether the government had filed an official protest [against this country]. He said not yet, because the government faces international pressure."

Munir said Zacky had admitted the guns from the pro-Jakarta militias were kept in local military headquarters. "So the militias could pick them up any time they needed them."

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