Subject: KPP HAM questions ex-Timor police chief

Indonesian Observer January 13, 2000

KPP HAM questions ex-Timor police chief

JAKARTA (IO) — Contradicting previous explanations from ex-East Timor’s Martial Law administrator Major General Kiki Syahnakri, former East Timor regional police chief Brigadier General Timbul Silaen admitted yesterday that he knew the ballot result announcement would have to be accelerated.

Speaking to a press conference after being questioned yet again by the Commission of Inquiry into Human Rights Abuses in East Timor (KPP HAM), former East Timor Police chief Brigadier General Timbul Silaen disclosed that he realized the ballot committee had finished counting the voting papers of the UN sponsored plebiscite in East Timor after midnight on September 3.

But, the UN and other organizing parties had decided to make the announcement on September 7 last year.

Aware that the counting was done earlier, he urged all parties who organised the plebiscite to announce the result quickly to avoid any leaks.

"We knew that the vote counting had finished sometime after midnight in September 3rd. We knew also that there was a ‘losing’ party and a ‘winning’ one, and if the result were leaked it would be very dangerous," Silaen said at a press conference.

He recalled that in one of the ballot organisers regular meetings he urged them to accelerate the ballot result announcement, instead of waiting till September 7 to avoid the result’s being leaked as it would endanger the people’s security.

"Later it was shown that New York [UN-United Nations] had decided that the result announcement would be brought forward, and it was broadcast by CNN and other news agencies," he remembered.

Silaen, who was accompanied by lawyers from the TNI advocacy team and a TNI headquarters Law Reform Body officer during the human rights investigation, was questioned by KPP HAM members HS Dillon, Munir and Zoemrotin.

He was fulfilling KPP HAM’s second summons to explain his previous explanation about the police link with the militia, which contradicted the TNI explanation.

At a press conference after being questioned by KPP HAM, former Wiradarma military command Brigadier General Tono Suratman said that it was the police who trained the notorious militia forces, whom he dubbed as Pam Swakarsa (civilian guards).

This stance was denied by Silaen when reporters asked his confirmation after his first questioning session.

"We didn’t train the Pam Swakarsa in East Timor. We only trained Kamra [civilians who assist the police in their duties],"said Silaen.

The former police chief added that the police also gave the Kamra’s a salary of as much as 200,000 rupiah each per month.

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