Subject: GATRA: Kupang District Court Awaits Eurico

GATRA GATRA, VI/49 October 21, 2000

Kupang District Court Awaits

Eurico Guterres is in a sorry pickle. A case is waiting for him in Kupang, his place of refuge since last year. The High Court of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) had instructed Kupang District Court for a retrial of Eurico Guterres in the case of illegal firearms possession.

In this case of illegal firearms possession, Guterres had already been brought to trial last June and July. However, the council of judges of Kupang District Attorney in a verdict on July 26, 2000, had instructed termination of the case and freed Guterres. The reason, the attorney from the prosecuting office of Kupang had failed to clarify the identity of the suspect.

The prosecuting attorney appealed to the higher court for the decision. Eventually, on October 4, 2000, with the arrest of Guterres in Jakarta, the High Court of NTT accepted the appeal made by the prosecuting attorney and ordered for a retrial of the case. Copy of the decision was received by Kupang District Court on Monday last week. "No problem for us to conduct a retrial of Guterres," said Melkianus Kadju, the presiding Council of Judges of Kupang District Court.

On the other hand, Melkianus acknowledged that he still feels traumatic with the tension created by the previous trial process. It was a scary situation for the council of judges in the first trial held on June 28. The courtroom was crowded by Guterres men. These followers of Aitarak Militia Chief also filled the court yard and out to the street. "The tension ran high," said Melkianus.

That was the time when Aurico Guterres who was not detained came to attend his trial escorted by many of his men. From Guterres house on Jalan Wolter Monginsidi, Kupang, the former members of the militias rallied around the city using vehicles. Similar rally resumed when the meeting is adjourned. They escorted their commander to his dwelling place.

Eurico Guterres also appeared in his flamboyant clothing. During the four sessions of his trial, twice Guterres appeared wearing ordinary dress and twice also he wear the Pro-Integration Fighters (PPI) military dress complete with its attributes. It was these changing appearance which was questioned by the judges. "Is Guterres a civilian or a military personnel?" asked the council of judges. The then prosecuting attorney, Mohammad Zein Idris Ali, was unable to give a satisfactory answer

Based on the "uncertain" identity of suspect, the council of judges decided that Guterres was freed from all charges on July 26, 2000. And sure enough, this decision was greatly welcomed by Guterres men. Again they conducted a parade throughout Kupang. Although the prosecuting attorney proposed for a verzet (resistance), the case of Eurico Guterres was buried for sometime.

It was because of the experience of the first trial that prompted Melkianus to request the Supreme Court that the trial of Guterres should be carried out outside Kupang. "In Jakarta or other place," he said. "The request was solely for security measure. Not because the judges here as incapable," Melkianus added. The reasoning seemed not particularly acceptable to the NTT Police Chief, Brigadier General I Made Mangku Pastika. "We are ready to secure the trial," he firmly said.

That security guarantee couldn't really reassured Melkianus, because three senior judges at the High Court of NTT who presided over Guterres case recently were continually being terrorized. "They threatened to kill us, they will burn our house or attack with grenade," said Damianus Nau Dasnan, one of the council of judges. Because of the constant threats by these unknown people, Damianus was forced to evacuate his family out of Kupang.

I Made Suarjana and Antonius Un Taolin


UNTAET wanted to bring Eurico Guterres to trial in East Timor. The government of Indonesia refused to send him to Dili.

Dozens of youths wearing militia dress, a combination of black oblong shirt with military fatigue trousers, red and white headbands approached the Indonesian Police Headquarters (Mabes Polri) on Jalan Trunojoyo, Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta, on Monday last week. They came with their demand that Mabes Polri detainee, Eurico Guterres, be released.

The demand, certainly was not fulfilled. Somehow, they refused to back off. They demanded to see the former Commander of Aitarak Militia and they were showing defiance. The Indonesian Police Detective Chief, Inspector General Engkesman R. Hillep, who met them was willing to declare a truce.

Then Guterres was picked up from his cell. And when their boss appeared, they broke into crying and sobbing. One by one they hugged the former militia leader. "I am crying not because I am afraid. I feel sad because Indonesia as a big country has a small heart," Guterres told his fans. He teasingly said that his arrest reflected the inability of Indonesia to face up the international community pressure.

After the meeting and adequate outpouring of their feelings, the youths dispersed themselves and the former Deputy Commander Pro-Integration Militia returned to his cell. However, the case is not yet over. Guterres sued the police for a pretrial. In the meantime, he was facing a demand by UNTAET, UN temporary administration in East Timor, for his extradition to Dili for trial. Last March, he was arrested by the police for possession of illegal firearms in Kupang. His trial will be carried out in the near future (see: Kupang District Court Awaits).

Through his lawyer, Suhardi Sumomoelyono, Guterres charged the police for arresting him without warrant. "So the arrest was illegal," said Suhardi. That's not all, the police accusation that Guterres had provoked his men to confiscate the weapons already surrendered by the militias to the Police Resort of Belu, on October 1, as groundless.

The incident in the weapon seizure, said Suhardi, occurred because the police wanted to prevent Guterres from meeting Vice President Megawati during the weapons handing over ceremony. Whereas he was previously invited to attend. Feeling of being tricked, said Suhardi, Guterres got angry and his men reclaimed some of their weapons. "So it was not Guterres but the police who triggered the incident," said Suhardi. He strongly rejected the demand by UNTAET to bring Guterres to Dili.

Chief of UNTAET, Sergio Vieira de Mello, sent a written request to the government of Indonesia to surrender Eurico Guterres. The request was forwarded on Tuesday last week to the Attorney General, Marzuki Darusman. There were many critics. "We would only humiliate ourselves if we surrender Guterres to UNTAET," said the People' Consultative Assembly Speaker Amien Rais.

The House of Representative Speaker Akbar Tandjung supported Amien Rais. "We are a sovereign country. We need to uphold our sovereignty," he said. The government responded to the critic. Marzuki Darusman promptly consulted with President Abdurrahman Wahid, Coordinating Minister for Political, Social, and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and the Indonesian Police Chief General S. Bimantoro.

"Temporary measure is for Guterres to be detained for a while in Jakarta," said Marzuki Darusman before attending a cabinet meeting on Thursday last week. The request made by UNTAET, said Marzuki, was based on a memorandum of understanding between the government of Indonesia and UNTAET signed last February.. "The understanding is related to mutual cooperation in legal, trial, and human rights affairs," he said.

It was based on this agreement, said Marzuki, that the government of Indonesia understands the request from UNTAET, but not necessarily agreed. "Guterres will remain in Jakarta, but UNTAET could ask investigating questions at him," he said. The decision, according the Minister of Justice and Human Rights Yusril Ihza Mahendra is not yet final. "We are still studying its legal content," he said.

In the opinion of Uni Timor Aswain (Untas), the sole organization for pro-integration East Timorese, a response to the request by UNTAET is not necessary. "East Timor is not yet a sovereign country, and has no extradition agreement as specified in the international law," said Mario Viera, the Untas spokesman.

Disappointment was strongly heard in Kupang. For example, from Joanico Cecario, a former member of Kopassus (Army Special Troop) Cijantung, Jakarta, currently residing in Kupang. The former militia chief of A Sector even threatened the Indonesian Military (TNI) to the United Nations if Guterres is not be released. "I will report that the militias were trained and equipped with arms by the TNI," he said.

The threat was regretted by Director of Information for Foreign Affairs. "If this is to be the case, then things will be more difficult," he told Kholis Bahtiar Bakri of GATRA. But the TNI Spokesman, Air Marshal Graito Usodo, had asked Joanico to proof that the TNI did provided them with weapons. "Let him sue, but he must back up with evidence," he told Rohmat Haryadi of GATRA.

Threats by Joanica were also sneered by the executives of Untas. "That's the way he "sings" when he needed funds," said a member of Untas. He said that remarks coming from his colleague as irrelevant.

Somehow, the case of Guterres would just spread all over if it is not quickly settled. This was also the intention of Cancio Lopes de Carvalho, a former Chief of Mahidi Militia. "Just punish Guterres if he has done wrong, but release him if he is not guilty," he said. Cancio is not willing if his comrade-in-arms is to be incarcerated just because of the pressures from the international community.

I Made Suarjana, Sigit Indra, and Antonio Un Taolin (Kupang)

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