Subject: JP: 'Military did nothing to prevent attack on Carrascalao's house'

The Jakarta Post August 9, 2002

'Military did nothing to prevent attack on Carrascalao's house'

Tiarma Siboro, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

A pro-Jakarta East Timorese leader told the Rights Tribunal on Thursday that the Indonesian Military (TNI) did nothing to stop armed militias from attacking the residence of proindependence leader Manuel Viegas Carrascalao on April 17, 1999.

Basilio Araujo, who worked as a translator for former East Timor governor Abilio Jose Osorio Soares, said not a single member of security personnel tried to stop militia groups, even though "they were holding sharp weapons and homemade guns, and threatening people taking refuge in Carrascalao's house."

He also confirmed Carrascalao's statement that prior to the attack, pro-Jakarta militia commanders Eurico Gutteres and Joao Tavares made a speech urging militia members to "silence the Carrascalao family."

"As a local administration employee, I attended the ceremony held at the Governor (Abilio)'s office, marking the establishment of Pamswakarsa on April, 17. All Pamswakarsa members were also present ... they were, among others, the Aitarak, the Mahidi, and the Besi Merah-Putih," Basilio said, referring to several pro-Jakarta militia groups.

Basilio was testifying against pro-Jakarta militia commander Eurico Gutteres, who is charged with committing gross human rights violations in East Timor before, during and after the 1999 independence ballot. If proven guilty, he will face a minimum sentence of at least 10 years' imprisonment.

He said he was with East Timor military commander Tono Suratman when Carrascalao arrived at Tono's house to ask for protection immediately after militia members attacked Carrascalao's house.

"I knew when they attacked and burned Pak Manuel's house because I saw smoke billowing from it," said Basilio, adding that his house was located only 500 meters to one kilometer away from Carrascalao's.

"But I didn't see that Pak Danrem insisted on helping him. I didn't see it," Basilio said, referring to Tono Suratman.

During the attack, some 12 people, including Carrascalao's 16-year-old son Manelito Carrascalao, were killed, while dozens of others were reported missing.

Tono is also a defendant in the same court.

Earlier, Carrascalao also testified against Eurico, blaming militia members for the violence that killed his son.

Both Eurico and his defense lawyers, however, turned the courtroom into a trial of Carrascalao, attacking him with a flurry of questions.

That prompted presiding judge Helen Hutapea to warn Eurico and his lawyers that Carrascalao was not the defendant but a witness.

"This is not the trial of Pak Manuel. He is not a defendant here, so don't ask any questions that attack him," Helen said.

[This message was distributed via the east-timor news list.]

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