Subject: TAPOL: Guterres verdict fails to advance cause of justice for East Timor

TAPOL press release


28 November 2002 - The conviction yesterday of former East Timor militia leader Eurico Guterres for crimes against humanity and his sentence to ten years in prison has done nothing to dispel the widespread belief that Indonesia is not committed to providing meaningful justice for the victims of human rights atrocities in East Timor, says TAPOL the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign.

The decision by Jakarta's ad hoc human rights court to impose a lengthy term of imprisonment on Guterres is welcome, but ten years is no more than the minimum sentence allowed by Indonesian law for such crimes. It is not expected that Guterres will serve his sentence until after he has appealed, which could take years.

"The punishment does not reflect the magnitude of Guterres's appalling crimes," says TAPOL.

Furthermore, the proceedings have crucially failed to present Guterres's crimes in the context of a widespread and systematic attack on the civilian population of East Timor masterminded and directed by the Indonesian military, TNI.

Despite the availability of overwhelming evidence that the violence was orchestrated by the TNI, it has been the prosecution policy to portray the crimes falsely as part of a conflict between two violent East Timorese factions, which the Indonesian security forces failed to control.

Although further verdicts are expected soon in the ongoing trials of several Indonesian military officers, it is significant that so far the only two persons convicted by the Jakarta court are East Timorese civilians. No Indonesian has been convicted. Former East Timor Governor Abilio Soares was convicted of crimes against humanity in August and sentenced to three-years imprisonment. At the same time, six Indonesian army and police officers were acquitted.

Eurico Guterres was charged in relation to the attack on the home of independence leader Manuel Carrascalao in Dili on 17 April 1999 in which 12 East Timorese were brutally murdered. He was recorded on film inciting thousands of militiamen 'to capture and kill if you need' independence supporters who had 'betrayed intergration [with Indonesia]'. He was not charged in relation to his alleged responsibility for other violent attacks which took place on the same day and on numerous other occasions.


For more information, contact Paul Barber on 01420 80153

 Paul Barber TAPOL, the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign, 25 Plovers Way, Alton Hampshire GU34 2JJ Tel/Fax: 01420 80153 Email: Internet: Defending victims of oppression in Indonesia, 1973-2002

Back to November Menu
Main Postings Menu

Note: For those who would like to fax "the powers that be" - CallCenter is a Native 32-bit Voice Telephony software application integrated with fax and data communications... and it's free of charge! Download from