Subject: Rights Activists Slam TNI Promotions: Endang Linked to Aceh Killings

excerpt: Current TNI spokesman Maj. Gen. Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin will reportedly be made a three-star Army general, and there are rumors he will be made the new secretary-general of the defense ministry.

"We cannot ignore the fact that Sjafrie allegedly played a key role in many rights abuses, ranging from East Timor, the 10-year military operation in Aceh known as DOM, the 1998 shootings at Trisakti University and the May riots," Otto said.

The Jakarta Post Saturday, April 2, 2005

Activists Criticize Latest TNI Moves

Tiarma Siboro, The Jakarta Post/Jakarta

Human rights activists criticized on Friday the Indonesian Military (TNI)'s recent promotion of senior Army officers close to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and several allegedly linked to human rights violations.

They said the promotions were a setback to TNI's reform efforts.

The activists pointed to the appointment of current Iskandar Muda Military Command head Maj. Gen. Endang Suwarya, who leads the military operation to crush separatist rebels in Aceh, as the Army's new deputy chief of staff.

Rusdi Marpaung of rights watchdog Imparsial accused Endang of creating a "horizontal conflict" in Aceh during two years of military operations since 2003. He alleged that Endang had ordered the marking of houses belonging to families and relatives of Free Aceh Movement (GAM) members and branded them "public enemies".

He was referring to the military's policy of marking with red paint the houses of anyone linked to GAM rebels.

This policy violates the 1949 Geneva convention, which says military offensives must not target civilians or public buildings such as houses, mosques and cultural centers, Rusdi said.

"It was under Endang Suwarya's command that no fewer than 663 Acehnese civilians were killed," he said.

Acehnese sociologist Otto Syamsuddin Ishak from Syahkuala University said Endang's branding of the relatives of GAM members as "public enemies" had caused social disintegration among the Acehnese.

He said this policy resulted in even Acehnese children to be considered enemies of the state and society.

This so-called isolation policy has hurt civilians because they are obliged to report daily to the nearest military post or face sanctions, Otto said.

"If a military man like Endang -- who lacks sensitivity and has systematically destroyed the social structure of Aceh -- is promoted to a three-star Army general, I think there is no hope for the country to stop the various rights abuses in Aceh and other conflict areas," he said.

In a round of promotions announced on Wednesday, Endang was named the Army's deputy chief of staff. His position as chief of the Iskandar Muda Military Command will be taken over by Maj. Gen. Syafiuddin Yusuf, the current head of the Udayana Military Command overseeing West Nusa Tenggara and Bali.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's brothers-in-law, Brig. Gen. Pramono Eddy Wibowo, was appointed deputy commander of the Army's Special Forces (Kopassus), while Maj. Gen. Erwin Sudjono was named to head the Tanjung Pura Military Command overseeing Kalimantan.

Current TNI spokesman Maj. Gen. Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin will reportedly be made a three-star Army general, and there are rumors he will be made the new secretary-general of the defense ministry.

"We cannot ignore the fact that Sjafrie allegedly played a key role in many rights abuses, ranging from East Timor, the 10-year military operation in Aceh known as DOM, the 1998 shootings at Trisakti University and the May riots," Otto said.

Responding to the criticism, Sjafrie said: "Everybody has the right to express their opinions. Let them talk, but I will remain silent."


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