Subject: TNI in '99 ETimor: Not Necessary to Deploy Civilian Defense Groups: Analyst [+CTF]

also: JP: President asks CTF to summon UN execs [for more 'balanced' view]

The Jakarta Post Saturday, October 27, 2007

TNI 'should not deploy Wanra' for internal rows

Desy Nurhayati, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

It is not necessary for the Indonesian Military (TNI) to deploy civilian defense groups to handle internal conflicts in the country such as the 1999 violence in Timor Leste, a military analyst said Friday.

A civilian defense group, or Wanra (Perlawanan rakyat, people's resistance), should take part in a conflict to help the TNI only if the country faces an outside threat, said Kusnanto Anggoro from the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"As the main element in the country's defense system, the TNI should always be in the frontline, especially in handling communal conflict," Kusnanto told The Jakarta Post.

"A Wanra group consists of civilians trained by the TNI (and) only acts as a supporting element in the system to help the military in inter-state conflicts."

"If the TNI deploys the group to take part in a conflict between local communities, like in East Timor, it means that the military is playing one off against the other."

The 1999 violence occurred after the secession of East Timor from Indonesia and implicated groups of pro-integration civilians, who were said to have been trained and armed by the TNI.

Following the widespread chaos, martial law was declared in the former Indonesian province.

East Timor's then martial law commander Lt. Gen. (ret) Kiki Syahnakri, who testified at the public hearing of the Indonesia-Timor Leste Commission of Truth and Friendship, said that the trained and armed civilian groups were Wanra, which was legally justified in the country's defense system.

"Even though the act of deploying Wanra is legally justified, it is not a good military principle. The TNI should play their role first in handling the conflict before asking for help from the Wanra," Kusnanto said.

The 1945 Constitution and the 1988 Defense Law stipulate that civilians have the right and obligation to defend the state by joining basic military training.

Kusnanto said that the defense law should have clearly stipulated the role and mechanism of Wanra and that they should not be deployed in an internal conflict.

Yusron Ihza Mahendra, deputy speaker of the House of Representatives' Commission I overseeing defense affairs, however, said that the TNI could use Wanra to help them handle any conflict, including those which were internal.

"It is allowed for the military to use Wanra groups under any military threat as long as they did not commit any defiance when they were on duty," Yusron told the Post.

Meanwhile, Defense Ministry spokesperson Brig. Gen. Edi Butar Butar said that the current defense law did not recognize the terms Wanra and Sishankamrata (sistem pertahanan rakyat semesta, people's defense and security system).

"The 2002 Defense Law only recognizes the TNI as the defense system's main component, which is backed by supporting and reserve components. Civilian defense groups belong to the reserve component," Edi said.

Edi said that the survival of civilian groups, which are established in regions, was now the responsibility of the provincial administrations, and that the TNI was only responsible for the groups' military training.


The Jakarta Post Saturday, October 27, 2007

President asks CTF to summon UN execs

JAKARTA: President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Friday the joint Indonesia-Timor Leste Commission for Truth and Friendship (CTF) should again summon former officials of the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET).

"President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said their testimonies are much needed for reconciliation between Indonesia and Timor Leste," CTF co-chairman Benjamin Mangkoedilaga said after a meeting with Yudhoyono.

"This will be done by our international advisors."

CTF said the presence of former UNAMET officials was required to collect a balanced report on the East Timor riots following the country's decision to secede from Indonesia in 1999, CTF said.

The officials have been summoned three times to no avail.

Allegations were rife UNAMET officials were leaning toward the pro-independence movement, giving way to riots across the half-island territory abandoned by the Portuguese in 1975.

The United Nations has advised former UNAMET officials not to come to CTF's hearing as the commission could recommend total amnesty for all alleged violence perpetrators.

The CTF is scheduled to present its final report to leaders of both countries in January.


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