Subject: Activists Urge Military To Investigate Aceh Killings

also Report May Hit Bid To Lift US Military Ban

From Joyo

The Jakarta Post

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Activists Urge Military To Investigate Aceh Killings

Dicky Christanto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The military should conduct an independent investigation to prove its personnel were not involved in the killing of political activists in Aceh as accused by US journalist Allan Nairn, activists said Friday.

"We strongly encourage the military to cooperate with the police in conducting a thorough examination into the allegations. They could summon Allan to testify and support his allegations," Usman Hamid of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) told a press conference in Friday.

"The military needs to do that to avoid losing face. They have to be able to prove they are innocent in this case," he added.

Otto Samsudin Ishak, a senior researcher from human rights NGO Imparsial, also spoke at the press conference, saying the police could take the initiative in conducting the investigation.

"If the police find indications of military involvement they could then hand the suspects over to the military police for processing," he said.

He said it was reprehensible that neither the military nor the police had taken such an initiative.

Denying Allan's allegation without conducting thorough investigation into the case will only spark speculations, he added.

"I am afraid there might have been an agreement between the police, the military and the Aceh local administration to not probe the killings due to concerns it might implicate those institutions," he said.

Nairn, a freelance journalist, wrote in his personal blog that military personnel from the special forces division, known as Kopassus, had murdered eight political activists during the regional election in Aceh last year.

"The killings were part of a secret government program authorized by Jakarta, and were coordinated in part by an active-duty, US-trained Kopassus special forces General who has acknowledged on record that his TNI men had a role in the killings," he said.

Allan claimed in his report that he had received highly sensitive information from several military officials who asked for anonymity.

The activists belonged to the Aceh Party, a political party that was formed by former members of separatist group Free Aceh Movement.

According to Nairn, the activists were killed to prevent them from bringing up the issue of Aceh independence during the elections.

Among those activists was Tumijan, a plantation worker at Nagan Raya, Aceh, whose body was found near a river. His body had been mutilated and his throat cut.

Another activist, Dedi Novandi, was shot in the middle of a street in Aceh.

Nairn said these killings were orchestrated by a group of young Kopassus officers along with their local militants.

Commenting on this, Kopassus Chief Maj. Gen. Lodewijk Freidrich Paulus denied Kopassus' involvement, saying that the unit had not been assigned to Aceh since the reform movement in 1998.

The military is also considering filing a legal complaint against Nairn, who played down the threat.

"In today's Indonesia it can be a crime to report assassinations, but, given that no generals have gone to prison for such murders, it is not treated as a crime to commit them," Nairn said on his blog.


The Straits Times (Singapore)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Report May Hit Bid To Lift US Military Ban

Salim Osman, Indonesia Correspondent

Indonesian general rejects reporter's claim that troops had role in killings

JAKARTA: An American reporter has alleged that Indonesia's special forces were behind a series of political killings and bombings in Aceh last year.

The report by journalist Allan Nairn threatens to scuttle Jakarta's hopes of getting the United States to lift a 12-year military training ban for its special forces, Kopassus.

Writing on his blog on Sunday, Mr Nairn alleged that Kopassus was responsible for the killing of eight Aceh Party activists in the run- up to last April's provincial legislative polls to prevent the party from seeking independence for Aceh.

He said it was 'part of a secret government programme, authorised from Jakarta, coordinated in part by an active-duty, US-trained Kopassus special forces general who has just acknowledged on the record that his TNI men had a role in the killings'. TNI refers to the Indonesian armed forces.

The US imposed the ban on military training cooperation over alleged human rights abuses by Indonesian troops during their occupation of East Timor, now known as Timor Leste. The issue would have been on the agenda during US President Barack Obama's visit to Jakarta this month had the trip not been postponed to June.

An Indonesian military delegation had visited Washington earlier this month to lobby for the lifting of the ban and Indonesian media reported there were signs the US might do so. But Mr Nairn's claims could dash such hopes.

The Indonesian Army Chief of Staff, General George Touisutta, dismissed them as 'nonsense', saying the military had not sent any elite force members to Aceh since the historic 2005 Helsinki peace deal that ended three decades of civil war in the province.

A former Kopassus commander, Major-General Soenarko, who headed the Aceh military command last year, also dismissed the claims as 'slander and nonsense'.

In his blog report, Mr Nairn quoted senior officials, police officers, wives of the murdered activists and Kopassus officers, including Maj- Gen Soenarko, who he believed were involved in and responsible for the murders.

He also named two soldiers and eight civilian members of TNI-linked militias who were detained for the killings although the arrests were never publicised.

Analysts say Mr Nairn is known for his investigative reports and his report on the shooting of East Timorese protesters in Dili in 1991, the so-called Dili massacre, led the US Congress to halt its aid for the Indonesian armed forces.

Military spokesman Sagom Tamboen acknowledged there were a number of assaults and murders during last year's elections but said they were the result of rivalries among political parties.

Those cases, he added, were confirmed by the local authorities and the police and there were no reports of assaults by Kopassus soldiers.

'I think this writing is aimed at the visit of (US President) Obama, so as to disturb the partnership endeavours that have been nurtured by the two countries,' he was quoted as saying by Kompas daily on Tuesday.

Military analyst Andi Widjajanto also doubted the veracity of the report, saying no Kopassus soldiers had been posted to Aceh since the 2005 peace accord. 'In the Helsinki agreement, Indonesia must withdraw military troops from Aceh. Kostrad (strategic reserves) and Kopassus can't be deployed in Aceh,' said the analyst from the University of Indonesia. 'If (Nairn's) article is true, Indonesia has committed serious violations in Aceh.'

Other analysts say it is widely known that militiamen allied to the Kopassus are still in Aceh, suggesting that the journalist's allegations cannot be dismissed totally.


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