Govt Inquiry Blames Military for E Timor Killings
Jakarta Post December 1, 1999
TNI blamed for East Timor killings
JAKARTA (JP): A government-sanctioned inquiry said on Wednesday that the Indonesian Military (TNI) was directly or indirectly involved in extra- judicial executions in the ravaged territory of East Timor after the Aug. 30 self-determination ballot.
The Commission for the Investigation of Human Rights Abuses in East Timor said in an interim report that it had found evidence suggesting that the extra-judicial killings in East Timor were perpetrated by prointegration militias and military personnel.
The commission said it had found documents pointing to Jakarta's role in the campaign of terror and destruction.
It said that it had also collected reports that 10 women were raped in the East Timor capital of Dili and 50 more outside of Dili following the UN-sponsored ballot.
Following the ballot, which resulted in an overwhelming vote against Jakarta's offer for wider autonomy, armed pro-Indonesia thugs went on the rampage, killing people, forcing mass evacuations and destroying and setting fire to buildings throughout East Timor.
The commission was set up by then president B.J. Habibie in September after his government rejected international calls for a UN inquiry into the September violence which could lead to war crime tribunals for Indonesian Military leaders. The team has until this month to complete its report.
The UN inquiry team began its work in Dili last week but its members said they have had difficulties obtaining Indonesian visas to come to Jakarta.
Chairman of the commission Albert Hasibuan said the Indonesian Military was involved in an attack on Nossa Senhora de Fatima Church in Suai on Sept. 6 which killed at least 26 people, including three Catholic priests.
"Witnesses said that Indonesian security personnel were seen shooting at refugees seeking shelter in the church," Albert, who returned from East Timor last week, told a news conference.
On Thursday, the commission dug out 26 bodies, believed to be the victims of the attack, from three mass graves at Oeluli beach in East Nusa Tenggara, some 20 kilometers southwest of Suai or three kilometers from the East Timor border.
Albert said the commission had also found the remains and skulls of other victims around the church.
"With regard to the massacre in Suai, the commission has found evidence that TNI was directly involved in the shootings, and we also found evidence that TNI and the police were involved in concealing the evidence of the killings," Albert said.
The military has also allegedly been involved in the attack on a group of nuns and civilians in the eastern town of Los Palos on Sept. 25, which killed at least nine people including an Indonesian journalist, Agus Mulyawan, he said.
"The attack was perpetrated by Team Alfa militia which was led by Joni Marques. One of the perpetrators has told the commission that Team Alfa militia was set up, trained and armed by a TNI unit," Albert said.
TNI leaders have rejected allegations that it had supported or armed the pro-Indonesia militia in the scorched-earth campaign.
The commission said, however, based on the facts on the ground and testimony from witnesses, non-governmental organizations and staff of the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET), it was difficult to deny links between the militias and TNI.
"The commission has received reports from various sources that TNI and National Police officers were present in a series of meetings between militia leaders to discuss plans to attack proindependence supporters.
"Reports from non-governmental organizations, UN civilian police and UNAMET staff showed that in almost every militia attack, security forces were not doing enough to prevent the attacks from continuing," Albert said. Albert said the commission would summon a number of military officers, including Gen. Wiranto, who was the TNI commander and defense minister when the ballot was held in East Timor, to question them on the outbreak of violence in the territory.
Wiranto is now coordinating minister for political affairs and security.
Albert said Wiranto would be summoned in mid-December.
"The commission has subpoena power, so if the military generals refuse to appear before the commission, we will ask the police to force them to come," Albert said.
Asmara Nababan, the commission's secretary who was present at the briefing on Tuesday, said that the commission would also meet with the International Commission of Inquiries on East Timor in Jakarta on Monday. (byg)
Note: For those who would like to fax "the powers that be" - CallCenter V3.5.8, is a Native 32-bit Voice Telephony software application integrated with fax and data communications... and it's free of charge! Download from http://www.v3inc.com/