Sydney Morning Herald
April 28, 2001
Architects Of Mass Murder
Hamish McDonald, Foreign Editor
A secret report for the Indonesian Government makes it clear that its
military directed the militia violence against East Timor's independence
vote and that top generals approved of some of the worst atrocities.
The 41-page report, by the Commission of Investigation into Human
Rights Violations, sheets home ultimate responsibility to the then armed
forces commander and defence minister, General Wiranto.
The report, marked Secret'' and Only for the Investigation Purposes of
the Attorney-General's Department'', has been obtained by the Herald.
It details how the militias were trained, paid from government budgets,
given modern firearms, allowed to use military bases and transport, and
how the militias then worked closely with army and police units to track
down, torture and kill independence supporters. Among examples detailed
are:The massacre of unarmed refugees in the church grounds at Suai on
September 6, 1999 which, it says, was directed by the local bupati
(administration chief) Colonel Herman Sedyono, and local military
commander First Lieutenant Sugito.
- The reprisal execution of six independence supporters, including
three school teachers, at Bobonaro on April 13, 1999 by militias
directed on the spot by district military commander Lieutenant-Colonel
Burhanuddin Siagian and a senior militia leader, Joao Tavares.
- The massacre of at least 50 civilians in the Liquica church on
April 6 by Besi Merah Putih militias, who fraternised with local army
and police before and after the killings. A Police Mobile Brigade
platoon stood by as the massacre took place. Army personnel helped
hide the bodies.The operational commander of the systematic militia
campaign was Major-General Zacky Anwar Makarim, ostensibly in East
Timor to liaise with the United Nations mission running the ballot.
The inquiry also cites:
- Reports sent by General Wiranto and the Bali-based regional
commander, Major-General Adam Damiri, to the then security co-ordinating
minister, General Feisal Tanjung, as indicating full awareness of the
- General Damiri is quoted telling General Tanjung that the Liquica
massacre had made pro-independence youth unable to act''. He had told
him a similar rampage by Aitarak militia at the Dili house of
independence figure Manuel Carrascalao, whose son was among 15 killed,
had made East Timorese love the Red and White [Indonesian flag]'' and
realise that continued integration had many supporters''.
It is believed only a few copies of the report are being closely held
by the Indonesian Attorney-General, Mr Marzuki Darusman.
On General Wiranto's role, the report does not include him on the list
of 32 army and police personnel, civilian officials and militia members
listed as suspects in crimes against humanity, including generals Damiri
and Zacky Anwar.
But it concludes that the whole range'' of wide and organised
violations of human rights before and after the ballot was fully known to
and realised by the armed forces commander General Wiranto'', who was also
in charge of the Indonesian police at the time.
All the crimes against humanity in East Timor, direct or indirect, took
place because of the failure of the armed forces commander to guarantee
the security of the implementation of the two options [the ballot]
proclaimed by the government,'' it says.
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Sydney Morning Herald
April 28, 2001
Masters Of Terror
The Timor massacres were planned in detail: the guns, the trucks, the
burial sites. Hamish McDonald has Jakarta's secret report which details
the callous and calculating part played by senior Indonesian army and
ON THE morning of Saturday, September 4, 1999, it was announced that
East Timor's people had voted to separate from Indonesia. From that point
on, First Lieutenant Sugito of the Indonesian Army seemed to have no
doubts about his duties as local military commander of the town of Suai.
Nor did his colleagues in Suai's military, police and civilian government.
At 10am, the United Nations revealed the 78.5 per cent vote for
independence. Just four hours later, armed police and militias of the
pro-Indonesian Laksaur group attacked the hamlet of Debos, shooting wildly
and burning houses.
One high school student was shot dead and his body taken away in a
police truck. Villagers fled into the grounds of Nossa Senhora de Fatima
Church in the centre of Suai, joining hundreds of others camped there. The
following day, the Laksaur were joined by members of another militia group
called Mahidi, and they began threatening the refugees inside the church
That Sunday night, Lieutenant Sugito (his only name) took part as
soldiers and Laksaur militia roved around Suai, setting fire to all its
At 2.30 on the afternoon of Monday, September 6, army and police,
together with the two militia groups, directly attacked the civilians
inside the church grounds. The attack was supervised on the spot by Sugito,
and by retired army colonel Herman Sedyono, the administrative head (bupati)
of the Covalina region which includes Suai. Both were wearing jungle-green
uniforms and carrying rifles. Witnesses heard Sugito and Sedyono say that
all priests, men and women would be killed.
A Laksaur militiaman called Igidio Manek shot one of Suai's Catholic
priests, Father Hilario Madeira, and trod on his body. Another Laksaur
militiaman, named Americo, stabbed and slashed Father Francisco Soares,
while unidentified militiamen killed Father Tarcisius Dewanto.
As the killing went on, regular policemen, members of the police mobile
brigade and army soldiers, stood outside the fence of the church compound,
shooting refugees trying to flee.
After the shooting, a number of survivors, including many women and
children, were taken away by truck to the military district headquarters.
At 5pm, three army trucks came to carry at least 50 bodies from the
compound to the west of Suai.
The next morning, Sugito was seen directing three soldiers and a
Laksaur team who were burying corpses on the seashore at Weluli, across
the border in West Timor. An exhumation of the graves more than two months
later found the remains of 27 men, women and children as young as five.
Among them were the bodies of the three priests.
The massacre at Suai while the Indonesian commission says the total
death toll was at least 50'', other estimates say more than 200 was
probably the worst single incident of mass murder during the horrific
month that followed the result of East Timor's UN supervised ballot.
Until the Australian-led intervention force Interfet established its
control over East Timor in October that year, about 500,000 of the 800,000
population were forced to flee their homes either to the hills of the
interior where hunger and disease waited, or across the border in a mass
deportation drawn up in contingency plans by Indonesian authorities.
SUAI was not exceptional. As a hitherto secret report compiled by a
special commission for Indonesian Attorney-General Marzuki Darusman makes
clear, it followed a pattern of violence set by militias who were
organised, armed and closely directed by Indonesian military, police and
civil authorities from the beginning of 1999.
The planning and discussion about the formation of armed civilian
groups ... took place in East Timor, in Bali [where the Indonesian
regional military command then covering East Timor has its headquarters]
and in Jakarta, and as well involved officers with authority in the chain
of command, both at regional and central level.''
This involvement is acknowledged in statements by officers as high as
former Armed Forces Commander General Wiranto to the Commission to
Investigate Violations of Human Rights, or KPPHAM as it is known by its
Indonesian initials, which completed its inquiries at the end of January
Moreover, the systematic support for the militias by the military and
police, and the approving comments sent to Jakarta by regional army
commander Major-General Adam Damiri about two of their most vicious
attacks, make it inconceivable that the militia strategy was the
unauthorised initiative of officials on the ground.
The KPP-HAM report traces the origins of the militia groups to the
partisans formed by the Indonesian Army when it invaded East Timor in
1975, some of which became quasi-military units with ranks and pay scales
matching those of regular soldiers. After the then president B.J. Habibie
announced on January 27, 1999 that East Timor could choose between two
options autonomy within Indonesia or independence the report said these
old militia groups were revived and supported in order to achieve victory
In addition, Damiri reported to the then security co-ordinating
minister in Habibie's Cabinet about a military-style force of young people
called Gada Paksi (Young Guard Upholding Integration) which was recruited,
trained and funded'' by the Indonesian Army, specifically Kopassus (the
Eurico Guterres and several other militia leaders were prominent in
Gada Paksi, whose members were later recruited into the Integration
Fighting Force'' headed by former partisan and Bobonaro region head Joao
The former provincial governor, Abilio Soares, and various regional
heads told the Indonesian investigators how these militias and other
military auxiliaries were formed into pro-integration groups directed by
local administrators, police chiefs and army commanders.
Guterres was in charge of 2,651 pro-integration supporters in the
capital Dili, including 1,521 members of his Aitarak militia.
The commission said Wiranto acknowledged the militias in his
contingency plan drawn up in August 1999, in which he lists about 1,100
people with 546 weapons, and a further 11,950 members of resistance
organisations'' such as Aitarak, Laksaur, and so on.
Earlier, in a confidential letter on June 15, Wiranto said that one of
the development efforts with regard to the pro-integration groups that
also needs to gain support from all relevant departments/agencies is to
watch that they remain united and do not split, and that they continue to
stress efforts for dialogue and discussion, and avoid physical activities
aimed at intimidation which will simply be very counterproductive in the
struggle for various aspirations''. Wiranto goes on to commend the
coalition of two pro-integration political fronts into one fighting
The commission comments that this development'' was definitely directed
towards a win for the autonomy choice. The same kind of thing was
indicated by Wiranto in his testimony to the commission, that in a moral
sense there were indeed efforts to make autonomy win so that East Timor
would still be one with Indonesia ... This can be very much seen in the
security apparatus and government apparatus in the region''.
The same drive for an autonomy vote involved army and civil elements in
backing pro-autonomy groups in the staging of mass roll-calls and
oath-taking ceremonies at Balibo, Viqueque and Zumalai between February
and April at which military and civilian officials were present.
The biggest rally involved militia from all over East Timor in the
grounds of the governor's office on April 17. Immediately afterwards, the
massed militia, led by Aitarak, attacked the house of independence leader
Manuel Carrascalao, killing his son and 11 other people.
This and an earlier attack won approval in a secret report by Damiri to
the Co-ordinating Security Minister, Lieutenant-General Feisal Tanjung, on
July 11, 1999.
The April 6 attack on refugees in the Liquica church by Besi Merah
Putih and other militias, with police and army units standing by, left at
least 30 dead, some of whom were dumped secretly in a nearby lake. Damiri
said this had resulted in the anti-integration youth being unable to
Likewise, after the April 17 attack on the Carrascalao house, Damiri
said the situation among society all over East Timor was to love the Red
and White [the colours of the Indonesian flag]. East Timorese society only
then became aware that the integration group clearly had many
The report gives an outline of operational links between the militias
and the Indonesian army. According to sworn testimony by former
pro-Indonesian partisan Thomas Goncalves, who went overseas early in 1999
rather than accede to pressure to lead militias, the operational commander
was Major-General Zacky Anwar Makarim, a career Special Forces officer and
East Timor veteran who had a shadowy liaison role in Dili throughout this
Some of the militias were billeted at local military bases. The
militias often used military vehicles for their patrols, if they were not
patrolling together with military personnel. After capturing and torturing
suspected supporters of the independence council, the CNRT, the militias
would hand them over to military posts. The Special Forces group, known
variously as SGI, Tribuana or Nanggala which was seconded to the East
Timor Command as well as regular army units and the two locally raised
battalions often helped the CNRT in detecting and capturing CNRT people''.
Goncalves is quoted as saying that he received 300 rifles directly from
Lieutenant-Colonel Yayat Sudrajat, the SGI commander. In the Lautem
region, 40 semi-automatic SKS rifles were kept in the army base for use by
the Alfa militia, who had their room in the barracks and came and went as
they pleased with the weapons. The military at Suai supplied the Laksaur
with weapons, and Eurico Guterres told the commission his Aitarak militia
had M-16 semi-automatics.
According to him the weapons had been left with the police but on the
eve of the announcement of the ballot result, they took them out from the
storage place,'' the commission said. Eurico's testimony was strengthened
by a statement by Major-General Zacky Anwar Makarim to the KPP-HAM
mentioning the fact that weapons from the militia were stored in various
military barracks and that they could be taken back when needed.''
In the north-west coastal region of Maubara in particular, the three
militia groups called Besi Merah Putih, Mahidi and Red Dragon always
operated with Indonesian army group. Most of the Besi Merah Putih barracks
were at local military bases, and the village army representatives under
the military's territorial command structure, known as babinsa, were the
organisers of this militia.
Acts carried out carried out by the Barisan Merah Putih and the
military supporting them generally followed the pattern of capture,
abduction, torture and murder,'' the commission says. While on a daily
basis they threatened, robbed, terrorised and intimidated the population
so that it would join the BMP and choose autonomy.''
The commission goes on to observe the impunity enjoyed by the militias.
Proof of the support from military and civil authorities is that militia
members that had openly carried out murder, torture, abduction and capture
were never caught by the security apparatus,'' it reports. Even if they
were arrested, before very long, according to the East Timor Regional
Police Chief, Brigadier-General Timbul Silaen, the detention would be
suspended. This kind of thing continued from January up to September 7.''
The commission found that the military were also involved in the
militia violence aimed at forcing the population to flee. The bupati of
Suai, Herman Sedyono, and the local army commander, Lieutenant Sugito, had
told the commission they had prepared transport to shift the population
several days before the poll results were announced.
The violence in East Timor right from Habibie's January 27 announcement
to the ballot result was not the result of civil war, the Indonesian
investigators concluded, but the result of a systematic course of violent
action carried out by the militia with the support of and, it must be
strongly suspected, organised by the armed forces and police apparatus.''
The commission then notes drily: Indonesian army, police and civil
officials when asked for clarification at the National Human Rights
Commission generally denied their linkage with the militia.'' In separate
sections of the report, the commission complains about the destruction of
evidence such as the hiding of bodies, and the obstructive role played by
legal advisers engaged by suspect officers.
But what happened was far more than gross violations of human rights'',
the commission says. First, the facts were established of definite
policies issued both by those in charge of security in East Timor and the
local government which made possible the continuation of the criminal
acts,'' it says. Secondly, in the time frame investigated by the KPP-HAM,
a criminal act on a wide, massive, intensive and collective scale can be
seen.'' But while it found crimes against humanity'' had been established
under both Indonesian law and international conventions, the commission
said that the offences could not be called war crimes'', and did not
amount to attempted genocide.
In delving into the purpose of the crimes, the commission sees three
distinct phases in which the military role changed subtly. Before the May
5 agreement in New York setting the terms of the referendum, the violence
had been more blatant, aimed at giving the impression of civil war
conditions emerging in East Timor and thereby encouraging a deferral of
the vote. After the agreement, the military and police had to step back to
give an image of neutrality'' and violence was escalated by militias.
The final phase involved the large-scale deportations after the ballot,
in which about 250,000 people were taken to West Timor and other nearly
The enforced evacuation was carried out under various kinds of modus
operandi which affirm the existence of a systematic plan,'' it notes.
Documents obtained provided indications that the enforced evacuations were
planned long before in anticipation of defeat in the ballot. All of this
was supported by the statements given by refugees in [Kupang and Atambua].''
The intention was to convince world opinion that the results of the
ballot were in doubt, and that the East Timorese preferred the security of
being in the neighbouring Indonesian province. At this stage, the
objective to keep the territory and deny the East Timor people's choice
was carried out through the practice of violence and a high stage of
preparedness for pacification through the avenue of forced evacuation,''
the report says.
The violence that continued indicated the unbroken connection between
elements of the Indonesian Army, Indonesian Police and the militias in
carrying out conditioning, choice of actions, fixing of times and targets
from the evacuation project.'' The last stage has been in guarding the
refugees in West Timor, and enforcing terror through murder,
disappearances, mistreatment and sexual violence.
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WHO then is responsible?
According to the Indonesian Commission, there were three classes of
perpetrators: those militia, military and police personnel directly on the
scene; those who controlled operations; and those who were responsible for
national security policy, including but not limited to the high military
officials who were actively and passively involved in the crimes''.
The report lists 32 people who should be investigated as suspects for
crimes against humanity. These included the two major-generals, Zacky
Anwar Makarim and Adam Damiri, and 15 other military personnel, such as
Lieutenant Sugito, identified in various atrocities; several civilian
officials including former governor Abilio Soares, and 10 militia members
including Eurico Guterres and Joao Tavares.
The Indonesian investigators concluded that the whole range of
violations was fully known to and realised by the Armed Forces Commander,
General Wiranto, as being the one responsible for national security'' and
the whole run'' of civilian and military officials working East Timor at
All of the crimes against humanity, direct or indirect, took place
because of the failure of the Armed Forces Commander to guarantee the
security of the implementation of the announcement of the two options by
the government,'' the KPP-HAM said.
The police structure which at that time was under the command of the
Defence Minister [a position also held by Wiranto] weakened the capacity
of the police apparatus in carrying out the task of security based upon
the New York agreement. For this, General Wiranto as armed forces
commander was the one who must bear responsibility.''
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Laying the blame
EAST TIMOR, January-September 1999:
Crime: Through the organisation, training, arming, financing and
direction of armed militia groups, the commission of a criminal act on a
wide, massive, intensive and collective scale'' involving mass killings,
torture and maltreatment, disappearances, sexual violence and enforced
Suspects: Major-Generals Adam Damiri and Zacky Anwar Makarim;
Brigadier-Generals Tono Suratman and Timbul Silaen; Colonel Nur Muis.
Ultimate responsibility through failure to carry out the Government's
pledge of security for the ballot: Armed Forces Commander and Defence
Minister General Wiranto.
SUAI, September 6, 1999:
Crime: Laksaur and Mahidi militia massacre of at least 50 people
including three priests sheltering inside church compound. Local army and
civil officials direct operation. Soldiers and police shoot refugees
trying to run away. Bodies taken away by army and buried secretly.
Suspects: regional administrator Colonel Herman Sedyono, Lieutenant
Sugito, Laksaur members Olivio Moruk, Martinus, Manek.
LIQUICA, April 6, 1999
Crime: Besi Merah Putih militia, police in civilian clothes and
soldiers attack church compound where people are sheltering from militia
attacks. One shot and tear gas grenade open attack, completed with knives.
At least 30 killed. Police Mobile Brigade platoon stands by. Soldiers take
away bodies in army trucks for secret disposal.
Suspects: Liquica regional administrator Leoneto Martins, army
sergeants Yacobus, Tome Maria Goncalves. Besi Merah Putih leader Manuel de
CAILACO, BOBONARO, April 12-13, 1999
Crime: Halilintar militia and local military abduct and torture six
people, including primary schoolteachers suspected of being independence
supporters. After several abductors are killed later that day in a
Falintil ambush, the six are executed the next day in front of mourners.
Suspects: Bobonaro military district commander Lieutenant-Colonel
Burhanuddin Siagian, and Halilintar militia chief Joao Tavares.
DILI, April 17, 1999
Crime: After rally in front of the provincial governor's office,
militia destroy offices of Dili's only newspaper, attack home of
independence figure Manuel Carrascalao where more than 140 people are
sheltering. Carrascalao's 17-year-old son Manuelito among about 15 killed.
Suspect: Aitarak militia leader Eurico Guterres.
MALIANA, September 8, 1999
Crime: Militia from Dadurus Merah Putih and other groups attack dozens
of refugees sheltering in the town's police headquarters. Army and Police
Mobile Brigade troops do nothing. At least 70 killed by bullet and knife.
Bodies taken away in trucks later that night.
Suspects: Lieutenant-Colonel Burhanuddin Siagian and Joao Tavares.
LOS PALOS, September 25, 1999
Crime: A Tim Alfa militia group formed and trained by Indonesian
Special Forces ambush a vehicle taking a church delegation to Baucau. Nine
killed, including two nuns and Indonesian journalist Agus Mulyawan.
Suspects: Alfa leader Joni Marquez, members Joao da Costa, Manuel da
Costa, Amilio da Costa.
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Investigators dug deep
The report on human rights violations in East Timor during the last
months of Jakarta's rule has been sitting like a pent-up volcano in the
office safe of the Attorney-General, Marzuki Darusman, for the past 15
It caused a major eruption when it first looked like being aired in
February last year. Even a limited whiff of its contents was enough to
blow the then Co-ordinating Minister for Defence and Security, General
Wiranto, out of office.
Keeping the full report under lock and key may have been part of the
protracted bargaining over nearly two weeks that resulted in Wiranto
accepting President Abdurrahman Wahid's call for his resignation.
Knowledge of its damning conclusion, sheeting home ultimate
responsibility to Wiranto, will play into the current political crisis in
Jakarta, in which status quo'' military elements including the former
defence chief are trying to replace Wahid with Vice-President Megawati
The members of the special investigation commission include some of
Indonesia's finest human rights lawyers, who spent years in heroic but
often futile challenges by the privately funded Legal Aid Institute to
former president Soeharto's authoritarian New Order.
With Albert Hasibuan as head, the commission included lawyers Asmara
Nabahan, Koesparmono Irsan (a retired police general), Todong Mulya Lubis,
H.S. Dillon, Nursyahbani Katjasungkana, Munir, and Zoemrotin.
Given 27 research, documentation and secretarial staff, the commission
visited East and West Timor as well as interviewing witnesses in
Indonesian cities. If anyone thought the inquiry would be token, that view
was shaken when the commission found and exhumed bodies of the Suai
massacre that had been buried secretly in West Timor.
Revelation of its full scope will put immediate pressure on Wahid's
Government to widen the jurisdiction of the special tribunal it has just
foreshadowed, to include crimes committed before the August 30, 1999,
ballot as well as afterwards.
But the report also contains a broader challenge by Indonesia's civil
society to militarism. As well as prosecutions for the 1999 violence, it
calls for investigation of Timor crimes going back to 1975, and the
complete withdrawal of the Indonesian Armed Forces from their
territorial'' involvement in domestic administration.
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What Jakarta must do
Main recommendation of the human rights investigation
- Prosecutors should investigate suspects in major abuses, but not
limited to the names mentioned in the report.
- Government should arrange access to all new evidence being uncovered
by UN investigators in East Timor.
- Government and parliament should set up new court with powers to try
past human rights violations, including those in East Timor.
- Government should quickly ratify international treaties on human
- Security for all witnesses and victims, and no interefence in legal
processes. Compensation for victims, and special help for victims of
- National human rights body should investigate all cases in East
Timor back to 1975 and publish results as official document.
- Military's political role should be removed, the police
demilitarised. and intelligence agencies regulated.
- All hindrances to return of refugees to be removed.
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DAYS OF BLOOD AND FIRE
January 27 President Habibie (pictured right) announces vote on
February 22-26 Assistant US Secretary of State, Stanley Roth, and DFAT
head, Ashton Calvert, meet.
Calvert: "Australia had not sensed any broad international
appetite for a large scale intervention." Roth: "East Timor is
about to descend into internecine violence."
February 23 Downer talks to Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas.
Downer: "There is no relationship more important to Australia as that
with Indonesia but East Timor has caused difficulties." Alatas says
aid to militias is "legitimate arming of auxiliaries."
February 25-26 Downer meets Habibie in Jakarta. Resistance leader
Xanana Gusmao and leaders of the pro-integrationists pass over a letter
threatening the lives of Australian diplomats and journalists.
March 4 Defence assessment of situation finds "ABRI in East Timor
are clearly protecting, and in some instances operating with militias who
have threatened Australian lives ... ABRI could apprehend or easily
control pro-Indonesian militants but has chosen not to."
Downer: "If it is happening at all, it certainly isn't official
Indonesian Government policy."
April 6 Massacre in Liquica. Downer urges "all parties to exercise
restraint, and in particular, urge the Indonesian Armed Forces to take
steps to disarm paramilitary groups."
April 17 Militia attack on Dili home of Manuel Carrascalao killing up
to 12 people including his son. Aitarak leader Eurico Guterres a key
April 19 Australian Government intelligence agencies provide a grim
scenario after the vote. Howard calls Habibie conveying his deep concern
over violence in the province.
April 27 Bali summit. Downer says he is sure Wiranto "will do what
he can to make sure that the policies of the Indonesian Government are
properly implemented on the ground."
May 24 Downer criticises elements of the Indonesian army for supporting
integrationist militias in East Timor
June 14 Downer briefs UN Secretary-General Annan on security situation
including views on TNI links to militia groups.
June 16-17 Downer visits Washington. Meets Roth. Downer emphasises
sustained international pressure on Indonesia. He says it
is important Indonesians understand other countries know what the
security forces are up to and be made to stop.
June 21 Vice chief of defence force, Air Marshal Doug Riding, meets
officials in Jakarta with comprehensive material gathered by Australian
intelligence showing the Indonesian military was implicated in
establishing, funding and training militia.
June 29 First of a series of militia attacks on UN facilities.
July 12 Wiranto and Alatas visit Dili. Provide undertakings to bring
situation under control.
July 20 Leaked Indonesian Government report planning scorched earth
policy after ballot. Denied.
August 12 Reports Australia was selective in intelligence it gave the
US on direct links between Indonesian military and militias.
August 16-17 Australian officials in Washington highlight importance of
a seamless transition between ballot period and after vote.
August 30 Ballot day - 98.6% of the population turn up to vote.
September 4 Result of vote announced: 78.5% in favour of independence.
The capital, Dili, erupts with violence.
Downer says Australia will "stand by the people of East Timor. We
won't let East Timor down."
September 6 At least 50 killed in Suai church massacre, including three
priests. Twenty-five killed and 10 injured in Dili diocese office.
Dili residence of Bishop Carlos Belo (pictured left) attacked.
Thousands of Indonesian settlers flee as RAAF Hercules begin evacuating
Australians and other foreigners. Reports of Indonesian troops forcing
tens of thousands of East Timorese into trucks and moving them into
Indonesian West Timor.
September 7 Martial law declared, power and telecommunications cut.
Belo smuggled onto a RAAF flight to Darwin.
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Editorial: Timor Crimes
Sydney Morning Herald
April 28, 2001
The Indonesian special commission on militia violence in East Timor has
amply confirmed suspicions of Indonesian military involvement in and
responsibility for crimes against humanity in East Timor. The commission
has made a sincere effort to find out what happened before and after the
August 1999 vote on independence. It has cast new light on many crimes
committed by the militia, the military and the police. It has uncovered
new sources of information. It has exhumed the bodies of victims of
massacres, putting beyond doubt that crimes were committed and that the
evidence exists. And it has shown the links between some of the most
terrible crimes and the Indonesian military, extending beyond Timor
itself, beyond the regional command in Bali, to the the high command
itself in Jakarta.
The commission's secret 41-page report, prepared for the Indonesian
Attorney-General, Mr Marzuki Darusman, is frank and credible, and not
exculpatory in tone. It sees three distinct phases in the systematic
course of violent action carried out by the militia with the support of
and, it must be strongly suspected, organised by the armed forces and
police apparatus''. In the first phase, before the May 5, 1999, agreement
in New York setting the terms of the referendum independence or autonomy
within Indonesia the violence was blatant, aimed at giving the impression
of civil war conditions which would require the vote to be postponed.
After May 5, the report says, the military and police had to step back to
give an image of neutrality'', but violence was escalated by the militia.
In the final phase, after the ballot, about 250,000 people were deported
to West Timor or to other islands.
The report lists 32 people who should be investigated as suspects for
crimes against humanity, including two major-generals and 15 other
military personnel. The armed forces commander, General Wiranto, is not on
this list. But his responsibility is made plain. All of the crimes against
humanity, direct or indirect, took place because of the failure of the
Armed Forces Commander [Wiranto] to guarantee the security of the
implementation of the announcement of the two options by the government,''
the report says. The police structure which at that time was under the
command of the Defence Minister [a position also held by Wiranto] weakened
the capacity of the police apparatus in carrying out the task of security
based on the New York agreement. For this, General Wiranto, as armed
forces commander, was the one who must bear responsibility.''
It will be a further crime, added to those indicated by this report, if
the Indonesian Government now fails to extend the jurisdiction of the
Indonesian special tribunal on human rights cases well back before the
time of the referendum, to catch the many crimes committed before August
1999. If not, there will be renewed international pressure for a special
UN war crimes tribunal for Indonesia like those for Rwanda and Yugoslavia.
Any external pressure for tougher Indonesian action on crimes against
humanity in East Timor will be resisted by the armed forces. This, in
turn, could increase the military's determination to see President
Abdurrahman Wahid replaced by his deputy, Megawati Sukarnoputri, seen by
the military as more complaisant and acceptable to it. For Indonesia's
sake, its friends, including Australia, will hope and expect President
Wahid to stand firm and see the armed forces cleansed and justice done to
the people of East Timor through proper action on this report.
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Indonesian Commission of Investigation into Human Rights Violations in
East Timor's Summary Report (January
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