[The House passed the Foreign Operations Appropriations in July. The
Senate passed its
version in September. The two bills now go to conference
House Subcommittee Continues Ban on Military Assistance for
Calls for IMET, Military Sales to Remain Restricted
Contact: Karen Orenstein, 202-544-6911
John M. Miller, 917-690-4391
For Immediate Release
June 24, 2004 - A key congressional subcommittee of the U.S.
Congress last night acted to renew bans on International Military
Education and Training (IMET) and foreign military financing (FMF)
The Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the House of
Representatives' Committee on Appropriations decided to extend the
ban on IMET until the State Department determines that the
Indonesian military (TNI) and government are cooperating with the
FBI's investigation into an ambush which killed two U.S. citizens
and an Indonesian in West Papua. The Indonesian military is
implicated in the August 2002 attack in the mining operations area
of Louisiana-based Freeport-McMoRan, which also wounded 11 people,
including a six-year-old child.
The bill would also unconditionally continue the ban on foreign
military financing of weapons sales and other assistance to
While praising the restoration of the IMET ban, ETAN urged
Congress to expand the conditions on resumption of IMET and extend
conditionality to counter-terrorism training.
"Congress, after more than two years of the TNI's own
investigation, clearly remains disturbed by the lack of progress in
resolving these horrific killings in West Papua," said Karen
Orenstein, Washington Coordinator of the East Timor Action
“However, we urge Congress to expand the conditions of the IMET
ban to show it remains serious about promoting justice and military
reform in Indonesia. History demonstrates that providing training
and other assistance only emboldens the Indonesian military to
violate human rights and block accountability for past injustices,"
"Congress must continue to carefully monitor the progress of any
investigation into the West Papua killings, and more importantly
press for credible prosecution and punishment consistent with
international standards of those responsible. Cooperation in itself
is too low of a threshold,” said Orenstein.
"Indonesia has yet to fulfill Congressional conditions previously
placed on IMET, including accountability for rights violations in
East Timor and Indonesia and transparency in the military budget. In
fact, the TNI continues to systematically violate human rights
throughout the archipelago, especially in Aceh and West Papua. Those
indicted for -- and in some cases convicted of -- crimes against
humanity continue to maintain powerful positions. One, General
Wiranto, is a credible candidate for president," she said
Congress first voted to restrict Indonesia from receiving IMET,
which brings foreign military officers to the U.S. for training, in
response to the November 12, 1991 Santa Cruz massacre of more than
270 civilians in East Timor. All military ties with Indonesia were
severed in September 1999 as the Indonesian military and its militia
proxies razed East Timor following its vote for independence.
For fiscal year 2004, after a contentious debate, Congress
IMET in a bill passed in January until the State Department
determines that the Indonesian military (TNI) and government are
cooperating with the FBI's investigation of the 2002 ambush.
Only a few months earlier President Bush had said that "Congress
has changed their attitude" and was ready to provide further
military assistance "because of the cooperation of the government on
the killings of two U.S. citizens."
On May 10, a UN-backed court in East Timor issued
an arrest warrant for
General Wiranto, the Armed Forces Commander and Defense Minister
in 1999 and now a leading presidential candidate. Trained in the
U.S., Wiranto's troops and their militia proxies conducted a
campaign of terror resulting in more than 1400 deaths, displacement
of three-quarters of the population and destruction of most of East
Timor's infrastructure. Wiranto was indicted on February 24, 2003,
for crimes against humanity before the Special Panel. Soon after,
the U.S. State Department placed Wiranto on its visa watch list.
A number of other senior military and police officials and
militia indicted in East Timor and Indonesia for crimes against
humanity in East Timor are active in military operations in Aceh and
The House is scheduled to take up the Foreign Operations
Appropriations bill in July. However, the legislation is unlikely to
be finalized until after November's U.S. election.
ETAN advocates for democracy, justice and human rights for East
Timor and Indonesia. ETAN calls for an international tribunal to
prosecute crimes against humanity that took place in East Timor
since 1975 and continued restrictions on U.S. military assistance to
Indonesia until there is genuine reform of its security forces.