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Subject: ETHRC UA 10/98: East Timor killing
Date: Thu, 25 Jun 1998 19:21:07 -1000
From: ethrc <>

EAST TIMOR HUMAN RIGHTS CENTRE 124 Napier St Fitzroy 3065 Australia PO BOX 1413 Collingwood 3066 Australia Tel: +61 3 9415 8225 Fax: +61 3 9415 8218 E-mail: Director: Ms Maria Brett Chair: Bishop Hilton Deakin ________________________________________________________________________

URGENT ACTION 25 June 1998

NAME: Herman Dasdores Soares, 21

VIOLATION: Extra-judicial Execution

LOCATION: Obrato village, Manatuto district, East Timor

Ref: UA 10/98 ________________________________________________________________________

On 16 June 1998, a 21-year-old East Timorese man, Herman Dasdores Soares, was shot dead in the village of Obrato, Manatuto district, East Timor, by a member of the Indonesian military. It is alleged soldier Agus Medi of the Indonesian Territorial Battalion 315 is responsible for the killing.

The details surrounding the killing remain unclear, however, it is believed the Indonesian soldier shot Herman Soares in the leg and chest while he and his cousin, Olandino Soares, were collecting wood from the road. The Indonesian soldier said he shot at the two East Timorese men because he believed they were stealing wood which belonged to the military.

Various accounts of the killing have stated that the two men were shot at without warning and that the Indonesian soldier used a level of force which was completely unnecessary, given that the two men were only suspected of stealing wood. One media report stated that Herman Soares was initially hit in the leg and when he climbed back into the car to escape, he was shot again, this time in the chest. (The Australian, 20 June 1998). Even the Indonesian military has acknowledged that unnecessary force was used. Colonel Mujiono, Deputy Chief of the East Timor Military Command said: "Our people were at fault. There was no reason for shots to be fired". (South China Morning Post, 19 June 1998).

After the shooting, nearby Indonesian soldiers did not assist the wounded man who was bleeding heavily. An ETHRC source reported that some Indonesian soldiers wanted to shoot Olandino Soares as well, but it is believed one of the soldiers said: "let him live to take care of his friend". As no assistance was provided by the Indonesian military, Olandino Soares had to take his wounded cousin by public transport to the Manatuto health centre. The health centre did not have the equipment and personnel to treat him and it was decided to transfer him to a hospital in Dili. Herman Soares died of excessive bleeding en route to the Dili hospital.

Herman Soares' body was taken to his family in Dili and on 18 May, his coffin was carried to the Santa Cruz cemetery to be buried, amid a mass demonstration by 10,000 East Timorese people who were protesting the killing. The demonstration continued on to the local Parliament.

The East Timor Human Rights Centre (ETHRC) welcomes the public apology offered by Colonel Mudjino in which he said: "We apologise for the incident. We have arrested one officer accused of killing the man…What has happened was a mistake by the armed forces. I have ordered a thorough investigation." (Reuters, 17 June 1998).

The alleged perpetrator of the killing, Agus Medi, was arrested and it is believed he was due to stand trial in the military tribunal on Thursday 25 June. The ETHRC welcomes the military trial, which will be useful as an internal investigation of the incident, however, the ETHRC believes the Indonesian authorities need to go much further to ensure that the perpetrator of the extra-judicial execution is brought to justice.

The ETHRC therefore makes the following recommendations:

1. A full and impartial investigation into the extra-judicial execution of Herman Dasdores Soares should be undertaken by the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM). It is important that a Komnas HAM investigation is conducted in addition to the investigation being undertaken by the military tribunal, as it is believed Komnas HAM will be able to conduct an investigation which is fair and impartial and accords with international standards.

2. The soldier responsible for the killing should be charged under the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) and should face a criminal trial for his actions. If he is found guilty, the court should hand down a sentence which reflects the seriousness of the crime.


The ETHRC is concerned about the continuing high level of extra-judicial executions in East Timor. Herman Dasdores Soares' killing is the fifth extra-judicial execution reported by the ETHRC this year. In 1997, the ETHRC received reports of 52 East Timorese civilians who were believed to have been killed by Indonesian security force personnel. Details of the 1997 executions are contained in the East Timor Human Rights Centre's Annual Report of Human Rights Violations dated 17 February 1998.


Please send faxes/telegrams/express or airmail letters in English, Bahasa Indonesia or your own language:

* calling on the Indonesian government to request the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) to conduct a full and impartial investigation into the extra-judicial execution of Herman Dasdores Soares; and * calling on the Indonesian government to ensure that Agus Medi is charged under the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) and faces a criminal trial for his actions. If he is found guilty, the court should hand down a sentence which reflects the seriousness of the crime.


1. PRESIDENT YUSUF HABIBIE President of the Republic of Indonesia Istana Negara Gedung Binagraha Jl. Veteran Jakarta Pusat INDONESIA Faxes: +62 21 345 7782 Telegrams: President Habibie, Jakarta, Indonesia

2. MINISTER OF JUSTICE Minister Prof. Dr. Muladi, SH Menteri Kehakiman Jl H.R. Rasuna Said Blok X VI Kav. 4-5 Kuningan Jakarta Selatan INDONESIA Faxes: +62 21 525 3095 Telegrams: Justice Minister Muladi, Jakarta, Indonesia


3. SECRETARY GENERAL, NATIONAL COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS Prof. Dr. Baharuddin Lopa Sekretaris Jenderal, Komisi Nasional Hak Azasi Manusia (Komnas HAM) Jl Latuharhary No 4 B, Menteng Jakarta Pusat INDONESIA Phone/Fax: +62 21 392 5227 Email:

4. MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS Ali Alatas S.H Menteri Luar Negeri Jl. Medan Taman Pejambon No. 6 Jakarta INDONESIA Faxes: +62 21 360 541 / 360 517 / 380 5511 / 345 7782 / 724 5354


* Diplomatic representatives of Indonesia in your country * Parliamentarians and the Foreign Ministry in your country

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY Check with the East Timor Human Rights Centre if sending appeals after 6 August 1998