Subject: JP: US-Indonesia military ties still need strings attached - report

Also: Indonesia's Military Culture Has to Be Reformed by Gareth Evans

The ICG report can be found at

The Jakarta Post 
July 23, 2001


JAKARTA (JP): An international think tank, in its report on military ties between the United States and Indonesia, recommended that albeit seeking various positive engagements and dialog, Washington should continue attaching conditions to the provision of military assistance and training to the Indonesian Military (TNI).

Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG) argue, in its recently issued report, that TNI's recent track record and strong opposition in some corners of Washington warrant such conditions.

Among them is the insistence that any future U.S. assistance or training be predicated on Indonesia making the entire military budget a public record.

"Such transparency is a bare minimum to be expected from any modern military operating in a democratic system and could be achieved in the short term," the report said.

"The handling of the military budget remains central to any lasting military reform effort. No substantial progress toward military reform is really possible without support of budget reform."

The ICG is a private, multinational organization that regularly issues extensive analysis and recommendations on various international issues.

It has issued several reports on Indonesia this year covering issues that include Aceh, Irian Jaya and the political crisis.

The ICG includes former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari, former Australian foreign minister Gareth Evans, Nobel Peace Laureate Oscar Arias Sanchez and former Indian prime minister Inder Gujral.

The report was issued as the Bush Administration completed a policy review of military assistance toward Indonesia, which cited that despite being limited, military cooperation has symbolic significance and is often viewed as a barometer of ties between Jakarta and Washington.

The ICG said that, in the short term, U.S. assistance should still include progress on accountability for human rights abuses.

"Longer-term provision of support would need to revolve around the reform and possible eventual dismantling of the territorial force structure, conducted in concert with efforts to strengthen the professionalism of police forces in dealing with internal security," it said.

It argued that while it was not unreasonable that the TNI insist that the territorial structure be gradually taken apart due to the police's inability to maintain international security, it was ultimately self- serving.

"The police will never develop the skills and capability they need to do their job unless resources for internal security are increasingly channeled to them rather than the military," the ICG said.

"The territorial structure does need to be phased out and the logical transfer of responsibility for internal security from the TNI to the police needs to be accomplished in a coordinated fashion."

On large transfers of arms, the ICG felt that until Indonesia shows major improvements in stemming human rights abuses, such sales were not justified with exemptions for spare parts of existing equipment judged on a case-by-case basis.

The group, however, claims that the Bush Administration "is receptive to improving ties with the Indonesian military, albeit realistic about some of the U.S. Congressional hurdles".

The U.S. has supplied more than US $ 148 million worth of weapons and ammunition to Indonesia since 1993, including technical support and spare parts for previously sold U.S. aircraft and armored vehicles.

It all but ceased, however, following the crisis in Timor in late 1999.

Slowly, limited cooperation has been renewed but the 2001 Foreign Operations appropriations bill still contains clear provisions regarding potential military assistance to Indonesia.

Neither International Military Education Training (IMET) nor Foreign Military Financing (FMF) can be made available to Indonesia unless Bush submits a report to a Congressional committee that states Jakarta has met a number of basic standards with regards to human rights and its accountability.

These conditions include taking effective measures to bring to justice members of the TNI guilty of human rights abuses in East Timor.

As of 9 July, no Congressional certification had been submitted by the Bush Administration. The ICG said that in interviews with both administration officials and Congressional staff, none is expected before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.

But the ICG also said that the Bush administration has submitted a budget request for the fiscal year 2002 that includes $ 400,000 for IMET funding for Indonesia.

"However this money may well come with strings attached as well."

"The Administration will likely let the smoke clear from the ongoing Indonesian presidential crisis and see if some progress can be made on accountability issues, before it decides whether to move forward with any certification in the future."

International Herald Tribune 
July 24, 2001


Indonesia's Military Culture Has to Be Reformed

Gareth Evans

BRUSSELS Despite the continuing turmoil in Indonesia, foreign governments have quietly been reviewing their ties to the country's military. They have a real dilemma. . The United States, France, Britain and Australia all hope to maintain some level of influence with Jakarta, and to help the troubled nation and its military move toward reform. . On the other hand, there is the often glaring pattern of human rights abuses by the Indonesian military. I am one of those who has to acknowledge, as Australia's foreign minister at the time, that many of our earlier training efforts helped only to produce more professional human rights abusers.

Almost all military training and arms sales to Jakarta ended as a result of the violence and destruction that the military helped perpetrate in East Timor after the overwhelming vote by East Timorese for independence in 1999. Since then, more signs of social disintegration have appeared in other parts of the archipelago. For weeks, a presidential crisis has been paralyzing the political system. .

Secessionist or communal violence remains a major threat to security in several provinces, particularly Aceh, Irian Jaya and Maluku. The military and police have not performed well in any of these places. .

The European Union lifted its ban on arms sales only four months after September 1999. France led the sales push, followed by Britain. Australia, which was never a major arms supplier to Indonesia, is likely to limit any assistance to noncombat areas. Even at the lowest points of the political confrontation over East Timor, Australia maintained, for reasons that I can well understand, a skeleton military relationship with Indonesia. In its 2000-2001 budget it allocated military aid of $2.38 million for Indonesian officer education, noncombat training and maritime and air surveillance. . 

The Bush administration wants to expand military training programs and has undertaken an overall review of its military assistance policies toward Indonesia. The results of this review have yet to be made public. Any major shift in U.S. policy would send important signals about Washington's perspective on the future of Indonesian miliitary reform and the role of the military in Indonesian society. Unfortunately, Indonesia has not taken effective measures to bring to justice members of the armed forces and militia groups against whom there is credible evidence of human rights abuses in East Timor and Indonesia itself. Several investigations have been started. Charges have been pressed against a number of lower-ranking field officers, but convictions have been few. None involve senior officers, and a general culture of impunity still exists within the armed forces and among militia leaders. Several officers who held command positions in East Timor in 1999 have received promotions. Six Timorese arrested in connection with the killings in September of three staff members of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in West Timor received sentences ranging from 10 to 20 months in what the UNHCR quickly labeled "a mockery." Human rights abuses continue in Aceh, Irian Jaya and elsewhere in Indonesia. . 

Other problems are more deeply structural. Indonesia's armed forces are built around a territorial structure that deploys forces throughout the country more or less shadowing the civil government. It is estimated that only 25 to 30 percent of the military's funding comes from the government budget. The military must raise the rest on its own. . This desperately corrupting dynamic has severely distorted the capacity of the Indonesian armed forces to operate in anything approaching a satisfactory relationship with the government and society they are supposed to serve. . 

Changing the way the military is financed and thereby producing a genuine security budget will be one of Indonesia's most difficult internal reforms. . 

While it is probably too much to expect anyone to provide direct budgetary support for the military (although the World Bank should certainly consider this), outside players can have a constructive role here. . First and foremost, the United States and other donors should insist that providing any future assistance or training be predicated on the Indonesian government making the military's entire budget and expenditures a matter of public record. Such transparency is a bare minimum to be expected from any modern military operating in a democratic system. . 

Other useful short-term barometers for providing assistance could include progress on accountability for human rights abuses. This should be monitored throughout Indonesia, including Aceh and Irian Jaya, and not only focused on past activities in East Timor. Large-scale sales or transfers of arms from the United States are not justified until Indonesia shows major improvements in stemming human rights abuses. Exemptions for spare parts for some existing equipment should be judged on a case-by-case basis. . 

Some modest training programs could be resumed if the Indonesian government demonstrates progress toward reform and accountability. Officer training programs can help, particularly those focused on creating a new military culture and in particular instilling respect for civilian control. . Most importantly, international military ties with Indonesia must be viewed through the wider optic of reform facing the central government in Jakarta as a whole. The Indonesian military does not operate in a vacuum. . 

Efforts to reform the security services will not succeed unless accompanied by credible efforts by the government to combat corruption, decentralize power, promote the rule of law and bring much needed transparency to all public institutions.

The writer, who was Australia's foreign minister from 1988 to 1996, is president of the Brussels-based International Crisis Group. He contributed this comment to the International Herald Tribune.

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