Subject: JP: indon military attempts to shift E. Timor blame onto UN

Also: Jakarta general says Timor suspect saved thousands

The Jakarta Post April 12, 2002

Military attempts to shift E. Timor blame onto UN

Tiarma Siboro, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Indonesian Military (TNI) seems to be trying to use the on-going ad hoc human rights trial to wash its hands of gross human rights violations in East Timor, blaming the United Nations and civilian authorities for the bloody terror campaign in the territory in 1999.

Taking the witness seat on Thursday, former Udayana military commander Maj. Gen. Adam Damiri and former Wiradharma military subdistrict commander Brig. M. Noer Muis accused the United Nations Mission in East Timor (Unamet) of provoking a massive rampage in the former Indonesian province following the 1999 ballot.

Former TNI chief Gen. (retired) Wiranto, who testified before the same court last week, also blamed the UN for killings.

Wiranto repeated his allegations during the launching of his book, "Goodbye East Timor, An Effort to Tell the Truth, Wiranto's Testament", (Selamat Jalan Timor Timur, Pergulatan Menguak Kebenaran, Penuturan Apa Adanya Seorang Wiranto), saying that "there are a few people who are proud to see Indonesia as the second country in the world, after Yugoslavia, where a rights' tribunal is being held to try military and police personnel, ignoring their dedication to their country."

Meanwhile, Adam Damiri and Noer Muis said that Unamet's decision to speed up the announcement of the vote result from Sept. 7 to Sept. 4 sparked anger among pro-integration East Timorese, who felt they were cheated.

The Unamet-declared victory for the pro-independence group on Sept. 4, 1999, came after some 344,508 of the 438,890 East Timorese elected for independence. At the time, the total East Timorese population was about 441,227 people.

Both Adam and Muis testified as witnesses during a six-hour cross-examination in the court, where Brig. Gen. Timbul Silaen, former East Timor police chief, is on trial on charges of committing gross human rights violations in East Timor in 1999.

Silaen has been charged under Article 9 of Law No. 26/2000 on Rights Tribunals with the killing of civilians in separate locations in East Timor, including the Liquisa incident on April 6, 1999, and attacks by pro-Jakarta militias on the residences of pro-independence leaders, Manuel Viegas Carrascalao and Leandro Isaac, on April 17, 1999.

Silaen is also charged with being responsible for gross human rights violations perpetrated during separate attacks on Sept.6 by militias, along with military and police personnel. The attacks were on the St. Ave Maria Church in Suai, where at least 27 people died, and on the residence of Bishop Carlos Felipe Ximenes Belo in Dili.

"Rather than giving a positive response to the report by the pro-Jakarta group over the cheating by Unamet, they (Unamet) decided to move forward the announcement of the results from Sept. 7 to Sept. 4.

"Unamet treated the pro-Jakarta East Timorese unfairly by recruiting only pro-independence people as its local staffers. This, of course, affected the ballot process," Adam, the incumbent operational assistant to the Indonesian Military's (TNI) chief of general affairs, told the court.

When Presiding Judge Andi Samsan Nganro asked Adam who was the Unamet official that decided to speed up the announcement of the ballot results, Adam said: "Ian Martin ... he was the Unamet chairman."

Meanwhile, Muis defended Silaen, saying that the defendant "had done everything he could to stop the violence, including saving Belo's life during the Sept. 6 attack on his residence by flying him in a police helicopter to Bacau from Dili, prior to his evacuation to Darwin, Australia, the next day."

Muis was officially assigned as the commander of the now defunct Wiradharma military subdistrict from Aug. 13, 1999 to March, 30, 1999 when TNI Headquarters decided to dissolve it.

According to Muis, the pro-Jakarta group launched an attack to Belo's residence as the result of information they had received that several ballot boxes were being stored in his house. This, of course, was against the rules, Muis told the court.

Responding to Judge Andi's demand for supporting documents to prove Unamet's cheating, Muis said that the votes of at least 142,578 East Timorese were not counted due to the loss of about 89 ballot boxes. Unamet staffers had also intimidated East Timorese people deemed to be pro-Jakarta.

"Maybe that number was not enough to influence the result ... but still, Unamet ignored the pro-Jakarta group," Muis said.

The trial adjourned until April 18 to hear other witnesses.

Earlier in the day, the same court hearing the case against former East Timor governor Abilio Jose Osorio Soares decided to adjourn the trial until April 17 and April 18 as the witnesses had failed to appear before the court.


Received from Joyo Indonesian News

Jakarta general says Timor suspect saved thousands

JAKARTA, April 11 (Reuters) - The highest-ranking Indonesian officer implicated in a wave of violence that swept East Timor in 1999 defended its former police chief on Thursday, telling a court he had saved the lives of thousands of U.N. personnel.

The high-profile trial is widely seen by the international community as a test of whether Jakarta is serious in bringing to book those responsible for the carnage that erupted when the tiny territory voted to split from Indonesia.

Army Major-General Adam Damiri also told the judges that East Timor's Nobel laureate Bishop Carlos Belo owed his life to the head of the police after groups of machete-wielding militia attacked his home.

"I did not see nor hear that (Timor police chief) Timbul Silaen let it happen. If there is such indication, I think 4,000 UNAMET members would have never gone home," Damiri said, referring to the U.N. mission that administered the August 30, 1999, vote.

"I received reports that Bishop Belo and the refugees were saved...if the military and police did not act probably the bishop would be dead right now," the officer said.

Silaen is charged with crimes against humanity for allowing the gangs, many supported by Indonesia's military, to kill pro-independence East Timorese on four separate occasions.

The United Nations estimates 1,000 people were killed by pro-Jakarta militias before and after the independence vote that ended 24 years of often brutal Indonesian rule.

Former East Timor governor Abilio Soares is also charged with crimes against humanity but his case was not heard on Thursday as an expected witness did not turn up.

The trial of both men was adjourned until April 18.

Indonesia opened its first hearings into the East Timor violence at the new court on March 14 in a bid to convince a sceptical international community that the people responsible for the bloodshed would be held accountable.

Another set of trials into the violence, involving lower-ranking security officers, is also running at different times but rights groups are sceptical of both.

Human rights workers doubt whether the trials will adequately punish those responsible for the bloodshed and say a key flaw is the failure of the authorities to put former military chief Wiranto on trial.

During and immediately after the East Timor independence poll, Damiri was the regional commander of the chain of islands east of Java that included East Timor.

He is also the highest-ranked among three generals on the list of 18 suspects in the cases.

The United Nations continues to administer East Timor until its formal independence on May 20.


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