Subject: DT: Fury as Indonesian 'army killer' returns to E Timor

Also: Megawati's security chiefs survey East Timor

May 12 2002 Daily Telgraph

Fury as Indonesian 'army killer' returns to E Timor By Philip Sherwell in Maliana, near the East Timor-Indonesia border (Filed: 12/05/2002)

IN a calculated snub to the United Nations and Europe, the prime suspect in the murder of a Financial Times journalist in East Timor in 1999 returned to the territory last week as part of an official Indonesian military delegation on a goodwill visit.

Lt Camilo dos Santos, an East Timorese officer serving in the Indonesian army, has been promoted to the role of general's adjutant, even though he is the subject of investigations by the UN, Holland and Indonesia.

At midnight next Sunday, East Timor will become the first new state of the 21st century , in accordance with the result of a 1999 referendum. The nation's birth will be a humiliating moment for the Indonesian military that organised local militia in a brutal effort to crush the independence movement before and after the plebiscite.

By sending Lt dos Santos to a border-opening ceremony attended by the head of the interim UN administration and East Timorese political leaders, senior Indonesian officers were displaying a provocative defiance. His presence was brought to the attention of shocked officials by The Telegraph. Sergio Vieira de Mello, the Brazilian head of the UN mission, looked dismayed. Commissioner Peter Miller, the Canadian UN police chief, said that "this occasion is not the time to act", while Mari Alkatiri, East Timor's chief minister, was clearly furious.

Lt dos Santos had sat just behind Mr de Mello during the ceremony and seemed in a relaxed mood later. When I confronted him about the allegations that he shot Sander Thoenes, a Dutch journalist working for the Financial Times in Dili on September 21, 1999, he replied: "I know nothing about that journalist."

Was he aware that Dutch and UN investigators said he was the main suspect? "Yes, yes, I know," he said. "But there's no proof." He added that the "past is the past", that he would like to return to live in East Timor one day and that he would be happy to answer the accusations in court.

Lt dos Santos had been serving in his native East Timor - then under occupation by Jakarta - with the Indonesian army's Battalion 745 when the territory voted overwhelmingly for independence. The battalion responded with a murderous rampage as it withdrew to neighbouring West Timor in Indonesia. Thoenes was one of up to 20 of its victims.

The three-day killing spree - one of 10 "priority" cases of atrocities under UN investigation - was allegedly led by a motorcycle squad from Battalion 745 including Lt dos Santos. Indonesia's failure to move against the alleged killers - most of whom, like the lieutenant, still serve in the army, even though the battalion was disbanded - has led to a diplomatic row between Jakarta and the West.

A report by a Dutch police investigator concluded that Thoenes had been shot in the back by Lt dos Santos. The Dutch and other European Union governments have urged Jakarta to act.

Indonesia belatedly sent three investigators to East Timor, but they are understood to have reported insufficient evidence to act. The man who said he saw Lt dos Santos shoot Thoenes was an unreliable witness, they concluded, although their Dutch and UN counterparts praised his evidence.

Under pressure from the West, Jakarta recently set up a human-rights tribunal to hear cases against 18 soldiers, officials and militia members, but not Lt dos Santos.

The Dutch report also details a deliberate plan by the senior officers of Battalion 745 to conduct a brutal "scorched earth" policy. A battalion member said Lt dos Santos told retreating soldiers: "If you find anything, just shoot it." The motorcycle teams led by example, blasting away at the people and animals they came across en route.

Former 745 members have also told investigators of an initiation ceremony that Lt dos Santos organised for new recruits: drinking palm wine mixed with the blood of a dog and fellow soldiers.

Since leaving East Timor, Lt dos Santos has been serving in Battalion 743 in West Timor. He was included in the Indonesian party on Thursday as adjutant to Gen William da Costa, the senior regional officer. The general brushed off questions about Lt dos Santos's past, saying he had not been convicted of any crime.

Despite the strength of evidence, the UN has not as yet issued an arrest warrant as it wants Jakarta's inquiries to be completed first. Nonetheless, senior UN officials were privately furious that Lt dos Santos had been among the Indonesian party.

Gen da Costa will be told that if he accepts an invitation to attend next week's independence celebrations, he should not bring his adjutant along again.

"That would be very embarrassing for everyone," said a UN official. "And, who Megawati's security chiefs survey East Timor


Megawati's security chiefs survey East Timor

DILI, May 12, (AFP) - Indonesia's intelligence chief flew into East Timor for talks with top officials here at the weekend to determine whether it is safe for President Megawati Sukarnoputri to attend the former Indonesian province's independence celebrations on May 19-20.

Retired lieutenant general, A.M. Hendropiyono, met the UN chief administrator in East Timor, Sergio Vieira de Mello, Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta and Dili's Bishop Felipe Carlos Ximenes Belo on Saturday during a 24-hour visit.

"His visit to East Timor had to do with a security risk assessment to enable the president to make a final decision," Ramos Horta told AFP.

The East Timorese leadership is eager for Megawati to join a host of world leaders at its independence declaration ceremony next Sunday night.

President-elect Xanana Gusmao travelled to Jakarta to personally invite her to the landmark event, reinforcing an earlier invitation from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

But Megawati, who is facing fierce parliamentary opposition to her presence at the independence party, has still not given an official reply.

Legislators still bitter at the loss of East Timor in the August 1999 UN-run ballot say too many issues remain unresolved between Indonesia and its former province, and that domestic sensitivities to its breakaway are still too high.

Hendropriyono was followed by a team of presidential security and protocol officers, Ramos Horta said.

On Sunday the team was surveying the seafront capital Dili, where charred shells of buildings still bear testimony to the Indonesian army-backed militia rampage that followed East Timor's vote for independence.

"They will then go back and the president will make a final decision," said Ramos Horta, who also chairs the independence celebration committee.

"But I believe they have found among us absolute cooperation at every level to ensure not only the security of President Megawati Sukarnoputri, if she decides to come, but of every single invitee of every country."

Former US President Bill Clinton, Australian Prime Minister John Howard, and the president and prime minister of former colonial ruler Portugal are among leaders of delegations from 80 nations who will attend the massive two-day independence ceremonies.

A liturgical mass will kick off the celebrations at sunset on May 19 at a lake on Dili's outskirts.

Annan will hand over sovereignty from the United Nations, which has been administering East Timor since October 1999, and the UN flag will be lowered.

At the stroke of midnight East Timor's parliamentary speaker Francisco "Lu Olo" Guterres will declare independence, the East Timor flag will be raised, and Guterres will swear in former rebel leader Gusmao as president.

The ceremony will mark the official end of the tiny half-island's long and bloody struggle for independence, after almost five centuries of foreign rule including Portugal's 450 year colonial regime and Indonesia's brutal 24-year occupation.

Indonesian troops and their proxy local militias unleashed an orgy of violence after the vote for independence, decimating four-fifths of the territory's infrastructure and killing hundreds of independence supporters.

Ramos Horta said there was no ill-feeling towards Megawati for the 1999 violence.

"I do not expect anti-Indonesian demonstrations, quite the contrary," he said.

"Our people understand how important is the visit of President Megawati and they also know how much effort she has made to normalise relations with East Timor, and we're all very impressed with the leadership and statesmanship she has shown so far."

see http://www.yayasanhak.minihub.org/mot/Hendropriyono.htm for Hendropriyono's sordid background


Back to May menu
April

World Leaders Contact List
Human Rights Violations in East Timor
Main Postings Menu

Note: For those who would like to fax "the powers that be" - CallCenter is a Native 32-bit Voice Telephony software application integrated with fax and data communications... and it's free of charge! Download from http://www.v3inc.com/