Subject: SCU: Mayor Indictment charges 4 TNI Officers and Tavares

INFORMATION RELEASE FROM THE SERIOUS CRIMES UNIT

MAJOR INDICTMENT CHARGES FOUR TNI OFFICERS AND HEAD OF EAST TIMOR MILITIA JOAO TAVARES FOR APRIL 1999 ATROCITIES

The Deputy General Prosecutor for Serious Crimes has today issued a new indictment to the Special Panel for Serious Crimes of Dili District Court. The indictment charges 15 TNI members and 17 Militia members with Crimes Against Humanity for murder, torture, persecution and other crimes committed in Cailaco and Maliana Sub-districts of Bobonaro District between March and April 1999. The accused include four Indonesian TNI Officers and Joao Tavares, the Commander of the East Timor Militia Forces in 1999.

The indictment specifically charges Lt. Col. Siagian, who was the TNI Military Commander for Bobonaro District, and Lt. Sutrisno , who was the Head of TNI Military Intelligence for Bobonaro District, Joao Tavares, who was the East Timor Militia Commander, and Jorge Tavares, the Head of the FPDK Pro-Indonesia political group in Bobonaro District as responsible for the killing of three men by TNI members in Poegoa village on 12 April 1999 in Cailaco Sub-district. It is alleged that Joao Tavares ordered the killing of one of the men.

The indictment also charges a total of 15 TNI and militia members with Crimes Against Humanity (murder) for the subsequent killing of four men behind the SGI Military Intelligence post in Marco village on the same day. The victims who included a Village Chief and two schoolteachers were shot to death one after another by a group of TNI and militia members including Lt. Sutrisno. Those charged include Lt.Col. Siagian, Joao Tavares and Jorge Tavares who were present during the four murders at the SGI post.

In the indcitment for the widespread attack on the civilian population of Bobonaro District, TNI Officers and Militia Commanders as well as TNI and militia members are charged in a series of other incidents in Cailaco and Maliana Sub-districts. This includes a further six killings in Cailaco Sub-district, the torture of perceived pro-Independence supporters, the forcible transfer of population and persecution by unlawful detention and the destruction of property of pro-Independence leaders and supporters.

The indictment also includes Crimes Against Humanity charges for the torture of two CNRT political leaders in two separate incidents in Maliana town. Lt.Col. Siagian and Lt. Sutrisno are charged with the torture and illegal imprisonment of a CNRT leader and a pro-independence supporter. Joao Tavares is charged as being responsible as a superior for the torture of a second CNRT leader at Tavares' house in April 1999.

All of the accused are believed to be in the Republic of Indonesia. Arrest Warrants have been requested from the Dili District Court which will be forwarded to the Attorney General of the Repubic of Indonesia. The arrest warrrants will also be forwarded to Interpol as Timor Leste joined the Interpol organisation in 2002.

4 February 2003


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