|Subject: SMH: Sex slaves the prize for
army, Timor court told
Sydney Morning Herald
May 2, 2003
Sex slaves the prize for army, Timor court told
By Jill Jolliffe in Dili
An Indonesian official has described the former East Timor governor Mario Carrascalao as unstable, following his allegations that the Indonesian Army systematically forced Timorese women to be sex slaves for officers and then killed their husbands.
Mr Carrascalao, head of the Social Democrat Party, spoke on Tuesday during hearings by the Reception, Truth and Reconciliation Commission into human rights violations against East Timorese women since 1974. He said the practice was "part of the system" for the Indonesian military.
"The perpetrators were military officers with territorial functions and these women were the rewards available to senior-ranking officers."
In Jakarta, a military spokesman, Colonel Djazairi Nachrowi, denied the existence of such a system.
"We have to take into account that the statements came from a former governor who had betrayed his own country," he told Associated Press. "He is probably frustrated or unstable because of psychological stress."
A range of women from different districts and age groups testified at the hearings to having been raped, tortured and forced to live as sex slaves during the 24-year occupation.
Beatriz Miranda Guterres spoke as a survivor of the 1983 Kraras massacre, in Viqueque district. Her child had died at the time of the killings and the military had taken her husband away, she said.
She was later forced to have sex with a Kopassus soldier under the threat that other villagers would be murdered if she did not. She was made to live with him for a year, became pregnant, and miscarried. When he finished his tour of duty, she said, she was taken by a different soldier, by whom she had a child, and was then handed over to his successor when he too returned to Java.
Mr Carrascalao said that, as the Indonesian-appointed governor of East Timor between 1982 and 1992, he had received thousands of letters from women telling of rapes and killings, which he would contribute to the archives of the truth and reconciliation commission.
He alleged that the Indonesian military had made it a policy to force the wives of guerilla fighters to live with them. "Soldiers then killed their husbands," he said.
He described it as "an organised effort to crush the mentality of the East Timorese people" in order to control and dominate them.
Mr Carrascalao began his evidence by saying he had been powerless to stop the abuses because "in Indonesian law the governor had no power to punish the military, or even members of the civil administration".
"All I could do was to lodge formal complaints, and I did."
It was important to speak out, he said, "because East Timor lives in the midst of so many lies. It will never have lasting peace while lies are presented as truth. The younger generation needs to know."
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