Subject: JP: TNI 'armed' East Timor civilians

Also: Kiki Syahnakri: Unamet Must Take Responsibility

Jakarta Post October 25, 2007

TNI 'armed' East Timor civilians

Desy Nurhayati, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The former martial law commander in East Timor has acknowledged the existence of military-trained armed civilians in the former Indonesian province, but said they were legally justified "civilian defense groups".

Lt. Gen. (ret) Kiki Syahnakri told a public hearing here Wednesday that the wanra groups were civilians who were armed and trained by members of the Indonesian military (TNI).

In response to a commissioner's question on armed civilians, as cited in earlier testimonies, Kiki said that this probably referred to the groups of wanra (perlawanan rakyat, people's resistance), "which were part of the Indonesian defense system at that time."

"Wanra units were everywhere (in the country) including in East Timor," said Kiki.

The groups in East Timor, such as Alfa and Makikit, he said, "were trained in discipline and who were bound to certain rules."

The groups "were supplied with weapons but only to safeguard their neighborhoods," Kiki told the sixth public hearing held by the joint Indonesia-Timor Leste Commission for Truth and Friendship (CTF).

The right and obligation of civilians to defend the state, including through basic military training, is still recognized in the defense law.

Kiki was martial law commander in September 1999 until he handed over authority to international forces later that month. Martial law was declared in East Timor on Sept. 6 following widespread violence after the Aug. 30 referendum, which led to the independence of East Timor (Timor Leste).

Militias supporting both independence and integration with Indonesia have been accused of violence, but representatives of "pro-integration" groups testified earlier that they were trained by Indonesian military members.

Kiki said the civilian groups were formed on their own request following "intimidation" by fellow Timorese who were "pro-independence."

Commissioner Felicidade Guterres also questioned Kiki about a leader of the pro-integration militias who was a member of the army's special force, but Kiki said he had retired in 1997.

Kiki repeatedly denied the involvement of police or military officials in gross crimes against humanity in Timor Leste.

"There was no evidence of such actions. So why do these allegations keep cropping up?" He cited reports in the Guardian and Washington Post denying earlier reports on massacres.

If anyone should be held responsible, he said, one party would be the United Nations, which he alleged was part of the "international conspiracy" for Timor's separation from Indonesia.

In response to commissioner Achmad Ali, who asked who he would recommend for amnesty, Kiki said it was irrelevant.

"We were in East Timor on state duty, without committing any betrayal to our country," Kiki said.

The Wednesday session also heard the testimony of Col. Aris Martono, head of an army battalion deployed to East Timor's Los Palos regency in 1999. Aris denied earlier allegations that military members raped several women in the area.

The commission is scheduled to wrap up with a final report in January.


Kiki Syahnakri: Unamet Must Take Responsibility

Thursday, 25 October, 2007 | 17:00 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: Former East Timor military state of emergency commander, Lieut. Gen. (retired) Kiki Syahnakri, has said he belives that the violence and human right violations that occured after the 1999 referendum in East Timor was the responsibility of the United Nations Mission in East Timor (Unamet).

"They are the ones responsible," said Kiki during a hearing at the Indonesia-Timor Leste Truth & Friendship Commission yesterday (24/10).

On the occasion, Kiki denied the accusations that the perpetrator of all the violations was the Indonesian Military (TNI).

"We went there to secure and recover the condition in peace. It was a humanitarian mission ," he said.

When a military state of emergency was declared in East Timor, said Kiki, the conditions were far safer.

Unfortunately, this has always neem denied by Unamet.

When the UN envoy, Ian Martin, came, he said that Unamet's satellite dish was burned after the military state of emergency was declared in East Timor.

These factors, said Kiki, made him certain that East Timor's independence was a result of an international conspiracy.

Ian's manner, said Kiki, was showing the situation in Dili was not good so that international troops could be sent.

"From the facts, either those that I saw myself or those revealed by witnesses, the indication was there was an international conspiracy to make East Timor independent," said Kiki.

Besides Kiki, yesterday the commission also listened to the testimony of Infantry Colonel Aris Martono, the former Infantry 621 Battalion commander who was on duty in the area.

On the occasion, Aris disputed the accusation of Johny Markes, one of the former TNI militant commanders, that TNI committed mass rapes.

Johny accused Infantry 612 Battalion officers of kidnapping and raping 300 pro-independence women in Leutem on September 21, 1999.

"That's slander!" said Aris.

Titis Setianingtyas

Back to October menu
World Leaders Contact List
Main Postings Menu