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also Excerpts from East Timor 1999 Crimes against Humanity A Report Commissioned by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) By Geoffrey Robinson

Excerpts from Timor-Leste's CAVR Report on the Carrascalao House Massacre (April 17, 1999)

From 7.2 Unlawful Killings and Enforced Disappearances



Photo: 2009 Commemoration of Massacre at the house of Manuel Carrascalao. Lao Hamutuk.

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Human Rights & Justice page


p 255

785. Less than two weeks after the massacre at the Liquiça Church, BMP and Aitarak militia members, together with TNI, killed at least 19 people* in Dili on 17 April 1999 during an attack on the home of Manuel Carrascalão.902 Once again, the attack showed clear signs of military and militia cooperation.

786. The attack took place after a large gathering of some 5,000 members of Integration Fighters’ Force (Pasukan Pejuang Integrasi, PPI) in front of the Governor’s Office in the centre of Dili. During the rally the Aitarak leader, M76, incited the crowd to capture and kill those who did not support integration with Indonesia. The rally was attended by senior government officials, including the provincial Governor, Abilio Soares, the District Administrator of Dili, Domingos Soares, the East Timor military commander, Colonel Tono Suratman, the assistant for operations to the army chief of staff, Major General Kiki Syahnakri, and four other senior military officers. When the rally was finished, M76 led a large group of militia on a parade through Dili. They attacked various targets along the way before reaching the home of Manuel Carrascalão. Approximately 150 refugees were sheltering there, having fled other attacks such as that in Liquiça. In the attack on the house, Aitarak and BMP militia killed Manuel Carrascalão’s teenaged son, Manuelito. Others were killed or severely injured by militia who wielded machetes and knives. Among those killed were Eduardo de Jesus, Alberto dos Santos, Antonio da Silva Soares, Januario Pereira, Raul dos Santos Cancela, João dos Santos, Crisanto dos Santos, Rafael da Silva, Afonso Ribeiro and César dos Santos. Augustinho Benito X. Lay, who was severely wounded during the attack, survived. Some of the refugees tried to climb over the fence to escape but could not because the house was surrounded by armed men. Multiple witnesses have confirmed that TNI officers in plain clothes from the Koramil in Maubara participated in the attack. Furthermore, the commanding TNI officer for East Timor, Colonel Tono Suratman, refused to intervene when Manuel Carrascalão requested that he stop the attack.


Multiple witnesses have confirmed that TNI officers in plain clothes from the Koramil in Maubara participated in the attack. Furthermore, the commanding TNI officer for East Timor, Colonel Tono Suratman, refused to intervene when Manuel Carrascalão requested that he stop the attack.

787. The massacre at the house of Manuel Carrascalão was not the only fatal incident in Dili that day. Manuel Pinto, a clandestine member who had just arrived at the Becora bus terminal from Baucau, was killed in the attack by TNI and militia members, including M75. He was taken wounded to the Motael Clinic where he died.903

788. After the 17 April massacre, the village of Hera (Dili) became a focus of intensive violence. On 20 April Luis Dias, a Fretilin member, was killed in Hera by militia and TNI members.904 On or about 1 May Longuinhos da Silva de Jesus, a well-known independence supporter in Metinaro, was arrested and taken away by Aitarak commander M77. His body was found a few days later on the beach near Hera.905 On or about 8 May Thomás Ximenes and Sebastião Gusmão were killed by members of the Aitarak militia group in Hera.906

p 308-309

924. Impunity created a context where the unlawful killing or enforced disappearance of civilians was tolerated, supported and condoned. As in earlier years when ABRI/TNI launched operations against the civilian population, it mobilised all branches of security apparatus, including auxiliaries, and much of the civil administration in pursuit of its goals. Throughout this period ABRI/TNI, the police and militia groups acted in a coordinated manner. Military bases were openly used as militia headquarters, and military equipment, including firearms, were distributed to militia groups. Some ABRI/TNI personnel were also militia commanders or members. ABRI/TNI intelligence officers provided lists of the names of people to be targeted, and coordinated attacks. Civilian authorities openly provided state funding for militia groups and participated in militia rallies and other activities.

925. The extent of this collusion is illustrated by the following cases:


On 17 April 1999, at the end of a pro-autonomy rally in front of the Governor’s Office in Dili attended by Governor of East Timor, the District Administrator of Dili, the Mayor of Dili, the provincial military commander, Colonel Tono Suratman, the Assistant for Operations to the Army Chief of Staff, Major General Kiki Syahnakri, the Regional Military Commander (Udayana), Adam Damiri, and two other senior military officers, Aitarak militia conducted a violent rampage, culminating with the attack on the house of Manuel Carrascalão where hundreds of displaced persons had sought refuge.


from Chapter 7.4: Arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment

p. 228

Dili, 17 April 1999

724. A member of the Sakunar militia, told the Commission of the rally of militias in Dili on 17 April 1999, and the violent attacks after this rally:

On 17 April 1999, I attended the mass inauguration of prointegration militias [the PPI] in Dili, with 40 members of Sakunar militia from the aldeia of Sakato in Oecusse. [The PPI] in Dili was under the leadership of commander in chief João Tavares, and his deputy, Eurico Guterres, who was also the commander of Aitarak. After the ceremony, all the pro-integration militias including Sakunar militia paraded around the city of Dili, led by Eurico Guterres. In the parade, all the militias used two and four-wheeled vehicles from the [East Timor] Regional Police Headquarters. When we arrived in the house of Manuel Carrascalão near the Dili Tropical, some militia open fired at the door and windows and they started to burn the house. 995

725. Francisco da Silva Seraun and Raul dos Santos were hiding in the bathroom of Manuel Carrascalão’s house when it was attacked. They were found by a member of BMP called Francisco Afonso do Rosario. Francisco Da Silva Seraun told the Commission:

So we immediately surrendered…While our hands were up in the air T268 cut Raul's left hand…Then T268 called Raul and stabbed him in the back. Again, Raul was stabbed in the chest with two knives that went all the way through to his back until he died. Then Brimob [Mobile Brigade police] rescued us…They took us to the Sub-district police headquarters near the old market. When we arrived at the Sub-district police headquarters I was separated with two other prisoners, Santiago Canselo and Filomeno, from the other refugees. We were held in the Regional Police Headquarters in Comoro for three days and not given any food or drink. We were interrogated by a police officer…I didn’t know who had put a stone in the mouth of my friend, André Seraun…[T]hen Lieutenant-Colonel Paul asked me to look at my friend. He said: "See, your friend is eating a stone now; how can people like you want independence?”.996

726. Another attack was carried out at Meti-Aut (East Dili, Dili) on 17 April. Agapito Ximenes described how 15 militia members smashed up the house of clandestine member Carlito, then verbally abused the youths in the area. When five youths ran off the militia members shot at them
and four were wounded, Carlos da Silva, João Baptista Julião da Costa Xavier and Agapito Ximenes himself.997 Amnesty International also reported that Antonio Barbosa, a civil servant and independence activist, was arrested at his home on the same day by unknown perpetrators.998


from Part 3: The History of the Conflict

552. Following killings in Mauboke (Maubara, Liquiça) and on the eve of the killings in the Liquiça Church, on 5 April Xanana Gusmão issued an angry statement authorising a ”general popular insurrection” against the continuing militia violence.713 The next day the militia killed as many as 60 refugees in the Liquiça Church, with the presence and involvement of military and Brimob (see Chapter 7.2: Unlawful Killings and Enforced Disappearances, section on 1999). Senior TNI officers had been seen at the church immediately prior to the event.714 Militia then killed seven people in Cailaco (Bobonaro) on 12 April. After a mass rally in front of the Governor’s office in Dili on 17 April, at which Aitarak leader Eurico Guterres told militia to “capture and kill (independence supporters) if necessary”,715 militia rampaged through Dili. At Manuel Carrascalão’s house they killed 12 people.716 Irish Foreign Minister David Andrews was meeting in Dili with East Timor military commander Colonel Tono Suratman at this time, and observed him receive the report of the massacre and do nothing. The militia also attacked and burnt down the offices of the one newspaper in the territory, Suara Timor Timur (STT, Voice of East Timor). Though it had traditionally been a mouthpiece for Indonesian policies, in late 1998 and early 1999, STT had provided a relatively neutral coverage of the rising violence and support for a referendum, enraging staunch pro-integrationists. Amid the rising violence of April, members of the clergy and nuns of the Catholic Church conducted a candle-lit peace march through the streets of Dili in an effort to calm the situation.

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Excerpts from East Timor 1999 Crimes against Humanity


By Geoffrey Robinson
University of California Los Angeles
July 2003

10.3 Carrascalão House Massacre (April 17, 1999)

At least 12 people were killed in Dili on April 17, 1999 when militiamen and TNI soldiers attacked the home of a prominent citizen, Manuel Carrascalão.* The dead were among some 150 people who had sought refuge there from mounting militia violence elsewhere in the territory. The attack highlights the close cooperation between the militias and military and civilian authorities in committing acts of violence in 1999. It also offers evidence of the direct involvement of TNI soldiers in the violation of human rights, and of the complicity of high-ranking TNI officers in those acts.


In his keynote address, Guterres openly incited those present to "cleanse" and kill supporters of independence and "traitors,"... The procession quickly degenerated into a violent rampage, in which the homes, vehicles, and offices of alleged supporters of independence were attacked and destroyed.

The attack took place in the early afternoon, shortly after a large pro-autonomy rally in front of the Governor's office. Attended by some 5,000 people, including key government officials and as many as 1,645 militiamen, -- the rally marked the formal inauguration of the militia group Aitarak, under the leadership of Eurico Guterres. In his keynote address, Guterres openly incited those present to "cleanse" and kill supporters of independence and "traitors," and in particular members of the Carrascalão family. According to one account of the event, Guterres urged them to "conduct a cleansing of all those who have betrayed integration. Capture and kill them if you need to."

A secret TNI report on the events of April 17 provided a fuller account of Guterres remarks. According to that document, Guterres said:

"Aitarak forces are going to carry out a cleansing operation (operasi sisir) against civil servants who have used official facilities while being traitors to the integration struggle. Aitarak forces are going to crush (memberantas) anyone ? be they government officials, community leaders or businessmen ? who has assisted the anti-integration camp. Aitarak forces will not hesitate to kill (menghabisi) Mario Viegas Carrascalão and his circle, who have been traitors."

The rally ended at about 11:15 a.m. with a volley of gunfire from some two dozen militiamen. Immediately thereafter, the militias and others began a mass procession through the streets of Dili. The procession quickly degenerated into a violent rampage, in which the homes, vehicles, and offices of alleged supporters of independence were attacked and destroyed. Among the first targets of the violence was the office of East Timor's only newspaper, the Suara Timor Timur. Although it was owned by a supporter of integration, the militias were evidently angry with the paper's reporting on the Liquica Church massacre of April 6. For that reason, a group of the Liquica-based militia, BMP, attacked the office, threatening local staff and foreign journalists, and destroying much of the equipment. Elsewhere in the city, militias burned or destroyed houses, shops and vehicles.*

The rampage through Dili culminated in the attack on the home of Manuel Carrascalão. Carrascalão's home was targeted, in part, because the pro-integration side considered him a traitor. Once a supporter of integration with Indonesia, and the brother of a former Governor of East Timor, in recent years Manuel Carrascalão had become more critical of the Indonesian authorities, and had formed a moderate pro-independence organization called the Movement for the Reconciliation and Unification of the People of East Timor (Gerakan Rekonsiliasi dan Persatuan Rakyat Timor Timur - GRPRTT).

Carrascalão's home was also targeted because he had offered it as a place of refuge for people who had fled from mounting violence in Turiscai, Maubara, Liquica, and Alas. In the weeks after refugees had begun to take shelter there, he had received numerous threats. Carrascalão later told Amnesty International he believed those threats had been "prompted by the fact that many of the people he was sheltering were witnesses to human rights violations elsewhere in East Timor."

Sometime early in the afternoon of April 17, a group of Aitarak and BMP militiamen began to gather outside the Carrascalão house. Some came on foot, while others arrived in large trucks. One of the trucks was used to break down a large iron gate in front of the house. With the gate down, militiamen rushed into the house compound and, after smashing the windows, into the house itself. The militiamen were carrying an assortment of homemade and automatic weapons and reportedly shouting threats, including "Kill Manuel Carrascalão!"

Inside the house, Manuel Carrascalão's teenaged son, Manuelito, tried to prevent the militias from attacking the refugees. Shortly thereafter, he was stabbed and shot to death. Others were killed or severely injured by militias wielding machetes and knives. One militiaman, Armando dos Santos, was accused of stabbing a man named Antonino to death in the course of the attack. The prosecution alleged that dos Santos knife had bent in the midst of the stabbing and that he had stopped to straighten his knife before finishing the job. Some of the refugees tried to climb over the fence to escape but could not because the house was surrounded by armed men. Testifying in the Jakarta trial of Dili District Military Commander, Lt. Col. Endar Priyanto, in late 2002, one survivor said: "I tried to jump the fence and run but some men came after me and I was wounded by a machete slash on my back."

The attack finally ended with the arrival of a Police Mobile Brigade unit. Roughly 50 survivors of the massacre were then taken to the Dili Police headquarters (Polres), where they remained in 'protective' custody for some time. They were joined there by Manuel Carrascalão, his daughter Christina, and the outspoken CNRT figure Leandro Isaac. Some of the wounded were loaded into ambulances, but even then they were not safe. One survivor testified that the ambulance in which he was riding stopped in front of the Aitarak headquarters, where militias rocked it shouting "Just kill them! Just kill them!"

The exact number of people killed in the attack is not known. The secret military report cited earlier said that five people had been seriously wounded and 13 people killed - 12 of them at the Carrascalão house and one elsewhere in the city. Human rights organizations have put the total figure slightly higher, while others (including Manuel Carrascalão himself) have suggested that the figure might be as high as 60. Nor is it known where the bodies were disposed. One witness reported seeing bodies loaded onto a large unmarked truck shortly after the attack, and driven away to an unknown destination.| In late 1999, a different witness told the International Commission of Inquiry on East Timor that eleven bodies had been driven by truck to a lake near Maubara, in Liquica District, where they were dumped.

As in many other cases of serious militia violence in 1999, Indonesian military and Police authorities sought to portray the attack and the killings as a "clash" between pro-integration and pro-independence groups. But there was no evidence that the refugees in the house had engaged in any violence. By contrast, there was substantial evidence of direct TNI involvement in the attack, and also of culpable acquiescence in the violence by high ranking TNI and Police authorities.

A number of people who survived the attack have testified that TNI soldiers in plainclothes were among the attackers. One witness, a student from Maubara named Florindo de Jesus, testified: "I am certain that the TNI launched the attack because I recognized several people among the attackers as being TNI members from Maubara." Asked for more detail, he gave the names of six soldiers, all of them posted in Maubara Sub-District. One of those, he said, was his own uncle. Another witness, Victor dos Santos, told investigators in July 2000 that behind the militias dressed in black t-shirts and red and white bandanas he had seen dozens of well-built men with short haircuts: "I know them as TNI soldiers from the Koramil in Maubara." Testifying in the Jakarta trial of Dili District Police Chief, Lt. Col. Hulman Gultom, in mid-2002, Manuel Carrascalão said that TNI soldiers out of uniform had joined in the attack.

High-ranking TNI and Police officers also facilitated the killings through their failure to intervene in the mounting violence until it was too late. The pre-massacre rally was attended by some of the most senior government officials in the territory, including the provincial Governor, the Bupati of Dili, and the East Timor military commander, Col. Tono Suratman. Video footage obtained by UN investigators, moreover, shows Col. Suratman standing on the first floor balcony of the Governor's office, together with Maj. Gen. Kiki Syahnakri (Assistant for Operations to the Army Chief of Staff), and four other senior military officers.

None of those officials expressed any public opposition to, or concern about, Guterres remarks or about the presence of armed militias. Nor did any military or Police authority seek to disarm the several hundred militia men who paraded around Dili in defiance of legal restrictions on carrying firearms. The secret military report on the events of April 17, cited above, provided a thorough account of Guterres? remarks, and of the destruction and killing that followed, but revealed no concern nor any intention to take action. The report concluded simply that the matter would be handled by the Dili District Police.

Most damning is the evidence of willful inaction on the part of the commanding TNI officer for East Timor, Col. Tono Suratman. When Manuel Carrascalão went to Suratman's home early in the afternoon of April 17 to request urgently that he intervene to stop the imminent attack on the refugees, Suratman flatly refused to do so. Suratman's refusal has been confirmed by the then Irish Foreign Minister, David Andrews, and the pro-autonomy figure, Basilio Araújo, both of whom were with Suratman at the time.

In view of his political sympathies, Basilio Araújo's account is especially telling. Testifying before a Jakarta court in August 2002, he said that the TNI did nothing whatsoever to prevent the attack on the Carrascalão house. Asked to comment on the claim that Suratman had in fact insisted on helping Carrascalão, he told the court: I didn?t see that Pak Danrem [Suratman] insisted on helping him. I didn?t see it.?? Also revealing were the remarks of the presiding Indonesian judge in the Jakarta trial of Eurico Guterres, in November 2002. The judge said: ?Tono [Suratman] ignored a report from Manuel that his house would be attacked by pro-Jakarta militiamen. He did not take any action until the incident occurred.?

Police authorities also share responsibility for the killings at the Carrascalão home, both through their failure to intervene effectively to prevent them, and through their wholly inadequate, and perhaps deliberately misleading, investigation work. Police investigators reportedly urged witnesses to say that the violence had been provoked by a shot fired from within the Carrascalão home.? It is worth noting that the Police had advanced precisely the same ?provocation? scenario in the case of the Liquica church massacre, and they did it once again in early July when militias attacked a humanitarian convoy (See Case Study: Attack on Humanitarian Convoy). In all three cases, the claim was patently false, and seemed designed primarily to divert attention away from the real culprits.

East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)
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