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Indonesia's Generals on Trial in U.S. Courts

Supreme Court upholds use of Alien Tort Claims Act in human rights cases:

Judge issues $66 million  judgment in Lumintang case: media release; text of judge's Finding of Fact and Conclusions of Law

Lumintang Case
On Tuesday, March 28, 2000, Indonesian General Johny Lumintang was served with notice that a lawsuit had been filed on behalf of six plaintiffs who had relatives killed or property destroyed or were injured or forced from their homes in the aftermath of the August 30, 1999 vote on East Timor's independence. The lawsuit was filed by the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and San Francisco-based Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA). army crest

Press coverage of court judgment (late 2001 and beyond)
Lumintang Case in the Media (2001)
Satellite Imagery played key role in documenting human rights violations at U.S. trial of an Indonesian General....

ETAN: Lumintang Hearing Set

ETAN Supports Lawsuit against General Lumintang
The Legal Complaint as Filed in Court
Allan Nairn on General Lumintang and the U.S.

  Masters of Terror

Masters of Terror:
Indonesia's Military and Violence in East Timor Order from ETA

Lumintang Case in the Media (2000)
Issues at play in Lumintang suit

Legal Papers
Finding of Fact and Conclusions of Law
Initial Complaint Plaintiffs v. MAJOR GENERAL JOHNY LUMINTANG

The Evidence

The Telegram
Click to see full size telegram with Lumintang signature.
A telegram signed by General Lumintang and sent to the regional military head Major General Adam Damiri and other commanders just hours before the agreement to conduct the a vote East Timor's political status was signed at the United Nations on May 5. The telegram ordered the commanders to plan a crackdown should the East Timorese vote in favor of independence. The telegram read:

"Prepare a security plan to prevent civil war that includes preventive action (create conditions), policing measures, repressive/coercive measures and a plan to move to the rear/evacuate if the second option independence is chosen."

Soon after the vote, such a plan was put into action and hundreds of thousands were forced from their homes to for their safety or to West Timor or other islands of Indonesia.

See: Conclusive Proof TNI Planned Reign of Terror (The Independent [UK] 5 February 2000) for a report on the telegram and other documents.

The Army Manual
Click to see near full size images
Cover page of Kopassus manual 
Page with Lumintang's signature
Page 35 of the manual

The lawsuit cites a June 1999 army manual, also signed by Lumintang, which states that Kopassus intelligence operatives were to be trained in propaganda, kidnapping, terror, agitation, sabotage, infiltration, undercover operations, wiretapping, photographic intelligence and psychological operations. Kopassus operatives were involved in the kidnapping of East Timorese independence activists prior to and after the independence vote.

Translation of page 35 from the handbook marked CONFIDENTIAL:

Implemented to cultivate the capability of Sandhi Yudha TNI-Army that it already possesses in the following ways:

a) Studying the theory of Sandhi Yudha TNI-Army in class arranged and according to a schedule of individual activities that cover:
1) Tactic and Technique War of Nerves cover of manual
2) TT Propaganda
3) TT Kidnapping
4) TT Terror
5) TT Agitation
6) TT Sabotage
7) TT Infiltration
8) TT ?????
9) TT Wiretapping
10) TT Photographic Intelligence
11) TT Psychological Operation

b) Written test to determine how far the member has absorbed the lessons of Sandhi Yudha theory that have been given.

c) Field Practice by person/group to put into practice the theory and lessons of Sandhi Yudha that have been given.

3) Assignment. All personnel of Sandi Yudha TNI-Army have the same opportunity to receive special assignments in an area of operation. The assignment in the area of operation will assume the means that are appropriate to test the capability of the Sandhi Yudha TNI-Army personnel.

KamalTodd v. Panjaitan
(No. 92-12255, slip op. (D. Mass. Oct. 26, 1994))
In 1994, CCR successfully sued Major-General Sintong Panjaitan for his role in a 1991 massacre in Dili, East Timor in which more than 270 Timorese were gunned down. U.S. District Court Judge Patti Saris ordered the general to pay $4 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages to Helen Todd, the mother of Kamal Bamadhaj, the only non-East Timorese killed that day.

Mother to Collect Damages for East Timor Massacre
Mother, reporter tell of massacre of 271
"Death in East Timor" by Helen Todd
Punish Suharto, says mother
The Evening Post (Wellington)
Additional Background on the Santa Cruz Massacre

Legal Papers
Memorandum of Law HELEN TODD, Plaintiff v. SINTONG PANJAITAN, Defendant

Legal Background
Supreme Court upholds use of Alien Tort Claims Act in human rights cases: