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Media Release

Indonesia: Remove indicted colonel from West Papua
Crimes against humanity suspect a threat to Papuans


  • Australia: Matthew Jamieson, Institute for Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights; +61 418291998;
  • UK: Paul Barber, TAPOL, +44 1420 80153;
  • US: John M Miller, ETAN, +1 917 690 4391;

28 June 2007 – The presence in Papua of a senior Indonesian army officer indicted on crimes against humanity charges in East Timor (now Timor-Leste) endangers human rights defenders and political activists and is a sign of the Indonesian government’s lack of commitment to justice and accountability a coalition of Indonesian and international human rights organisations said today.

In an open letter to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, the organisations called for Col. Burhanuddin Siagian, commander of the Jayapura sub-regional military command (Korem 172) in Papua, to be withdrawn immediately and suspended from active duty. They urged the Indonesian government to review all evidence against Col. Siagian and other high-level East Timor suspects to determine whether proceedings should be commenced and to extradite to East Timor those indicted by Dili’s Special Panel for Serious Crimes.

"It is shocking that a government supposedly committed to military reform and fighting impunity would appoint an indicted officer to a sensitive senior post in Papua,” said Paula Makabory, the spokesperson for the Institute for Human Rights Study & Advocacy West Papua ELS-HAM.

Papuans will continue to have their rights trampled on until the civilian authorities exert control over military behaviour and ensure accountability for past abuses,” she added.

Responding to Papuan demands for a review of their history, Col. Siagian last month reportedly threatened to “destroy” anyone who “betrays” Indonesia. This echoes similar statements he allegedly made when based in Maliana as military commander of the Bobonaro district of East Timor. Two indictments issued in 2003 state that he made speeches threatening to kill East Timorese independence supporters and was responsible for the deaths of seven men in April 1999 (See and

The organisations pointed out that Papuans who campaign peacefully are not betraying Indonesia as alleged by Col. Siagian, but simply asserting their right to express their political views. It called upon President Yudhoyono to show his commitment to freedom of expression and support this right.

Col. Siagian is not the only person accused of serious crimes in East Timor who has continued in an active position of command responsibility. In April this year, Major General Noer Muis, former military commander of East Timor, controversially co-directed a joint military training exercise with the United States. In 2003, Timbul Silaen was appointed chief of police in Papua despite being indicted on charges arising from his occupation of the same position in East Timor in 1999. A number of senior suspects, including Major-General Adam Damiri former military commander of the East Timor region, were involved in military operations in Aceh.

Indonesia’s ad hoc human rights court tried 18 defendants (not including Col. Siagian) on charges relating to crimes against humanity in East Timor, but the proceedings were widely regarded as a sham. Twelve defendants were acquitted and five had their convictions overturned on appeal. The only conviction still standing is that of East Timorese militia leader, Eurico Guterres. The UN-established serious crimes process in East Timor indicted 392 suspects, but Indonesia refused to co-operate and more than 70 per cent of those indicted, including all the non-East Timorese nationals, remain free in Indonesia.

We are dismayed by Indonesia’s lack of respect for the rule of law and its apparent determination to perpetuate a cycle of impunity that encourages military personnel to believe they will escape justice for past and future violations of human rights,” said Matthew Jamieson Secretary of the Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights in Australia. “Indonesia has failed to keep its obligations under international law and Indonesian domestic law to prosecute Col Siagian for his alleged crimes.”


see also:

ABC Radio Australia Connect Asia: Military role in Papua challenged - 30/07/2007


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also in Bahasa Indonesia

Open letter to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono concerning Col. Cav. Burhanuddin Siagian, Commander of the Resort Military Command 172/PWY Jayapura, Papua

28 June 2007

Dear President Yudhoyono,

We are writing to express our grave concern about the tenure of Col. Burhanuddin Siagian as commander of the Jayapura sub-regional military command (Korem 172/ PWY/Jayapura) in Papua. Col. Siagian has been indicted twice for crimes against humanity in East Timor (now Timor-Leste).

Indonesia has not complied with its obligations under international law and Indonesian domestic law to prosecute Col. Siagian for his alleged crimes, and it has furthermore failed to extradite him to East Timor for trial. Instead he has been promoted and appointed to command a large military unit within a highly sensitive area.

We are concerned that Col. Siagian represents a serious threat to Papuans and that the lives of Papuan human rights defenders and peaceful political activists may be endangered by his continued presence as commander of Korem 172.

According to a report in the Cenderawasih Pos on 12 May 2007, Col Siagian threatened to destroy anyone who betrays Indonesia: “If I meet anyone who has enjoyed the facilities that belong to the state, but who still betrays the nation, I honestly will destroy him”. The statement was reportedly made in response to demands by students and youths for a review of Papua’s history.

We are disturbed that this threat to Papuan activists echoes similar statements allegedly made by Col. Siagian when he was commander of the Bobonaro District Military Command (Kodim 1636), Maliana in East Timor. Those statements appear to have led directly to the deaths of a number of Timorese civilians. According to the indictments issued by the Special Panel for Serious Crimes of Dili District Court on 3 February 2003 (‘the Cailaco indictment) and 10 July 2003 (‘the Maliana indictment’), Col Siagian made public speeches threatening to kill supporters of Timor-Leste’s independence and was responsible for the death of seven men in April 19991. He is charged with individual responsibility and command responsibility for the following crimes against humanity: torture; murder; persecution; and deportation or forcible transfer of a civilian population. He is also thought to have been responsible for the creation of the Bobonaro militia system that became one of the most repressive in the whole of East Timor.

Col. Siagian is named as a suspect in the report of Indonesia’s own Commission of Investigation into Human Rights Violations in East Timor (Komisi Penyelidik Pelanggaran HAM di Timor Timur, KPP-HAM), which investigated human rights abuses in Timor-Leste during the period from 1 January to 25 October 1999.

We are dismayed that Indonesia’s failure to hold Col. Siagian and others to account encourages military personnel to believe they will continue to escape justice for serious crimes and seriously undermines Indonesia’s progress towards becoming a country that fully respects human rights and the rule of law.

This failure of accountability, and the continued active service in positions of command responsibility of senior officers accused of serious crimes, are indicative of a structural problem of impunity within the Indonesian army (TNI, Tentara Nasional Indonesia) and a lack of political will to address the problem that have not been addressed since the TNI withdrew from East Timor. Meaningful military reform will not be possible until serious efforts are made to end this cycle of impunity.

Irrespective of his record in East Timor, we believe that Col. Siagian is entirely unsuited to the sensitive position of Korem 172. Your government has stated that it is committed to the peaceful resolution of the Papua conflict. This policy is clearly undermined by belligerent statements by local military commanders. Papuans who campaign peacefully are not ‘betraying’ Indonesia as alleged in Col. Siagian’s statement of May 2007; they are simply asserting their right to express their political views. We strongly hope that you, as a democrat, would support their right to do this.

We believe this is a crucial test case of the Indonesian Government’s ability to exert civilian control over the TNI and we urge you to:

  • Immediately withdraw Col. Siagian from Papua and suspend him from active duty; all military or police officers who have been indicted for crimes against humanity by the Special Panels for Serious Crimes in Timor-Leste should be suspended from active duty pending the outcome of criminal proceedings to determine whether or not they are guilty of the charges against them.
  • Review all available evidence, particularly in relation to high-level suspects like Col, Siagian not previously indicted in Indonesia, including evidence collected by the KPP-HAM report and by the Serious Crimes Unit, to determine whether proceedings should be commenced against suspects named therein;
  • Extend full cooperation with judicial proceedings being conducted in Timor-Leste, including entering into extradition and mutual legal assistance agreements. Such cooperation should include extraditing suspects against whom there are indictments.

We are grateful to you for your attention to this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Barber

For TAPOL UK And on behalf of the following signatories:

Paula Makabory,
Coordinator in exile of International Human Rights Campaign, ELSHAM, West Papua

Budi Hernawan
Director, Office of Justice and Peace, Catholic Diocese of Jayapura, West Papua

Benny Wenda
Chairman of DeMMaK (The Koteka Tribal Assembly), West Papua

Usman Hamid
Coordinator, KONTRAS (the Commission for the disappeared and victims of violence), Indonesia

Peongky Indarti,
Director of External Relations, IMPARSIAL (the Indonesian Human Rights Monitor), Indonesia

Bonar Tigor Naipospos
Chairman, National Solidarity With Papua (SNUP) & Solidarity Without Borders (SOLIDAMOR), Indonesia

Donatus Klaudius Marut
Executive Director, International NGO Forum for Indonesian Development (INFID), Indonesia

Ines Martins,
Coordinator, La'o Hamutuk (Timor-Leste Institute or Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis).

Brad Adams
Director for Asia, Human Rights Watch

Matthew Jamieson
Secretary, Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights, Australia

Carmel Budiardjo

John M. Miller
National Coordinator, East Timor and Indonesia Action Network, USA

Eko Waluyo
Program coordinator, Indonesian Solidarity, Sydney

Professor Peter King
Convener. West Papua Project, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney

Dr Clinton Fernandes,
Australian Coalition for Transitional Justice in East Timor

Paul O'Callaghan,
Director, Australian Council for International Development(ACFID)

Joe Collins
Secretary, Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)

Dr Anne Noonan,
NSW Coordinator Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW) Australia

Ed McWilliams
West Papua Advocacy Team, US

Melinda Janki
International Lawyers for West Papua, UK

Richard Samuelson
Co-Director, Free West Papua Campaign, Oxford, UK.

Maire Leadbeater,
Spokesperson, Indonesia Human Rights Committee, Auckland, New Zealand

Gus Miclat
Asia-Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC)

Monika Schlicher
Watch Indonesia!, Germany

Gabriel Jonsson
Chairman Swedish East Timor Committee and Board Member Swedish Free Papua Association

Chuck Warpehoski,
Director, Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, US

William Ramsey,
Coordinator, Human Rights Action Service, St. Louis, US

Mary Whittlinger
Treasurer, America Ecumenical Moluccan Church, US

Rev. John Chamberlin,
National Coordinator, East Timor Religious Outreach, US

Rev. James Kofski
Asia/Pacific and Middle East Issues Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Washington, D.C.

Tom Ricker,
Co-director, Haiti Reborn/Quixote Center, US

Sharon Silber and Eileen Weiss,
Co-founders, Jews Against Genocide, US

Elaine Donovan
Co-Founder, Concerned Citizens for Peace, Honeoy, NY

Roland Watson,
Founder, Dictator Watch, US

[1] Joao Evangelita Lima Vidal (m), Carlito Mau Leto (m), Domingos Resi Mau (m),  Paulino Soares Antonio Soares (m), Jose Pau Lelo (m), Antonio Soares (m), and Manuel Maulelo Araujo (m)

Bahasa Indonesia

Surat Terbuka kepada Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono tentang Kolonel Kavaleri Burhanuddin Siagian, Komandan Komando Resort Militer (KOREM) 172/PWY/Jayapura, Papua

28 Juni 2007

Yang Terhormat Presiden Yudhoyono,

Kami menulis surat ini untuk menyatakan keprihatinan kami yang sangat mendalam mengenai penempatan Kolonel Kavaleri Burhanuddin Siagian sebagai Komandan Korem 172/PWY/Jayapura, di Papua. Kolonel Siagian telah didakwa dua kali atas kejahatan terhadap kemanusiaan di Timor –Timur (sekarang Timor Leste).

Indonesia telah tidak melaksanakan kewajibannya dibawah hukum internasional dan hukum nasional untuk menuntut Kolonel Siagian atas kejahatan yang dilakukannya, dan telah gagal menyerahkannya dalam pemeriksaan pengadilan di Timor-Timur. Namun sebaliknya, ia dipromosikan dan ditunjuk menjadi komandan sebuah komando resort militer yang besar, dalam sebuah area yang sangat sensitif.

Kami khawatir bahwa Kolonel Siagian membawa ancaman serius terhadap masyarakat Papua, dan kehadirannya sebagai Komandan Korem 172/PWY/Jayapura dapat membahayakan kehidupan para Pembela Hak Asasi Manusia dan para aktivis politik di Papua yang berjuang dengan cara damai.

Menurut laporan sebuah media massa lokal Cenderawasih Pos, terbitan 12 Mei 2007, Kolonel Siagian telah mengancam untuk menghancurkan siapa saja yang mengkhianati Indonesia: “ Jika saya bertemu siapa saja yang telah menikmati fasilitas milik negara, tetapi masih menghianati bangsa, saya dengan terus terang akan menghancurkannya!”. Pernyataan tersebut dibuat sebagai tanggapan dari keinginan para mahasiswa dan pelajar supaya dilakukan peninjauan kembali terhadap sejarah Papua.

Kami merasa terganggu karena ancaman terhadap para aktivis di Papua ini menyuarakan pernyataan yang sama yang diduga dibuat oleh Kolonel Siagian, ketika ia masih menjabat sebagai Komandan Komando Daerah Militer (KODIM 1636), Maliana, Distrik Bobonaro, di Timor-Timur. Pernyataan-pernyataan itu diduga telah mengantar secara langsung kematian sejumlah rakyat sipil Timor- Timur. Menurut dakwaan yang dikeluarkan oleh Panel Khusus bagi Kejahatan Serius pada Pengadilan Distrik Dili (Special Panel for Serious Crimes of Dili Distric Court) pada tanggal 3 Februari 2003 ( ‘the Cailaco indictments’) dan pada tanggal 10 Juli 2003 (‘the Maliana indictment’), Kolonel Siagian didakwa telah membuat pidato-pidato umum yang mengancam akan membunuh para pendukung kemerdekaan Timor-Timur dan bertanggungjawab terhadap kematian 7 (tujuh) orang laki-laki pada bulan April 1999 . Ia juga didakwa bertanggung jawab secara pribadi dan didakwa pula untuk bertanggung jawab dalam memberi perintah terhadap kejahatan kemanusiaan sebagai berikut: melakukan penyiksaan, pembunuhan, penganiayaan, dan memindahan penduduk sipil dengan menggunakan kekerasan secara paksa.

Kolonel Siagian juga bertanggungjawab atas pembentukan sistem milisi Bobonaro yang merupakan salah satu milisi yang sangat represif dan kejam di seluruh pelosok Timor-Timur.

Ia disebut sebagai salah satu tersangka dalam laporan Komisi Penyelidik Pelanggaran HAM di Timor-Timur (KPP-HAM), yang melakukan investigasi terhadap pelanggaran HAM di Timor-Leste selama periode 1 Januari sampai 25 Oktober 1999.

Kami merasa cemas bahwa kegagalan Indonesia dalam membawa Kolonel Siagian dan para pelaku kejahatan kemanusiaan lainnya untuk dimintai pertanggungjawaban akan mendorong dan meyakinkan personil militer bahwa mereka tetap dapat menghindar dari keadilan terhadap kejahatan serius yang dilakukan dan hal ini secara serius merusak kemajuan Indonesia untuk menjadi sebuah negara yang secara penuh menghormati hak-hak asasi manusia dan aturan hukum.

Kegagalan dalam menuntut pertanggungjawaban dan masih diberikannya peluang melanjutkan tugas aktif dalam posisi sebagai perwira senior yang dituduh bertanggungjawab dalam memberi perintah terhadap kejahatan serius, menunjukan persoalan impunitas dalam stuktur TNI belum dapat dihapuskan sejak penarikan TNI dari Timor Timur. Reformasi militer yang berarti tidak akan mungkin dilaksanakan sampai ada usaha-usaha serius yang dibuat untuk mengakhiri lingkaran impunitas ini.

Terlepas dari catatan kriminalnya di Timor Timur, kami yakin bahwa Kolonel Siagian secara keseluruhan tidak tepat untuk menjabat posisi yang sensitif sebagai Komandan Korem 172/PWY/Jayapura, Papua. Pemerintah Indonesia telah menyatakan komitmen untuk menjalankan cara-cara damai dalam menyelesaikan konflik di Papua. Kebijakan ini secara jelas dirusak dengan adanya pernyataan-pernyataan perang dan permusuhan yang dilakukan oleh para komandan militer di daerah. Masyarakat Papua yang melakukan kampanye secara damai tidak sedang ‘mengkhianati’ Indonesia sebagaimana yang dituduhkan oleh Kolonel Siagian pada bulan Mei 2007; Mereka dengan sederhana hanya ingin menyatakan hak-hak mereka untuk mengekspresikan pandangan-pandangan politik mereka. Kami sangat berharap bahwa Bapak Presiden, sebagai seorang demokrat akan mendukung hak mereka untuk melakukan hal ini.

Kami yakin ini merupakan suatu ujian yang kritis terhadap kemampuan Pemerintah Indonesia dalam melaksanakan kontrol sipil terhadap TNI dan kami mendesak Bapak Presiden untuk:

• Segera menarik Kolonel Siagian dari Papua dan menghentikannya dari tugas aktif; semua perwira militer atau polisi yang didakwa telah melakukan kekerasan terhadap kemanusiaan oleh Panel Khusus bagi Kejahatan Serius di Timor-Leste harus diberhentikan dari tugas aktif menunggu hasil dari laporan kejahatan untuk mempertimbangkan apakah mereka bersalah atas tuduhan terhadap mereka.

• Memeriksa kembali semua bukti yang ada, khususnya yang berhubungan dengan para terdakwa dengan pangkat tinggi, seperti Kolonel Siagian, yang belum pernah didakwa di Indonesia, termasuk bukti yang dikumpulkan dalam laporan KPP-HAM dan oleh Kesatuan Kejahatan Serius, dan untuk memutuskan apakah harus dilakukan proses hukum terhadap para terdakwa yang namanya disebut dalam laporan dan bukti-bukti tersebut;

• Melakukan kerjasama secara penuh dengan cara mendukung upaya hukum yang sedang dilaksanakan di Timor-Leste, termasuk melakukan Perjanjian Ekstradisi dan perjanjian untuk saling membantu secara hukum antara Indonesia dan Timor Leste. Kerjasama ini termasuk upaya untuk memudahkan proses penyerahan para terdakwa yang namanya disebutkan dalam dakwaan.

Kami berterima kasih kepada Bapak Presiden atas segala perhatian terhadap kasus ini.

Hormat kami,


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