Indicted Officer Removed from West Papua
ETAN Urges His Prosecution
For Immediate Release
John M Miller, ETAN, +1
August 21 - The East Timor and Indonesia Action
Network (ETAN) and the West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) today
welcomed the removal of Col. Burhanuddin Siagian from his
command in West Papua. Siagian faces two indictments in East
Timor for crimes against humanity committed in 1999.
"Col. Siagian's removal from Papua is a welcome move," said
John M. Miller, National Coordinator of ETAN. "Indonesia
should take the next steps and suspend him from any command
and then hand him over for trial for the crimes he committed
in East Timor."
Siagian was the target of
international campaign urging his removal from Papua and
calling for his trial.
As commander in West
Papua, he made extremely incendiary remarks about Papuans
engaged in peaceful protest. In May 2007, he reportedly
threatened to “destroy” anyone who betrays Indonesia. This
and other statements were similar to those he made while
stationed in East Timor in 1999 during the referendum
transfer of Col. Siagian has not ended the repression in
West Papua. A little over a week ago Opius Tabuni was shot
and killed by Indonesian security forces during a
celebration World Indigenous People's Day in Wamena," said
Ed McWilliams of WPAT. “Prisoners of conscience, like
Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage,
continue to serve outrageously long prison terms for
engaging in peaceful protest.”
"The failure of the
Indonesian government to extradite Siagian and his continued
service in the Indonesian armed forces are signs of the
Indonesian government's lack of commitment to justice and
accountability," said Miller.
Siagian was replaced in late July as commander of the
Jayapura sub-regional military command (Korem 172) in Papua.
However, he remains on active duty, stationed in East Java.
Col. Burhanuddin Siagian has been indicted twice in East
Timor for crimes against humanity. According to the
indictments issued by a UN-backed court in 2003, Col Siagian
publicly threatened to kill supporters of Timor-Leste's
independence and was directly responsible for the death of
seven men. He is also thought to have been responsible for
the creation of the Bobonaro militia, one of the most brutal
in 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, which investigated
human rights abuses in East Timor in 1999. (Copies of the
indictments involving Col. Siagian can be found here:
In May 2008, members of the UN Committee Against Torture
asked whether "Indonesia, as a member of Interpol" was
planning to hand over people, including Siagian, for whom
Interpol has issued red notices – notifications of
international warrants. Interpol issued a
Red Notice for Siagian in 2003.
Committee Expert Felice Gaer
asked about Indonesia's response to Interpol red notices
for people currently residing in Indonesia indicted in East
Timor for alleged crimes committed in 1999.
The next day, she noted that Indonesia had failed to
respond to her questions "about the legal proceedings
concerning the individuals that were wanted by Interpol for
their implication in the East Timor conflict. One of them
was a colonel currently serving with the Indonesian military
command. Was the Government planning to arrest this
individual and respect its obligations under Interpol? Also,
the question of sending such commanders from one hot spot to
the other had not been addressed."
In June 2007, a coalition of Indonesian and international
human rights organizations
wrote to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono urging him
to withdraw Col. Siagian from West Papua, suspend him from
active duty, and extradite to East Timor those indicted by
Dili's Special Panel for Serious Crimes.
For more information see
Siagian’s profile in the Masters of Terror database
and the ETAN website: