Subject: SMH: Old friend of Timor says what others will not

Sydney Morning Herald April 20, 2001

Old friend of Timor says what others will not

Photo: Graffiti covers the city of Dili, some of it a strong reminder of the violence of the past. Jason South

In his report to the UN, James Dunn does not hesitate to name names, writes Lindsay Murdoch in Dili.

As the East Timorese capital was being looted and burned on a stifling hot day in September 1999, an Indonesian Army officer rushed to the Turismo hotel.

He encountered a politely spoken former diplomat, James Dunn, one of a dozen Australians who had ignored threats and intimidation and refused to flee Dili on United Nations evacuation flights to Darwin.

A CALL FOR JUSTICE Key recommendations in the Dunn report:

* Efforts should be stepped up to establish the guilt of those ultimately responsible, or with shared responsibility, for the crimes committed in 1999, and to begin action to have them brought to justice.

* Particular attention needs to be given to investigating the roles played by Indonesian military commanders. Structural changes should be made to UN investigating units in East Timor.

* Trials of militia in jail in Dili should be expedited. Courts should take "shared guilt" into account.

* An international tribunal should be set up immediately if Indonesia fails to bring to justice those responsible for the East Timor crimes.

* The UN should place on its agenda with Indonesia the question of reparations, or some form of compensation, over the massive destruction of shelter and buildings, and the extensive theft of property in East Timor.

* UN agencies need stronger world support to help East Timor refugees in West Timor. People still detained remain victims of a serious crime.

* A thorough investigation should be conducted into what transpired and who was responsible. The most serious crimes are of such magnitude they must be considered of concern to the world.

The officer told Mr Dunn: "You must flee. Wild men with long hair and knives are on the way."

Mr Dunn, in his 70s, stood his ground. "Look, I have been a soldier myself. Good soldiers aren't afraid of wild men with knives."

The officer stared at him in apparent disbelief, shrugged his shoulders and walked away.

Mr Dunn was one of the last foreigners to leave Dili at the height of the violence. Now, 18 months on, he has affronted other Indonesian military officers.

Mr Dunn has written the most damning report yet about their role in a campaign of destruction, deportation and killings in East Timor that he says amount to crimes against humanity.

The 60-page report, commissioned by the United Nations, will rock what appears to be the growing complacency of some of the top generals in Jakarta who had good reason to believe they had got away with one of the crimes of the century.

It has created a quandary for the UN as it tries to negotiate a fresh relationship with Jakarta, which is showing no willingness to prosecute anybody over what happened in East Timor.

It will also greatly intensify pressure on the UN to set up an international tribunal to prosecute the officers involved.

Among those Mr Dunn singles out is General Wiranto, who was chief of the Indonesian armed forces at the time of the atrocities. Wiranto has been reinventing himself in Jakarta since formally retiring from the military last year, promoting himself as a singer, appearing on talk shows and even sitting beside still-serving officers at news conferences, a man of obviously undiminished power.

You could be forgiven for thinking he had started campaigning early for the presidential elections in 2004.

Wiranto's name was absent from a list of 22 people cited last year as formal suspects for investigation by the Indonesian Attorney-General's office, even though the country's human rights commission said after an investigation it was inconceivable that Wiranto was unaware of a huge operation mounted by subordinate generals in East Timor.

In his report Mr Dunn makes clear he believes Wiranto should be prosecuted.

"... it is difficult to believe that General Wiranto, for example, could have been unaware ... not least because of the magnitude of an operation that succeeded in transporting more than 250,000 East Timorese to Indonesian Timor over a period of less than a fortnight, and in destroying or seriously damaging more than 70per cent of homes and buildings in East Timor," Mr Dunn says in his report.

"This operation required considerable organisational skill and the mobilisation of transport and other military resources.

"It seems inconceivable that these resources could have been mustered without the prior knowledge of the head of Indonesia's armed forces."

Mr Dunn's report is the first to focus in detail on the role in the atrocities of, among others, Major-General Zacky Anwar Makarim, the former head of one of Indonesia's intelligence-gathering organisations.

UN officers who were in East Timor at the height of the 1999 violence say they believe that Makarim, a member of a prominent Jakarta family, was the key organiser of the violence.

Shortly before the UN-supervised plebiscite, at which Timorese overwhelmingly rejected Indonesian rule, Makarim was removed as the military's UN liaison officer, apparently at the insistence of countries including the United States.

Mr Dunn says Makarim was "widely reported to have been responsible for militia terror against independence supporters and UN workers".

Unlike Wiranto, Makarim has kept a low profile in Jakarta since the events of 1999. He is rarely seen in public, although he is still a serving officer.

Mr Dunn says another officer who should be investigated for crimes against humanity is Major-General Syafrie Syamsuddin, a leading officer of the elite Kopassus units.

Syamsuddin wields considerable power in Jakarta, having served on Wiranto's personal staff when he was senior security minister. He is one of the military's representatives in parliament.

Mr Dunn quotes a Canberra-based strategic affairs analyst as saying that Syamsuddin prepared the plans for the military and militia operations in East Timor at the military's headquarters in Jakarta.

"He was sent to East Timor shortly before the plebiscite, where, according to another report, he helped conduct the militia campaign," Mr Dunn says.

Mr Dunn has spent much of his time sticking up for the Timorese. He was Australia's consul in the former Portuguese colony shortly before Indonesia's 1975 invasion. He has many life-long friends there and is one of the foremost experts on the half-island territory.

But Mr Dunn should be sceptical about whether the UN will act on his recommendations, which include stepping up efforts to bring the Indonesian officers he names to justice. Weeks after he finished his report the UN's headquarters in Dili has refused to make it public. Apparently its findings are too hot; Mr Dunn put down on paper what others were too nervous to say.

In the bureaucratic and secretive UN culture, the report is a bombshell likely to infuriate many in Jakarta still smarting over the loss of East Timor.

Mr Dunn talks of certain Indonesian officers acting in collusion with the civil government. He says blame should not rest with the militia who committed most of the atrocities.

"In most cases the militia may have been identified as the killers and agents of the reign of terror, but their actions flowed from the command involvement of TNI [military] officers, sometimes from direct orders, or from the provision of military training, weapons, money and, according to militia members, drugs," Mr Dunn says.

He says that the Indonesian military devised a plan in July 1999, two months before the plebiscite. That plan involved mass destruction, ransacking and deportations when it was realised the vote was likely to favour independence.

Officers called the plan Wiradharma and also used the code name Guntur.

"According to informed sources in Jakarta, it was planned to deport most of East Timor's population to West Timor, from where they would later be dispersed to other parts of the archipelago," Mr Dunn says.

"The planners seemed to believe that the violence would persuade the MPR [Indonesia's top legislature], to reject the outcome of the ballot."

Mr Dunn concedes that the pursuit of justice over the atrocities is dependent on political co-operation from Indonesia.

"While the early responses from the Government of President [Abdurrahman] Wahid have been encouraging, the political climate in Indonesia may have changed to the extent that the further pursuit of these matters could well turn out to be a lengthy process, with their ultimate resolution being dependent on the support and political will of the international community.''

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