Subject: UNAMET, UN civilian police responsible for E. Timor violence: General

The Jakarta Post [online] May 9, 2002

UNAMET, UN civilian police responsible for E. Timor violence: General

JAKARTA (JP): Former Udayana military commander Maj. Gen. Adam Damiri, testifying on Wednesday in the East Timor ad hoc human rights trial, claimed that the UN civilian police and the UN Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) were responsible for the violence that broke out after the UN-sponsored self-determinationballot in 1999, which led to East Timor's breakaway from Indonesia.

Speaking as a witness in a hearing that has involved former East Timor governor Abilio Soares, Adam told the Central Jakarta District Court that Indonesia had complied with the New York resolution of May 5, 1999, which stated that the IndonesianMilitary (TNI) was not allowed to carry weapons and the National Police were only there to maintain order.

Abilio, as well as 17 other officials, was being tried separately for failing to stop the violence during East Timor's breakaway from Indonesia in 1999.

"According to the UN resolution, the security responsibility before, during and after the UN self-determination ballot lay with the UN civilian police ... . TNI had been 'excluded' fromsuch matters," Adam said, adding that later the UN shifted the blame and identified the TNI and the Indonesian Police as being responsible for the outbreak of violence following the East Timor ballot.

According to Adam, violence took place at the last round of the ballot campaign on August 25, 1999 when proindependence campaigners attacked the prointegration camp in Dili, the capital of East Timor.

"When the incident broke out, none of the UN police was on hand. Indonesian police were only given entry to the site of the incident after the melée had already occurred," Adam said.

The two-star general alleged further incidents of "foul play" by UNAMET during the ballot process, such as the fact that most of its recruited employees were supporters of independence.

"The ballot booths were also built (by UNAMET), without consultation with the local administration and were erected near proindependence bases. The Indonesian police were also prevented from guarding the area and were not permitted to be within aradius of 100 meters of the ballot booths," Adam explained.

Even before the ballot took place, rumors circulating had already spread among East Timorese people that UNAMET had come to free the territory, Adam said.

"East Timorese people were told to lower the Indonesian red-and-white flag otherwise the CNRT (proindependence camp) would attack those people," Adam added.

In his account, Adam also revealed that the attack on Bishop Belo's residence on Sept. 6, 1999 had reportedly occurred because there were several ballot boxes hidden there.

Adam, however, said that he didn't personally see the boxes."I received reports (about the boxes) from then Wiradharma military chief Brig. Gen. M. Nur Muis," the general said.

Presiding Judge Emmy Mustafa asked Adam to give further hard evidence about UNAMET's alleged foul play during the ballot process.

In 1999, East Timor voted overwhelmingly to separate from Indonesia in a UN-organized ballot.

Following the violence that broke out after the ballot, at least 200,000 East Timorese had to leave their homes and sought refuge in neighboring West Timor, while more than 80 percent of the infrastructure was destroyed.

A number of Indonesian middle-ranking officials are currently being tried by the Indonesian Human Rights Tribunal for failing to stop the violence after the 1999 East Timor ballot. (tso/edt) 

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