Subject: War of words color CTF commissioners' lives

also War of words color CTF commissioners' lives; CTF implicates generals in 1999 East Timor violence

The Jakarta Post

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

War of words color CTF commissioners' lives

Dicky Christanto, The Jakarta Post, Nusa Dua, Bali

A war of words colored the two-year investigation into the violent acts surrounding the 1999 referendum that ended with East Timor's independence, CTF commissioners said Tuesday.

"Heated debates often occurred when we had to collect evidence and when we had to put the act of violence into the right context," Indonesian member of the Commission for Truth and Friendship (CTF) Ahmad Ali told The Jakarta Post.

"It is common to have arguments within a team. But we always managed to calm down afterward," he said.

Acting commissioner Antonius Sujata said arguments were mainly triggered by different points of view among commissioners over what constituted violent acts.

"One accident, for example, was enough to draw heated discussion over a question of whether that accident should be considered a gross human right violations or not. Then another debate ensued when we discussed who to hold responsible for such violations," he said.

The CTF was established in late 2004 following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Indonesia and Timor Leste presidents at Tampak Siring Palace, Bali. The commission was set up in response to what were once considered incomplete investigations conducted by the National Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights Violations in East Timor (KPP HAM), the Ad Hoc Human Rights Court in East Timor as well as the Special Panels for Serious Crimes and the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor.

The CTF comprised 10 representatives from both governments, namely Indonesia commission chairman Benjamin Mangkoedilaga, Agus Widjojo, Achmad Ali, Mgr. Petrus Turang, Wisber Loeis from Indonesia and East Timor commission chairman Dionisio Babo Soares, Cirilo J. Cristovao, Felicidade Guterres and Jacinto Alves.

The team also included acting commissioners Sjamsiah Achmad, Antonius Sujata and Muji Sutrisno from Indonesia and Isabel Ferreira, Maria Olanda Alves and Rui Santos from Timor Leste.

Commissioner Alves said heated debates also took place on the Timor Leste side but never erupted into open conflicts.

"Sometimes we got carried away by emotions, especially during investigations where you had to face the fact that the violence was experienced by our loved ones. But in the end, it is the motivation to seek the truth that saved us all," he said.

"Now we have opted to forgive and move forward," he added.

He said more important duties were now awaiting them so the countries could develop better relations in years to come.

"As the commission, our duties are done now. It's time for us to secure the next steps," he said.


The Jakarta Post Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Time to forgive and move on, says ex-Fretilin commander

Dicky Christanto, The Jakarta Post, Nusa Dua, Bali

Waiting in the middle of a crowd whose language they hardly understood was not the only reason Antonio Soares and Ernesto Dudu were feeling awkward.

The two men were in the Timor Leste delegation. But they waited outside the hall where everyone was paying serious attention to the official hand-over of the report of the joint Commission for Truth and Friendship.

Every once in a while, the two exchanged smiles.

"I am proud to be a living witness of an event that has ended all grudges between us, East Timorese and Indonesians, after all these years," Ernesto Dudu said in Tetum, a local language in Timor Leste, through a translator.

"Therefore it is time to forgive and move forward," he told The Jakarta Post.

Dudu said he could not speak Indonesian fluently. He recalled that for some 16 years he had spent much of his time in the jungle, fighting the Indonesian military as a member of the military wing of the Fretilin Party since 1975. One of the commanders was the current Prime Minister Kayrala Xanana Gusmao, who was captured and detained in Indonesia.

The guerrillas were once known for militant attacks on Indonesian troops, killing many of the better-equipped soldiers.

When asked why he had joined Fretilin's guerrillas, Dudu said it was mainly the idea of freedom that lured him, as he said many Timorese had experienced abuse under the Indonesian administration.

"Despite some sacrifices I fully realized that this was the cost of freedom," he said.

The "cost" was the loss of five children and 10 other relatives during the war. He also said he used to have to refrain from showing bitterness to his fellow countrymen who had appeared to take sides with the Indonesian government.

The other Timorese waiting outside the hall was Antonio Soares, a civil servant for the Foreign Ministry. He said he held the same job under the Indonesian administration.

He said he was lucky none of his family members or relatives became victims of the 24-year-old conflict in Indonesia's former 27th province.

"Even though I was lucky, it was still painful to know that so many neighbors and countrymen died for no clear reason," he said.

Today, he said many are ready to forgive one another even though they were from different camps -- those for and against separation from Indonesia.

"Many families who used to be separated by ideology are right now embracing their brothers and sisters with stretched-open arms," he said.


The Jakarta Post Wednesday, July 16, 2008

CTF implicates generals in 1999 East Timor violence

Abdul Khalik, The Jakarta Post, Nusa Dua, Bali

A joint truth commission report has found several high-ranking military officers supported pro-Jakarta militia groups that perpetrated gross human rights violations in East Timor in 1999.

Quoting scores of witnesses testifying during the fact-finding process of the Commission for Truth and Friendship (CTF) from 2005 to 2008, the report said the militia groups were formed by the Indonesian military, and that some generals supplied them with funding and weapons that were later used to attack pro-independence groups.

In its own account on the institutional formation and operational structure linking the Indonesian military with the militia groups, the commission report mentioned names of former Army Strategic Reserve Command (Kostrad) chief Lt. Gen. (ret) Prabowo Subianto, former transmigration minister Gen. (ret) Hendropriyono, former Udayana military commander Maj. Gen. (ret) Adam Damiri and his former deputy Maj. Gen. Mahidin Simbolon.

Pro-integration militia leader Tomas Goncalves said he met with Prabowo and then East Timor commander Col. Tono Suratman, and former military intelligence commander Lt. Col. Yayat Sudrajat in Oct. 1998 to plan the formation of East Timor militia groups, the report said.

Goncalves and his compatriots then met with Hendropriyono in Jakarta in February 1999.

"According to Tomas Goncalves, Hendropriyono said the funds from the department of transmigration in East Timor could be used for anything," the report said.

It said that after these series of meetings in Jakarta to build support for the formation of the pro-Indonesia militias, Goncalves and his colleagues then met with Adam and Simbolon in Denpasar before returning to Dili in March 1999.

"The essence of their discussion was to immediately form an armed unit for which the Indonesian military would provide financial and other support," the report said.

Another witness Francisco Lopes de Carvalho then met Maj. Gen. (ret) Zacky Anwar Makarim, who was the deputy head of the East Timor referendum task force, to discuss the strategy of a pro-integration movement right before the referendum.

Carvalho reported the following statement by Zacky during the meeting: "Fifty-fifty can't lose. If we lose, I'll leave it to you. I'm asking, if you swear, don't just swear", the report said.

Goncalves also testified that he and his pro-integration friends met with Lt. Gen. (ret) Kiki Syahnakri, the East Timor province military commander in 1999, about the fate of integration supporters if the autonomy option was defeated, and asked if the Indonesian military would continue to support them.

On its analysis of past documents, especially the indictment of the UN Serious Crimes Unit, the commission revealed the role of former Indonesian military chief Gen. Wiranto, who was blamed by omission for the violence because as the highest-ranking military officer he should have known of the militia groups' movement.

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