For Immediate Release
John M. Miller, 718-5967668; mobile: 917-690-4391
Karen Orenstein, East Timor Action Network, 202-544-6911, www.etan.org
Kurt Biddle, Indonesia Human Rights Network, 510-559-7762,
Rights Groups Praise Senators for Restricting Military Training for
May 22, 2003 - The East Timor Action Network (ETAN) and the
Indonesia Human Rights Network (IHRN) today praised the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee for reinstating a ban on military training for
Yesterday, the committee unanimously agreed to an amendment restricting
International Military Education and Training (IMET) for Indonesia until
President Bush certifies that Indonesia is "taking effective
measures" to fully investigate and criminally prosecute those
responsible for the attack on U.S. citizens, including the murder of two,
in West Papua, Indonesia, in August 2002. Indonesian police and NGO
investigations have implicated the Indonesian military (TNI) in the
"The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has sent the Indonesian
government and military a strong bipartisan message that the TNI cannot
get away with murder. Indonesian authorities must understand that this is
no longer business as usual," said Kurt Biddle of IHRN.
Senator Russell Feingold (D-WI) proposed the
amendment to the Foreign Assistance Authorization Act for Fiscal Year
2004 with support from committee chair Richard Lugar (R-IN) and ranking
member Joseph Biden (D-DE).
"The amendment reflects a growing disgust with the failure of
Indonesia to meet a wide range of conditions placed on military assistance
by Congress in recent years," said Karen Orenstein, Washington
Coordinator of ETAN. “Never before has the Indonesian military displayed
such boldness in attacking U.S. citizens as it did in 2002. It is not
difficult to imagine how the TNI treats Indonesian citizens.”
"The Bush administration has pushed for resumption of military
ties with Indonesia in the name of fighting the 'War on Terror,'"
said Biddle. “Currently, it is the Indonesian military terrorizing the
people of Aceh.”
The committee action comes as Indonesia continues a massive military
offensive on Aceh in northern Sumatra. The assault, the TNI’s largest
operation since the invasion of East Timor in 1975, ended an
internationally-supported ceasefire with the imposition of martial law
earlier this week. Gross human rights violations, already pervasive in
Aceh, have increased in recent days, including a major military crackdown
on civil society.
The TNI is using U.S.-supplied weapons in this offensive, including
OV-10 Bronco counterinsurgency aircraft (to rocket villages) and C-130
Hercules transport planes (to drop paratroopers). TNI leadership has
ordered troops to "exterminate" the rebels within six months.
TNI is reportedly using civilians as human shields in their search for
rebels, which fits into a pattern of illegal Indonesian military practices
in formerly-occupied East Timor.
“The failure to hold the TNI accountable for its abuses continues. An
Indonesian court today acquitted General Tono Suratman of crimes against
humanity committed in East Timor in 1999,” said Orenstein. Suratman, the
former military commander for East Timor, was the twelfth Indonesian and
highest-ranking military personnel acquitted by the widely-criticized
Indonesian police and non-governmental organization investigations
point to TNI responsibility for the murder of two U.S. citizens and one
Indonesian in West Papua last August 31, 2002. Another eight U.S.
citizens, including a six-year-old child and three Indonesians were
wounded in an ambush in the mining operations area of the Louisiana-based
Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold, Inc.
Congress first voted to restrict IMET for Indonesia, which brings
foreign military officers to the U.S. for training, in response to the
November 12, 1991 Santa Cruz massacre of more than 270 civilians in East
Timor. All military ties were severed in September 1999 as the Indonesian
military and its militia proxies razed East Timor following its
pro-independence vote. Congress first passed the "Leahy
conditions" on IMET and other military assistance in late 1999. The
FY00 through FY02 foreign operations appropriations laws required the
president to certify that Indonesia had met these conditions before
regular IMET and Foreign Military Financed (FMF) weapons sales were
restored for Indonesia. Congress only recently allowed civilians from
Indonesia's defense ministry to participate in the Expanded IMET program,
which involves course work in such areas as civilian control of the
military and human rights. For FY03, the Congress approved $400,000 for
ETAN advocates for democracy, sustainable development, justice and
human rights, including women's rights, for the people of East Timor. ETAN
calls for an international tribunal to prosecute crimes against humanity
that took place in East Timor since 1975.
IHRN is a U.S.-based grassroots organization working to educate and
activate the American public and influence U.S. foreign policy and
international economic interests to support democracy, demilitarization,
and justice through accountability and rule of law in Indonesia. IHRN
seeks to end armed forces repression in Indonesia by exposing it to
international scrutiny. IHRN works with and advocates on behalf of people
throughout the Indonesian archipelago to strengthen civil society.
At the end of title VI, insert the following new section:
SEC. 615. CONDITION ON THE PROVISION OF CERTAIN FUNDS TO INDONESIA.
(a) CONDITION ON ASSISTANCE.Subject to sub-section (c), no funds made
available under section 23 of the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2763)
or chapter 5 of part II of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C.
2347 et seq.) in FY 2004, other than funds made available for expanded
military education and training under such chapter, may be available for a
program that involves the Government of Indonesia or the Indonesian Armed
Forces until the President makes the certification described in subsection
(b) CERTIFICATION.The certification referred to in subsection (a) is a
certification submitted by the President to the appropriate congressional
committees that the Government of Indonesia and the Indonesian Armed
Forces are takes effective measures, including cooperating with the
Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
(1) to conduct a full investigation of the attack on United States
citizens in West Papua, Indonesia on August 31, 2002; and (2) to
criminally prosecute the individuals responsible for such attack.
(c) LIMITATION.Nothing in this section shall prohibit the United States
Government from continuing to conduct programs or training with the
Indonesian Armed Forces, including counter-terrorism training, officer
visits, port visits, or educational exchanges that are being conducted on
the date of the enactment of this Act.
(d) APPROPRIATE CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES
DEFINED.In this section, the term ‘‘appropriate congressional
committees means the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the
Committee on International Relations of the House of Representatives.
see ETAN's Legislative pages