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Indicted Indonesian General Leads Joint Military Exercise with U.S.

April 26, 2007 - The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) today condemned the participation of Indonesian Major General Noer Muis in a joint U.S.-Indonesia military exercise this week. General Muis has been indicted for crimes against humanity in East Timor.

Photos of the general with U.S. Army, Pacific commander Lt. General John M Brown III are featured on the U.S. Army, Pacific website where Muis is described as co-director of a “command post” exercise, Garuda Shield, now taking place in West Java. It is scheduled to run from April 16-27. [April 30 update: Several photos of General Muis have been removed from the U.S. Army, Pacific website. The one on the left below remains, but the caption with it has been altered to remove the General's name. The original caption is below.]

General Muis belongs in a courtroom, not a joint U.S.-Indonesia command center. The Bush administration has repeatedly stated that it supports accountability for the horrendous crimes committed in East Timor in 1999. Working with an accused mastermind of those crimes is a funny way to show it,” said John M. Miller, ETAN’s National Coordinator.

“That the U.S. Army should so proudly feature General Muis on its website demonstrates the meaninglessness of administration pledges to keep Indonesian officers accused of human rights crimes from U.S. training programs and other forms of direct cooperation through so-called human rights vetting,” said Miller.

“This is further evidence that the administration's short-sighted rush to expand assistance to an unaccountable Indonesian military sacrifices human rights,” he added.

Lt. General John M Brown III, U.S. Army, Pacific commanding general speaks to U.S. Maj. Anthony DeRose, while Tentara Nasional Indonesia-Army Division (TNI-AD) Maj. Gen. M. Noer Muis looks on. U.S. Army, Pacific photo.

TNI-AD Maj. Gen. M. Noer Muis, commander, 1st Infantry Division, Kopstrad, and U,S, Army Maj. General Stephen Tom, U.S. Army, Pacific, deputy commanding general shake hands at the opening ceremony of Garuda Shield 07. U.S. Army, Pacific photo.

Muis was tried and convicted for crimes against humanity by Indonesia’s Ad Hoc Human Rights Court in 2003 for his role in brutal attacks on East Timor’s Dili Diocese, East Timorese Bishop Belo's house and the Suai Church massacre in September 1999. His conviction and sentence of five years were overturned on appeal in that widely discredited process, in which all but one conviction was overturned.

General Muis with ET militia leader Eurico Guterres.
General Muis with militia leader Eurico Guterres at Indonesia Ad Hoc Human Rights Court, January 15, 2003. Photo TEMPO/ Lourentius EP.  

A colonel at the time, Colonel Muis (variously spelled Nur Muis and Noer Moeis) became local military commander in East Timor two weeks prior to the August 30, 1999 independence referendum. In that capacity, he bears major responsibility for the atrocities committed by his troops and their militia proxies. Just before the referendum results were announced, he described contingency plans to evacuate up to a quarter-million East Timorese from their homeland, a plan that was soon forcibly implemented.

On February 24, 2003, Muis was indicted with other senior officers by the UN-backed serious crimes process in East Timor. The indictment states that Muis “failed to take necessary and reasonable measures to prevent the crimes being committed by his subordinates and he failed to take necessary and reasonable measures to punish perpetrators of those crimes,” despite being “repeatedly informed” of those crimes. At least 1400 people died, hundreds of thousands were forcibly displaced, and most of East Timor’s infrastructure was destroyed as the Indonesian military punished East Timor for its pro-independence vote. 

Muis is currently commander of the 1st Infantry Division of the Army Strategic Reserve Command (Kostrad). 

Additional information about Muis’s role in 1999 can be found in the Masters of Terror database.

ETAN was formed in 1991. The U.S.-based organization advocates for democracy, justice and human rights for Timor-Leste and Indonesia. For more information see ETAN's web site:


in Portuguese courtesy of Timor Online Blog

see also:

Original caption:
Lt. General John M Brown III, U.S. Army, Pacific commanding general talks to Tentara Nasional Indonesia-Army Division Maj. Chris K. Tehuteru, 328th Infantry Battalion, Cilodong, West Java, Republic of Indonesia, TNI-AD Capt. Mike Asmi, 321st Infantry Battalion, West Java, Republic of Indonesia and U.S. Maj. Wayne Brewster, Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 1st Brigade, 25th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Fort Wainwright, Alaska, Sunday during exercise Garuda Shield 07.
Brown visited the Kostrad, home of the TNI-AD’s 1st Infantry Division in Cilodong, West Java, Republic of Indonesia, Sunday to observe exercise Garuda Shield 07.
During his time at the exercise site, he spoke with U.S. and TNI-AD Soldiers and received briefings from Col Jon Lee, U.S. exercise co-director and Maj. Gen. M. Noer Muis, TNI-AD exercise co-director. U.S. Soldiers are in Indonesia to participate in exercise Garuda Shield 07. The goals of the Command Post Exercise, which will run until April 27, are to improve capabilities in Peace Support Operations and Civil Military Operations.

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