BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor      home   July news

"During the cross examination, the militia members have testified to their strong links with KOPASSUS, the Indonesian special forces, ever since Team Alpha was established in the mid 1980s. One of the accused also confirmed that he had been paid 75 000 rupiah per month for being a militia member. The same accused confirmed that the militia had been informed by KOPASSUS of the “Operation Cleansing”, the first step in which was to kill everyone who voted for independence, the second step to destroy all buildings in East Timor made by Indonesians." Judicial System Monitoring Programme news service
See also:

Jul 16 JSMP: Militia member convicted of UNAMET staff murder  News from ETimor
Jul 13 JSMP: Team Alpha militia members testify to Kopassus links  News from ETimor
BD: KOPASSUS (the Indonesian military special forces) & Team Alfa militia
BD: War Crimes & Crimes Against Humanity - A collection of recent press releases, petitions, articles and news
BD: Calls for International War Crimes Tribunal - A collection of recent reports, articles and news  [section on East Timor's Judicial System]

Los Palos trial enters second stage

JSMP, Dili, 30 July 2001

The trial against the ten accused in the Los Palos case is now entering its second stage. After hearing statements, and questioning the accused for three whole weeks, the first witnesses will testify in court on Tuesday. It is expected that the public prosecutor will call approximately 30 witnesses, while the defence so far has not indicated that they will call any.

The ten are all indicted for seven charges of crimes against humanity, including the murder of five clergy in Lautem on 25 September 1999. One of the alleged commanders of the Team Alpha militia group, Joni Marques, has pleaded guilty to this charge but has otherwise refused to make any statements regarding the murders on 25 September. His plea of guilty is still being considered by the court and it is not yet clear whether it will be accepted.

Several of the other accused have denied any affiliation with the Team Alpha militia, claiming they were ordered to assist and threatened with serious harm if they did not participate in the crimes.

During the cross examination, the militia members have testified to their strong links with KOPASSUS, the Indonesian special forces, ever since Team Alpha was established in the mid 1980s. One of the accused also confirmed that he had been paid 75 000 rupiah per month for being a militia member. The same accused confirmed that the militia had been informed by KOPASSUS of the “Operation Cleansing”, the first step in which was to kill everyone who voted for independence, the second step to destroy all buildings in East Timor made by Indonesians.

The trial is expected to continue for several more weeks.

This message came from the Judicial System Monitoring Programme news service:

JSMP news service  Added June 28
About 1 email a day; 1 full item/email:
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Judicial System Monitoring Programme (JSMP)  Added June 9
JSMP is a new human rights project set up by the East Timorese Jurists’ Association and the Timorese/international organisation La'o Hamutuk. JSMP aims to assist the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor, the East Timorese public and the international community by making recommendations for ongoing reform of the fledgling judicial system of East Timor.
The main objective of the programme is to improve the quality of justice provided by the newly established judicial system, and to promote human rights and the rule of law in a meaningful and transparent manner for the people of East Timor through:

  • sending legal observers to monitor the serious crimes trials;
  • providing legal analysis and thematic reports; and
  • dissemination of information on the developments of the justice system as a whole.

  • At this stage, the programme’s courtroom observation work focuses primarily on the cases related to the violence in 1999, which include crimes against humanity, genocide and torture.
    Regular updates: subscribe to JSMP’s news service by sending an empty e-mail to
    Email/Phone:, Phone +670 (390) 325-013;
    Christian Ranheim,, Phone +61(0) 419 804 600;
    Caitlin Reiger,, Phone +61 (0) 419 366 404
    Jun 1 2001 JSMP: New Human Rights Project in East Timor:

    See also:

    Jul 16 JSMP: Militia member convicted of UNAMET staff murder  News from ETimor added July 17
    "A former member of Team Pancasila militia was today found guilty of murdering a UNAMET local staff member and FALINTIL supporter in Atabe village, Ermera district on the day after the popular consultation in which nearly eighty percent of East Timorese voted for independence from Indonesia. ... This is the first case involving the killing of an East Timorese who was in part targeted for his role in working with the UN mission that supervised the ballot on 30 August 1999. Many other local staff were similarly attacked in the violent aftermath." Judicial System Monitoring Programme news service


    See these items on:

    KOPASSUS (the Indonesian military special forces) & Team Alfa militia:

    Jul 13 JSMP: Team Alpha militia members testify to Kopassus links  News from ETimor added July 14
    "In the first trial involving crimes against humanity being heard by the Special Panel for Serious Crimes of the Dili District Court, several Team Alpha militia members have testified this week to their strong links with KOPASSUS, the Indonesian military special forces. They confirmed that as militia members they were trained and armed by KOPASSUS to fight FALINTIL." Judicial System Monitoring Programme news service

    Jun 14 CSUCS: Child Soldiers Global Report 2001 - East Timor Chapter  Report added June 25
    "Past Child Recruitment and Deployment: The Indonesian armed forces provided pro-integration militias – particularly KOPASSUS special forces – with training, arms and funding. “The first time they took me from my house we had to rape a woman and then kill anything we could find like animals and people. They ordered us to rape. We did this together. Everyday we were taken by them by car to burn houses, kill animals and harass people ... They screamed and shouted when they had killed people and showed off their machetes covered in blood and said ‘Eat the People’.” Former Militia Child Soldier, 16 years old." Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers

    May 9 GLW: UN lets Indonesian military off the hook  Article with comments from BACK DOOR updated May 16
    "The UN’s response to a report written by James Dunn, a former Australian consul to East Timor and a prominent writer and analyst on East Timor, and leaked to the media two weeks ago, was also very telling. Dunn’s report sheeted blame for the killings, destruction and mass deportation of East Timorese to the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI), particularly Kopassus officers who organised and led covert operations in East Timor some months before the independence ballot." Vanya Tanaja

    Major Report Apr 30 KPP HAM's Secret Report on Crimes Against Humanity in ETimor  Link to full text added May 3
    "39. After President Habibie launched the two options, these old militia groups were revived and supported in order to achieve victory for Autonomy. Besides this, military units for young people were supported, which according to Udayana Military Region Commander Major-General Adam R. Damiri in his report to the Minister Coordinating the Fields of Political and Security were “Pro-integration groups driven by young people to establish patriotic organisations. According to various reports, these young people were members of Gada Paksi (Young Guard Establishing Integration), which was recruited, trained and funded by the TNI, especially Kopassus, in 1994-1995. Eurico Gueterres, the leader of the Aitarak militia, and the leaders of the BMP militia in Dili were figures in the Gada Paksi. These militia groups were later recruited into the Integration Fighting Force with its Commander Joao Tavares and deputy Eurico Gueterres and head of staff Herminio da Costa da Silva. ...
    110. Around 10.10 the Aitarak leadership Eurico Gutteres (P:3) was present, in a Kijang driven by a member of Kopassus {Special Forces Command]. ...
    IV.13 The murder of the church group at Los Palos 25 September 1999 (E:152):
    Based on statements that were able to be collected, it is known that on 25 September 1999 an attack took place on a church group that was journeying to Baucau, by the Tim Alfa militia group (P:637) consisting of Joni Marques (P:783), Joao da Costa (P:785), Manuel da Costa (P:786), and Amilio da Costa (P:791).
    In its investigation visit to East Timor, the Investigative Commission met with the suspects who were suspected of carrying out executions outside the process of law, in the Interfet detention centre in Dili, and obtained a direct statement from Joni Marques (B:797). The Investigative Committee also obtained statements that the militia group Tim Alfa had been formed and trained by a Kopassus unit. Based on the testimony of a perpetrator to the Investigative Commission, the involvement of a member of a Kopassus unit who had ordered the killing was stated.
    There were nine victims of the mass killings: Agus Mulyawan (K:780), Indonesian journalist; Celeste de Carvalho (K:773), Head Sister; Erminia Cazzaniga (K:779), nun; Erminia Rudy Barreto (K:&&&); Fernando dos Santos (K:774); Jacinto F. Xavier (K:775); a youth of 13 (K:782); Titi Sandora Lopez (K:781); Valerioda Conceicao (K:776). ...
    The involvement of the civilian and military apparatuses including the police cooperated with the pro-integration militia groups in crimes against humanity. This represented abuse of power and authority and resulted in the involvement of military institutions as well as civil agencies. To be more specific, the evidence shows officials in the civil and military institutions, including the police, that are thought to have been involved, comprised, although were not limited to the following names: ...
    17. Commandant of Company, B-Battalion 744: a Kopassus Officer/SGI BKO Korem Dili: Captain Tatang"
    Indonesian Commission of Investigation into Human Rights Violations (KPP HAM)

    Major Report Apr 25 Suppressed UN report on East Timor destruction  Link to full text of report added Apr 30
    " ... 14. Militia violence against supporters of independence began early in 1999, and in earnest in April when Operasi Sapu jagad (Operation Clean Sweep) was launched. However, the main thrust of the violence occurred between 4th September, when the results of the plebiscite were announced in Dili, and the end of September, when the INTERFET force was able to restore security to the central and eastern sectors of East Timor. This operation of massive destruction, ransacking and deportation was also devised by the TNI when it was realised that the plebiscite was likely to go against integration. Accordingly, in July the TNI began developing Operasi Wiradharma, the evacuation of East Timor, an operation which apparently also used the code-name, Guntur. The plan, which was devised at least two months before it was launched, was commanded by TNI Kopassus officers, with Major Generals Zakky Anwar Makarim and Adam Damiri playing key command roles. 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. The planners seemed to believe that the violence would persuade the MPR, the Indonesian Parliament, to reject the outcome of the ballot. The operation began in the immediate aftermath of the announcing of the results of the plebiscite, and was focused on the deportation of a large part of the population of East Timor, the destruction of most houses and buildings, and on a campaign of terror against the staff of UNAMET, foreign journalists and other foreigners present in East Timor at that time. ...
    V. The Role of the Indonesian Military, the Formation of the Militia and the campaign of Terror: ...
    18. It is against this background that the setting up of the militia and the way it resorted to brutal tactics need to be considered. The origins of Timorese para-military units have already been examined. The militia as it existed in 1999, and as an extension of the para-military force Halilintar, go back to the eighties when East Timorese para-military units were again formed, specifically to involve the local population in operations not only against Falintil, the armed resistance, but against the growing phenomenon of passive resistance. The best known of these early units was Team Alpha (Tim Alfa) which, with Team Saka (Tim Saka), was formed in 1986 in the eastern sector of East Timor by a Kopassus officer, Captain Luhud Pandjaitan, reportedly acting on orders from his commander, then Colonel Prabowo. Team Alpha’s members were trained and paid, and their operations against pro-independence elements organised, by Indonesian military officers. Another significant move was the setting up of the Gada Paksi (Gadu Penegak Integrasi—Guards to Uphold Integration) in 1994, also reportedly by Prabowo. The Gada Paksi was conceived as a way of mobilizing young pro-integration activists. ...
    VIII. The Major Killings and their Characteristics: ...
    e. Lautem/Lospalos
    36. The eastern districts of East Timor did not suffer the same level of violence, and several villages, among them Uatolari and Viqueque, virtually escaping destruction by the militia.  Individual acts of violence or killing did begin early, however.  On 17 March 1999 Mariano Soares, a prominent citizen of Triloka village disappeared, and is believed to have been killed. A week later another Timorese was killed by TNI troops in the Baucau district. On 17 April members of Team Alpha killed Virgilio de Sousa, a prominent independence supporter in his home in Bauro Village in Los Palos. In August, in the eve of the plebiscite Los Palos village chief, Verissimo Quintas was brutally killed by local militia, following an attack on his house.
    37. The worst period for the Los Palos/Baucau occurred well after the plebiscite. On 12 September four Timorese were killed, reportedly by TNI troops, at the Lospalos Military sub-district command, and on the same day 5 persons were said to have been killed at Baucau by Battalion 745 troops. The worst massacre in the area occurred on 25 September, five days after INTERFET troops landed at Dili. Team Alpa members killed and mutilated nine people, including nuns and deacons and an Indonesian journalist, on the road between Los Palos and Baucau. The bodies were placed in their vehicle which was then pushed into the Luro River. Team Alpha operated under the control of Kopassus officers, and the local TNI commander. According to the KPP HAM report a member of Kopassus was implicated in the ordering of this killing. ...
    Annex A: Senior Indonesian Military Officers who should be Investigated in Relation to Crimes Against Humanity in East Timor: ...
    14. Lieutenant Colonel Sudrajat AS
    1998-99 Commander Kodim 1629 (Lautem, Lospalos)
    Comments: Commander of the district in which Team Alpha was active, and has been accused of having supplied weapons to the militia.
    Assessment: According to the KPP HAM list he is one of the officers implicated in the events of 1999, and his role should therefore be investigated. ...
    Annex B: Select Chronology: ...
    September 25: Massacre in Lautem area when Team Alpha militia ambush vehicle carrying nuns, brothers and an Indonesian journalist. Nine person are killed and their bodies mutilated. ... "
    Australian diplomat James Dunn, an independent consultant to the Chief Prosecutor for the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor's (UNTAET)

    Mar 12 Age: Burchill: Not guilty on Timor? Explain this then  Article
    "Why did Australia have to train Kopassus officers, widely known for their brutality and disregard for basic human rights? Closer ties between Australia's armed forces and Indonesia's (TNI), in the form of joint training exercises and the secretly negotiated 1995 Australia-Indonesia Security Agreement, clearly gave Australia no influence whatsoever over the behavior of TNI in 1999, when they and their militia proxies razed East Timor." Scott Burchill, lecturer, international relations, Deakin University

    Nov 1999 NI: Make your own militia  Chronology added May 24
    "How the military did it and who knew:
    July 1998: Ausaid worker Lansell Taudevin tells Australian embassy officials that the Indonesian army is forming and arming militia gangs. Around 5,000 West Timorese (ethnically identical to East Timorese, though Muslim rather than Roman Catholic) are recruited into militias by the Indonesian army. More recruits are brought in from Java.
    4 November 1998: 400 élite troops from Indonesia’s notorious Kopassus Group 4 unit – trained to track down and eliminate political dissidents – arrive in the port of Atapupu. ... " new internationalist

    Sept 27 1999 Noam Chomsky: East Timor Retrospective - An overview and lessons
    "Terror and destruction began early in the year. The TNI forces responsible have been described as "rogue elements" in the West, a questionable judgment. There is good reason to accept Bishop Belo's assignment of direct responsibility to commanding General Wiranto in Jakarta. It appears that the militias have been managed by elite units of Kopassus, the "crack special forces unit" that had "been training regularly with US and Australian forces until their behaviour became too much of an embarrassment for their foreign friends," veteran Asia correspondent David Jenkins reports. These forces are "legendary for their cruelty," Benedict Anderson observes: in East Timor they "became the pioneer and exemplar for every kind of atrocity," including systematic rapes, tortures and executions, and organization of hooded gangsters. They adopted the tactics of the U.S. Phoenix program in South Vietnam that killed tens of thousands of peasants and much of the indigenous South Vietnamese leadership, Jenkins writes, as well as "the tactics employed by the Contras" in Nicaragua, following lessons taught by their CIA mentors. The state terrorists were "not simply going after the most radical pro-independence people but going after the moderates, the people who have influence in their community." "It's Phoenix," a well-placed source in Jakarta reported: the aim is "to terrorise everyone" -- the NGOs, the Red Cross, the UN, the journalists." Noam Chomsky

    BD: War Crimes & Crimes Against Humanity - A collection of recent press releases, petitions, articles and news

    BD: Calls for International War Crimes Tribunal - A collection of recent reports, articles and news [section on East Timor's Judicial System]

    BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor      home   July news
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