BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor  home   February news

See Dec 22 IHT: A Family in East Timor Grieves for a Daughter for background to the story below.
"Juliana was one of several hundred people sheltering in the grounds of Ave Maria Roman Catholic church in Suai when it was attacked by Indonesian security forces and their Laksaur militia proxies in an unprovoked assault on Sept. 6, 1999, that left as many as 200 people dead, including three priests. ... The Indonesian government's human rights watchdog, Komnas HAM ... described what happened at the Suai church as indiscriminate killing, with the victims including men, women and children, aged between 5 and 40. In the chaos that followed the worst recorded atrocity after the UN-organized self-determination plebiscite in East Timor, Juliana was separated from her mother and taken to the district military headquarters. It was there that the Laksaur militia deputy leader, Igidio Mnanek, seized the young girl and proclaimed her as his "war prize." " Mark Dodd

Below is a  translated summary of an article from an Indonesian newspaper. For a more complete translation of it please send your request to Eliot Hoffman, who will forward it to the translator. Please include the name of the newspaper/s, date/s, and article title/s.

English language Indonesian newspapers available online:


West Timor Press: Edited by Eliot Hoffman

Surya Timor

Friday, 23 February 2001

Matter of rape in E. Timor, Gusmao's wife criticizes Indonesia

DILI Kirsty Sword Gusmao has criticized Indonesia for failing to free a girl who was kidnapped and raped by a militia leader.  Sword Gusmao said Indonesian promises to free 16 year-old Juliana dos Santos have not been realized.  In Sept. 1999, Juliana, who survived the slaughter at the Suai Cathedral, was raped at a military headquarters, and then kidnapped by Laksaur militia leader, Igidio Mnanek and carried off to W. Timor.  Sword Gusmao said Juliana witnessed Mnanek murder her brother when more than 200 people were slaughtered.  According to a member of the E. Timor HAM Commission, Juliana has been repeatedly raped in a refugee camp and became pregnant.  Sword said that refugees who returned to E. Timor in December brought a letter thought to have been written by Juliana, but Juliana's parents think it is a trick by Mnanek.  In the letter, Juliana says she gave birth to a baby boy on 27 Nop. and wants to remain in refuge to live together with the militia leader.  Sword Gusmao, who originates from Australia, said it appears the contents of the letter were dictated by Mnanek and they are giving a warning to Juliana's parents not to get involved in their relationship or make any effort to separate them.  UNHCR tried to free Juliana and her case was put forward by Indonesian authorities last year during a visit by members of the UN Sec. Council to W. Timor, said The Age.

 Meanwhile, UNTAET head, Sergio de Mello and Foreign Minister, Ramos Horta, met with Attorney General, Marzuki Darusman on Thurs. (22/2). The main discussion topics had to do with human rights abuses and an ad hoc human rights court.  After the meeting, de Mello told reporters that hr abuses in E. Timor were discussed and inquires made concerning the hr court that is to be formed by the Indo. House of Reps.  "We also inquired about the 22 suspects in 5 cases of hr abuses who, it is planned, are to be tried in the ad hoc court in Indonesia," de Mello said in English.  According to de Mello, Marzuki agrees with the ad hoc court and hopes it will be formed soon so that the cases can be tried as soon as possible and so that the legal status of the 22 is clear.  "We also asked about one person who committed murder in July 2000 who is now under arrest in Kupang.  But I'm sorry, I can't mention [don't
remember?] his name," said de Mello.  Untaet has also sent a letter to the Attorney General asking that the other 5 suspects in the murder case of the N. Zealand soldier in E. Timor be arrested as quickly as possible.  De Mello also said he asked that Guterres be tried in the ad hoc hr court in Indonesia since it relates to Guterres' trial in E. Timor. Trials in E. Timor can't be conducted before they have begun to be tried in the ad hoc hr court in Indonesia.  Untaet will also send a team to Jakarta to question Guterres in Jakarta.

 Ramos Horta said there are still about 80,000 refugees in Atambua who want to go home to E. Timor, but unfortunately their desires are being obstructed by militia.  "We are convinced they can return during the next three months" and praised the work of Udayana Commander Willem da Costa to settle the E. Timor refugee problem.  He went on to say, "At this time also we are making an effort at reconciliation as the beginning of a new life in E. Timor.  If reconciliation is carried out, elections will definitely be carried out in August 2001," said Horta. He said that in April there is to be a huge reconciliation event in Baucau that will be attended by Indonesia, E. Timor, and Untaet as well as parties related to the E. Timor process.  "We want something better for the future."  He said that in August Timor Leste will hold elections to choose a president and try to run its own government.

 [Much of the same news appears in this same paper with some additional info. ST "UNTAET asks about Guterres' trial"  JAKARTA Two UNTAET reps., Sergio de Mello and Ramos Horta, in their meeting with Attorney General Marzuki Darusman asked why Eurico Guterres has not yet been tried for human rights abuses.  Attorney General Darusman said that can only happen if the hr court has been formed by the House of Reps. Therefore, Untaet will send a team to Jakarta to investigate and question Eurico Guterres.]


West Timor Press: Edited by Eliot Hoffman

See Dec 22 IHT: A Family in East Timor Grieves for a Daughter for background to the above story.
"Juliana was one of several hundred people sheltering in the grounds of Ave Maria Roman Catholic church in Suai when it was attacked by Indonesian security forces and their Laksaur militia proxies in an unprovoked assault on Sept. 6, 1999, that left as many as 200 people dead, including three priests. ... The Indonesian government's human rights watchdog, Komnas HAM ... described what happened at the Suai church as indiscriminate killing, with the victims including men, women and children, aged between 5 and 40. In the chaos that followed the worst recorded atrocity after the UN-organized self-determination plebiscite in East Timor, Juliana was separated from her mother and taken to the district military headquarters. It was there that the Laksaur militia deputy leader, Igidio Mnanek, seized the young girl and proclaimed her as his "war prize." " Mark Dodd

See also: Dec 7 CapT: Village Women of East Timor have great hope
"Nearly everyone in Ainaro was forced from their homes following the referendum. Many fled to the mountains while others were coerced into refugee camps in Indonesian West Timor. Those who fled took no more than the clothes on their backs, blankets, tarps and cooking pots. In Ainaro, militia members looted and burned, leaving nothing behind. Women were specifically targeted in many ways -- they were separated from husbands and sons, harassed and often raped. In the refugee camps -- which are mostly populated by women and children -- living conditions are terrible, with food shortages, poor sanitation and rampant disease." Jen Laakso


BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor  home   February news
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