BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor      home  April news

See full text of the report:
Apr 25 ETAN publishes text of suppressed UN report on East Timor destruction
Poster’s comment:
James Dunn is a former Australian consul in East Timor who wrote the definitive book on East Timor’s history in the mid-80’s [“Timor: A People Betrayed” obtainable through AETA:  - BD] and updated in 1996. He was hired by UNTAET last year to document the involvement of the Indonesian military in the crimes of 1999 in East Timor.
James Dunn submitted his report to UNTAET two months ago, but the UN hasn’t released it yet. A copy of the report was obtained by the Sydney Morning Herald and its Executive Summary and Recommendations were posted on their web site on April 20, 2001 at:

The following is the full text of the Executive Summary and recommendations:

Crimes Against Humanity in East Timor, January to October 1999

Their Nature and Causes

Executive Summary

1. The wave of so-called militia violence which swept over East Timor in 1999, culminating in massive deportations and destruction in September, was not the spontaneous response of those who favoured integration, but the outcome of a decision by TNI generals to counter the surge of popular support in East Timor for independence, by means of intimidation and violence, and to prevent the loss of the province to the Republic of Indonesia. The campaign of massive destruction, deportation and killings in September was essentially an operation planned and carried out by the TNI, with militia participation, to punish the people of East Timor for their vote against integration.

2. While some of the pro-integrationists, in particular leaders such as Governor Abilio Soares, Joao Tavares and Eurico Guterres, may have enthusiastically welcomed the formation of the militia, and its operational agenda, most of the minority who favoured staying with Indonesia would not have resorted to violence in pursuit of their preference.

3. Several of the senior TNI officers mentioned in this report not only sponsored the setting up of the militia, provided training, arms, money and in some cases drugs, they also encouraged its campaign of violence, and organised the wave of destruction and deportation which occurred between 5 and 20 September. I share with the authors of Indonesia’s KPP HAM report the view that it is inconceivable that General Wiranto, then head of Indonesia’s armed forces, was not aware of the massive operation mounted by subordinate generals. The magnitude of the operation and the resources needed to conduct it, would have required at least his condonement, for it to have been carried out.

4. The wave of violence led to very serious crimes against humanity. They include: killings, including mass murder, torture, abduction, sexual assault and assault against children, as well as mass deportation, and forced dislocation. The crimes against humanity also include the massive destruction of shelter, and of services essential to the upholding of the basic rights of the East Timorese to healthcare and education. In addition there was a massive theft of the property of the people of East Timor.

5. As the result of these crimes East Timor was left without an infrastructure, with its towns and villages in ruins. Its development was in effect set back more than a generation.

6. With the continued forced detention of those East Timorese in refugee camps in West Timor who wish to return to their homeland, one of the most serious crimes against humanity being considered in this report, is in fact still being perpetrated.

7. The failure so far of the Government of Indonesia to bring before a tribunal those responsible for the crimes committed in East Timor in 1999 is a matter of considerable disappointment. On the other hand, the efforts of those who compiled the KPP HAM report are to be congratulated for their commitment, their candor and their impartiality.


1. Efforts should be stepped up to establish the guilt of those ultimately responsible, or with shared responsibility, for the crimes committed in 1999, and to commence action to have them brought to justice. Particular attention needs to be given to investigating the roles played by TNI commanders, with a view to laying charges against those responsible for the events of 1999. To meet these challenges, which carry sensitive political and diplomatic implications, structural changes should be made to the sections presently dealing with these matters, namely the Office of the General Prosecutor and the Serious Crimes Investigation Unit.

2. The trials of those East Timorese militia at present in detention in Dili should be expedited. In judging their cases careful consideration needs to be given to the impact of the militia/TNI command structure on their actions, and to the factor of shared guilt.

3. In the event that no progress is made in Indonesia towards bringing to justice those responsible for the crimes committed in East Timor in 1999, immediate steps should be taken to negotiate the setting up of and international tribunal for this purpose.

4. The question of reparations, or some form of compensation, in relation to the massive destruction of shelter and buildings functioning for the well-being of the people, as well as the extensive and organised theft of property, should be placed prominently on the agenda, in relation to negotiations with the Government of Indonesia.

5. A solution to the position of East Timorese refugees in West Timor is a matter of considerable importance, since those detained against their will remain victims of a serious crime. Therefore, the efforts of UNTAET’s Transitional Administrator and UNHCR to resolve this issue deserve stronger support from the international community.

6. While this report focuses on events in 1999, in the course of my enquiries persistent allegations of very serious crimes against humanity, involving mass murder, since East Timor was invaded in 1975 have been brought to my attention. I join with the KPP HAM report (recommendation 27) in calling for a thorough investigation of what transpired and of who was responsible. The most serious crimes, such as the Creras and Santa Cruz massacres, are crimes of such magnitude that they must be considered of concern to the international community as a whole.

7. Action in relation to these matters is important both to the fulfillment of UNTAET’s mandate in East Timor, and to the development of an appropriately harmonious relationship between the new nation and Indonesia.

James Dunn, Dili        14 February 2001

See full text of the report:

Apr 25 ETAN publishes text of suppressed UN report on East Timor destruction  Release & Link to full text of report added Apr 30
"The report is now available on the internet at
The document, "Crimes Against Humanity in East Timor, January to October 1999: Their Nature and Causes," was written by former Australian diplomat James Dunn, an independent consultant to the Chief Prosecutor for the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor's (UNTAET). ETAN obtained the report from a source associated with the United Nations.
UNTAET officials do not plan to release the report, which was submitted to them in mid-February. It names some of the key Indonesian commanders most directly involved in planning and implementing the violence surrounding East Timor's UN-organized independence referendum in 1999. A UN spokesperson has said that the UN is not releasing the report out of concern that it will hinder negotiations with Indonesia.
"We believe it is crucial that those responsible for East Timor's destruction be held accountable," said John M. Miller, spokesperson for ETAN. "Prosecution of the Indonesian military officers responsible is necessary both for East Timor's future security and Indonesia's transition to democracy. Open discussion of the report's findings best serves all involved -- the UN, the Indonesian government and people, and the people of  East Timor." " The East Timor Action Network/U.S.

See also: BD: War Crimes & Crimes Against Humanity

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