Cablegate: Aceh Update and Fourth Cospa Meeting

DE RUEHJA #1028/01 1480649
P 270649Z MAY 08




E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Aceh Update and Fourth CoSPA Meeting


1. (SBU) Summary. Former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari visited
Aceh and Jakarta and pronounced his satisfaction with progress in
the peace process while noting concerns regarding rising crime in
the province. These concerns were echoed by General Supiadin and
FKK Chair Gen Amirrudin who highlighted the growing problem of GAM
intimidation of government officials. In a positive step, GAM
leaders and officials in Jakarta agreed that the proposed GAM party
be called the "Aceh Party." The Committee on Sustaining Peace in
Aceh met on May 16 to discuss the establishment of a Joint Claims
Settlement Commission as required by the Helsinki MOU. End

Ahtisaari Visit: Focus on Rising Crime
2. (U) Former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari, the main
mediator involved in negotiating the signing of the 2005 Helsinki
MOU and ending the conflict in Aceh, visited the province from May 2
to May 6 before continuing on to Jakarta for meetings with President
Yudhoyono and Vice President Kalla on May 7. The visit was made to
fulfill an informal agreement that he visit Aceh annually to review
implementation of the peace accords. The visit included travel to
several regencies within Aceh and meetings with the senior
Indonesian military and police commanders in Banda Aceh as well as
meetings with Governor Irwandi Yusuf and other senior provincial
figures. Ahtisaari told members of the press that he is satisfied
with the progress in the peace process but is concerned about rising
crime and encouraged both GAM and the government to work to control
it. Ahtisaari also stressed the need to continue reintegration

GAM Party Renamed the Aceh Party
3. (SBU) After being informed in mid-April that Jakarta had rejected
the proposed revised name and symbol of the GAM party, party leaders
agreed to rename the organization "The Aceh Party." Governor Irwandi
Yusuf told Ambassador Hume, during his May 1-5 visit to Aceh, that
he himself had brokered the deal by negotiating directly with KPA
Commander/Party Chairman Muzakir Manaf and Coordinating Minister for
Politics and Security Widodo. Had he not done so, he said, there
was a risk that the issue could fester, feeding lingering suspicions
between the two sides. Irwandi added that he believes GAM party
candidates will perform extremely well in the 2009 legislative

Ex-GAM Eager for elections; Remain Impatient for Progress
4. (SBU) In a meeting with visiting National War College students
arranged and attended by Consulate Medan staff on May 13, Aceh
Transition Committee (KPA) Vice Chairman Kamaruddin and 12 other
local KPA district commanders voiced their frustration at the
progress of reintegration programs in Aceh. Kamaruddin lamented
what he claimed was a "total lack" of reintegration programs and
repeatedly voiced his lack of confidence in Aceh Reintegration Body
(BRA) chairman Nur Djuli. Kamaruddin added that KPA had asked the
Indonesian government in Jakarta to stop funding BRA because of this
lack of confidence.

5. (SBU) Despite the KPA's expressed dissatisfaction with BRA, the
issue is primarily rooted in internal GAM politics, not performance.
Because of a bitter, long-standing personal dispute between BRA
Chairman Nur Djuli and GAM "Prime Minister" Malik Mahmud, Malik's
loyalists have refused to participate directly in programs organized
by BRA. This places Malik and other KPA ideologues in a bind: they
want assistance to flow to victims of the conflict, but they want to
be seen as directing that assistance. If BRA is perceived as being
too successful, it raises the profile of rival GAM leaders while
undermining KPA's claim that the organization is needed to lobby on
behalf of conflict victims and former combatants. KPA's proposed
solution is for the government to hand BRA's reins over to KPA,
something neither the governor nor Jakarta would conceivably accept.

6. (SBU) The KPA district commanders stated their continuing
preparations for forming the Aceh Party were progressing, and that
most of those present in the May 13 meeting would run for local

JAKARTA 00001028 002 OF 003

parliament seats in April, 2009. They also spoke repeatedly about
the "roundtable" process of negotiations in Jakarta on implementing
the peace process in Aceh, a parallel institution to the ongoing
Committee on Sustaining Peace in Aceh (CoSPA) and their monthly
meetings (reftel). Kamaruddin added that the recent Ahtisaari visit
was a positive sign for KPA and highlighted the continuing
international interest in Aceh.

7. (SBU) Kamaruddin and the KPA district commanders reiterated
their commitment to the Helsinki MOU and their intention to abide by
the peace agreement. They called on the Government of Indonesia to
do the same, adding that they believed that the Indonesian military
was currently basing some 30,000 soldiers in Aceh, far above the
"organic" 14,700 level allowed for in the MOU. Nevertheless,
Kamaruddin made it clear that the KPA remained committed to peace
and the reintegration of all former fighters. Pressed regarding
what type of reintegration programs KPA desires, Kamaruddin and his
colleagues added that they were not as interested in getting jobs as
they were in ensuring the central government met its
responsibilities under the peace agreement to provide either land or
employment to able-bodied former combatants. (oops, odd
contradiction not jobs but employment?)

Crime and Intimidation
8. (SBU) According to both General Supiadin and the leadership of
FKK, intimidation of government officials and private businesses,
ostensibly by former GAM members, has is an extremely serious
problem. FKK Chairman General Amirrudin told Ambassador Hume that
former combatants have threatened government officials demanding
contracts or money. Several newly installed office heads, he said,
have already received a bullet and note warning them that they are
being watched. The point, he said, was to terrorize and soften the
officials up for when ex-combatants compete for contracts or other

Breakthrough on UXO
9. (SBU) All around Aceh, Amiruddin added, there are small caches
of grenades, mortar rounds, and other explosives that were hidden by
GAM members during the conflict. Since the end of the conflict
there have been numerous incidents in which people have been injured
by these weapons. General Amiruddin told Ambassador Hume that GAM
had recently agreed to help FKK locate the caches so the weapons can
be destroyed. FKK, he said, would welcome any assistance the U.S.
could provide in disposing of these weapons.

Governor Irwandi: Focus on Economics
10. (SBU) During a May 13 meeting with Governor Irwandi Yusuf and
visiting students from the National War College, the governor told
Consulate Medan staff that his main focus remained the economic
development of the province. He cited aquaculture and agribusiness
as two areas for expanded economic activity in Aceh. Irwandi added
that he has great confidence in the current government in Jakarta
and their commitment to the peace process. The governor added,
implausibly, that rising crime may be a fact of life, but that in
relation to other provinces in Indonesia the crime rate remains in
fact very low and that the current focus is the result of
post-conflict sensitivity to any violence in Aceh.

11. (SBU) Irwandi also described calls to divide the province as
extremely unhelpful because they provided false hope to those who
were dissatisfied with Aceh's provincial government. He saw those
seeking to encourage these parts of Aceh in their separatist
tendencies as political opportunists. Apparently unaware that Riau
Island province was carved out of Riau province despite strong
opposition from the provincial government, governor Irwandi insisted
that any decision to create a separate province would require both
his and the provincial legislature's approval, something that he
stated would never realistically happen.

Fourth CoSPA Meeting: Joint Claims Settlement Commission
12. (U) The CoSPA meeting held on May 16 focused on the
establishment of a Joint Claims Settlement Commission (JCSC) as
required by the Helsinki MOU. Attendees included Governor Irwandi

JAKARTA 00001028 003 OF 003

Yusuf, General Supiadin AS on behalf of the Indonesian Military, FKK
and GAM representatives, and representatives from the Indonesian
National Police. The attendees agreed that the JCSC should be
composed of 5-7 independent representatives designed to review
reintegration cases where the BRA had denied benefits and the
petitioner appealed the BRA's decision. It was agreed by the
members in attendance to establish a small working group to decide
the parameters and method of choosing the JCSC.

13. (SBU) General Supiadin repeatedly noted that any actions taken
by the CoSPA in establishing the JCSC would also act as precedents
for areas of conflict in Indonesia such as Maluku and Papua.
Supiadin stressed the need for careful consideration in the process
of defining who had the right, as an ex-combatant or as a victim of
the Aceh conflict, to seek compensation from the BRA and eventually
the JCSC. Supiadin's concerns seemed to stem from the fact that
while the BRA is a local organization with an Aceh-only mandate, the
proposed JCSC involves formalizing the elements of the Helsinki MOU
dealing with this issue, therefore requiring the central government
to approve the process and creating a legal precedent for future
post-conflict negotiations.

14. (SBU) The second topic on the agenda of the CoSPA, the question
of using civilian courts to try soldiers accused of crimes against
civilians during the conflict, was turned aside by General Supiadin
through his argument that the CoSPA lacked jurisdiction on the
matter. (A draft reform bill on military justice is being worked
with the DPR; it would institute civilian trials.) Supiadin
provided an overview of the Indonesian military's current progress
in internal reforms designed to improve the military courts system
and noted that again this question is Indonesia-wide and not
Aceh-specific, therefore the government of Indonesia could not agree
to discuss details in an Aceh-only forum. He added again the
question of impact on the regions of Maluku and Papua and the
question of precedent. The attendees agreed to postpone discussion
on the issue.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>


Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>


  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC