Search

 

Cablegate: Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin's History in Timor-Leste

VZCZCXRO0857
RR RUEHCHI RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHDT #0299/01 3100830
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 060830Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY DILI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4605
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1352
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHLI/AMEMBASSY LISBON 1172
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RHHJJPI/PACOM IDHS HONOLULU HI
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0965
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1141
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC
RUEHDT/AMEMBASSY DILI 4157

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 DILI 000299

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/RSP AND CA/FO
NSC FOR J. BADER AND D. WALTON
DHS/ICE/VSU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL CVIS ID TT
SUBJECT: SJAFRIE SJAMSOEDDIN'S HISTORY IN TIMOR-LESTE

REF: A. JAKARTA 1785
B. JAKARTA 1732
C. JAKARTA 1571

DILI 00000299 001.2 OF 003


1. SUMMARY: Indonesian General Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin served in
Timor-Leste on multiple occasions during the Indonesian
occupation. As commander of the Kopassus Intelligence Task
Force in 1991 he was present for the November 12 Santa Cruz
massacre in which many dozens of peaceful protestors were killed
and dozens more remain missing. His claim that he was rescuing
Western journalists during the massacre cannot be confirmed.
Sjamsoeddin served in Timor-Leste again in 1999 at the time of
the August 30 popular consultation. Multiple independent
investigations declare him criminally responsible for the
atrocities that occurred at that time, and put him near the top
of the list of responsible parties. END SUMMARY.

Indonesian Invasion and Early Occupation

2. Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin played an active role in Indonesia's
occupation of Timor-Leste from the moment of the invasion in
1975. He was part of Operation Seroja and a Group Commander in
Komando Pasukan Sandi Yudha, the forerunner of Kopassus, playing
a role in both combat and intelligence. He then served as
Commander of a Nanggala counter-insurgency unit in 1976. The
Nanggala units were known in Timor-Leste for their brutality and
ferocity.

1991 Santa Cruz Massacre

3. Sjamsoeddin served again in Timor-Leste from 1990 to 1992 as
part of Kopassus' Intelligence Task Force (Satuan Tugas
Intelijen or SGI). Although Sjamsoeddin does not list his
military affiliations on his non-immigrant visa application, as
required, other sources identify him as the SGI commander in
Timor-Leste during this period.

4. On the morning of 12 November 1991, Indonesian security
forces opened fire on a thousand or more demonstrators gathered
at the Santa Cruz Cemetery in Dili. The crowd was attending a
flower-laying service for Sebastiao Gomes, a Timorese killed in
a raid on the Motael Church several weeks earlier. The
Timor-Leste Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation
(CAVR), an independent body created and operated with the
support of the United Nations which has produced the most
comprehensive documentation to date of the 1974 to 1999 period
in its 2500-page Chega! report, estimates that 200 mourners were
killed or remain missing. Two Portuguese NGOs put the number of
dead or missing at over 500. A UN Special Rapporteur concluded
subsequently that the procession was a peaceful demonstration.
Forensic evidence presented in court proceedings showed that a
high proportion of the victims sustained bullet wounds in the
back.

5. Ten low-ranking members of the security personnel involved
in the events of 12 November were tried and convicted before
military courts in Indonesia. Sentences ranged from eight to 18
months and all those convicted were dishonorably discharged.
Other security personnel were not charged on the grounds that
they were following orders of superior officers. The convicted
personnel included at least one intelligence officer.

6. Multiple Western journalists were present in Dili on
November 12, including Americans Allen Nairn and Amy Goodman,
Australian Bob Muntz and Briton Max Stahl. All have spoken

DILI 00000299 002.2 OF 003


publicly or written about their experiences surrounding the
Santa Cruz Massacre. None of these journalists have ever
mentioned a rescue scenario like the one Sjamsoeddin claims to
have been involved in. Similarly, there is no record in the
CAVR archives or with the November 12 Committee, a Timorese NGO
dedicated to preserving testimonial records and identifying the
missing victims of the massacre, that corroborates Sjamsoeddin's
version of his whereabouts on November 12.

7. Several Timor-Leste experts characterize Sjamsoeddin as the
key man behind the Santa Cruz massacre. They cite testimony
received from Timorese observers as well as Sjamsoeddin's
position as the in-country head of Kopassus intelligence.

1999 Popular Consultation

8. Sjamsoeddin became Asisten Teritorial Kepala Staf Umum (Aster
Kasum) for the TNI in 1998 (Territorial Assistant to the Armed
Forces Chief of General Staff, Lt. Gen. Sugiono). He remained
in that position throughout 1999, including during the extensive
violence that surrounded the August 30 popular consultation.
Multiple independent investigations identify Sjamsoeddin as a
direct participant in the gross human rights violations that
occurred in Timor-Leste in 1999.

9. The late Sergio Vieira de Mello, at the time UN Transitional
Administrator in East Timor, commissioned a report on the nature
and causes of the atrocities committed in 1999. It found that
widespread extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions,
including both mass murder and individual killings, as well as
torture and violence against women, were carried out against the
people of East Timor. The report recommended 23 senior military
officers for criminal investigation for crimes against humanity.
It put at the top of the list the generals that "planned the
formation of the militia, providing its units with arms, money,
and targets." Sjamsoeddin was third on the list, after Zacky
Anwar Makarim and Adam Damiri. The report assessed that
Sjamsoeddin was "one of the key military officers responsible
for the development of the TNI strategy that led to serious
crimes against humanity in East Timor."

10. A report commissioned by the UN Office of the High
Commissioner for Human Rights put Sjamsoeddin in a group of
several dozen high-ranking TNI officers and senior civilian
officials that planned and coordinated the pro-integration
militias and the violence surrounding the popular consultation.
The report concluded that this group of planners bore criminal
responsibility for crimes against humanity. It identified
Sjamsoeddin as bearing both individual and command
responsibility for crimes against humanity. Sjamsoeddin was
ranked second on a list of officials recommended for criminal
investigation, behind Zacky Anwar. The report was written by a
UN officer present in Timor-Leste throughout the second half of
1999. The United Nations Serious Crimes Unit investigated
Sjamsoeddin but did not indict him.

11. Sjamsoeddin visited a Falintil base on August 27. General
Wiranto named him Chief Liaison Officer to UNAMET on August 31.
He returned to Dili no later than September 1. Contemporary
reports indicate Sjamsoeddin and Zacky Anwar held an extended
meeting on September 1 finalizing contingency plans in the event
that the results of the popular consultation rejected special
autonomy in favor of independence.


DILI 00000299 003.2 OF 003


12. Eyewitness testimony puts Sjamsoeddin at the residence of
Bishop Belo, a Nobel Peace Laureate, on September 6. TNI,
Brimob and militia groups attacked and burned the Bishop's
residence in an effort to forcibly evict several thousand
refugees from the compound. At least one refugee was killed and
more than a dozen injured. The eyewitness, who knew Sjamsoeddin
personally, maintains that Sjamsoeddin, in civilian dress,
directed the operation from the road outside the compound.

13. COMMENT: The near total absence of formal convictions makes
assigning blame for the atrocities committed in Timor-Leste
during the Indonesian occupation an interpretative matter. The
facts as described above lead us to conclude that Sjafrie
Sjamsoeddin held senior positions of command responsibility in
both 1991 and 1999, moments when atrocities undeniably occurred,
and strongly indicate his personal culpability. END COMMENT.
KLEMM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

NGO Coalition On Human Rights: Call For A Stop To Police Brutality In Fiji

A viral video has circulated online showing two police officers utilising disproportionate and excessive force in detaining the suspect, an individual half their size. In the video it shows the man’s head being pressed down on the ground, his arms being ... More>>

UN: India’s New COVID-19 Wave Is Spreading Like ‘Wildfire’, Warns UN Children’s Fund

7 May 2021 A new wave of COVID-19 infections is spreading like “wildfire” across India, leaving many youngsters destitute, the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF said on Friday. In the last 24 hours, India registered 3,915 coronavirus deaths and 414,188 ... More>>

UN: Decades Of Health Gains At Risk In Brazil Due To COVID-19

Although COVID-19 cases are declining in Brazil, the pandemic is putting decades of public health gains there at risk, the head of the World Health Organization ( WHO ) said on Friday. With global attention and support focused this week ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

UN: Economic Recovery Under Threat Amid Surging COVID Cases And Lagging Vaccination In Poorer Countries

New York, 11 May — While the global growth outlook has improved, led by robust rebound in China and the United States, surging COVID-19 infections and inadequate vaccination progress in many countries threaten a broad-based recovery of the world ... More>>

Study: Cut Methane Emissions To Avert Global Temperature Rise

6 May 2021 Methane emissions caused by human activity can be reduced by up to 45 per cent this decade, thus helping to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to a UN-backed ... More>>

UN: Learning From COVID-19, Forum To Highlight Critical Role Of Science, Technology And Innovation In Global Challenges

New York, 4 May —To build on the bold innovations in science, technology and innovations that produced life-saving solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN will bring together experts to highlight measures that can broaden the development and deployment ... More>>