Wiranto & East Timor

May 8th, 2007, in News, by

There was no genocide or serious human rights abuse in East Timor.

(Retired) General Wiranto, former commander of the Indonesian military and the founder of the Hanura Party, said in Jakarta on 5th May to the East Timor Commission of Truth and Friendship, that there were no serious, systemic human rights violations in East Timor immediately before and after the 1999 independence referendum in the former Portugese colony.

Wiranto
Wiranto, when in uniform.

The East Timor Commission of Truth and Friendship is a joint initiative of the East Timorese and Indonesian governments which offers amnesty to those willing to tell the truth about the events of 1999. Wiranto appeared before it voluntarily and took an oath on the Koran before giving his one and a half hour account. iht

For 23 years there was a “horizontal” conflict (a civil war) between pro-independence and pro-integration forces, he said, and the Indonesian armed forces were put in a difficult position between them. This position was especially tricky in the months preceding the referendum on independence in 1999, he said, because the Army was given three months to bring the two opposing groups to peace. However the Army succeeded and the 4th September 1999 plebiscite went ahead peacefully.

If we had had an evil agenda to scuttle the referendum, there wouldn’t have been a referendum and there wouldn’t have been an independent East Timor.

Things turned sour later:

The violence after the referendum wasn’t planned, it was just a continuation of the pre-existing pro-independence vs pro-integration war.

The proof of this could be seen today in the continued fighting in East Timor, even though now it was independent and free. The rioting and fighting that rocked Dili in 2006 and 2007 was similar to that which occured in 1999, he said. Things couldn’t be understood purely in terms of what was happening at a given time, the whole history of East Timor going back to the Portugese period should be considered.

So there were no serious human rights crimes, just violent acts, criminal acts by two groups who had a long history of fighting.

If it were true that elements of the Indonesian armed forces were involved in criminal acts then it was the fault of individuals, not institutions, he said. Crimes by rogue officials could not be classed as “heavy” crimes, because there was not an organised, institutional basis to them. antara


33 Comments on “Wiranto & East Timor”

  1. Observato says:

    Facts add up. Under Indonesia, exploitation was unrealized, soon after independence, Aussie exploited the resources. Aid often translate to loan, and at least somehow you must invest some amount of money. Now count the benefit you harvested until right know.

  2. Astrajingga says:

    Gosh, that Purbo Negoro, an ultranationalist fanatic in red berret.

    I think ‘the genocide and human rights abuses never happens in East Timor’ is as true as ‘there was no genocide and human rights abuses in Indonesia post G30S.’ (If there was, ABRI wasn’t involved!) Yeah, yeah, yeah….

    Denial, denial, denial.

  3. Enrico Gutteres says:

    If the Indonesian think they’ve mastered the shadow puppet the Australian managed to outwit the master.

    It’s all about Oil nothing more and nothing less.

    Unfortunately it’s the local Timorese who suffered most.

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