Tue, 06 Aug 2002

TNI intended to kill me: Carrascalao

Tiarma Siboro, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Former East Timor independence leader Manuel Viegas Carrascalao told the Human Rights Tribunal on Monday that the Indonesian Military did nothing to prevent the bloody violence against proindependence East Timorese in the run-up to the 1999 referendum.

"The military authorities were intent on killing me and refused to take action against the militiamen when they attacked my house and killed dozens of people who were taking refuge there, including my son.

"Even Pak Tono Suratman, who at the time was the East Timor military commander, just laughed at me and did not do anything to prevent the attack when I went to his house and asked for protection," Carrascalao said.

Carrascalao was testifying against defendant Lt. Col. Endar Priyanto, former Dili military district commander, who is accused of gross human rights violations for his failure to prevent pro- Jakarta militias from attacking his residence on April 17, 1999. At least 12 people were killed, including Manuel's 16-year-old son Manelito Carrascalao.

If proven, the charge carries a minimum sentence of ten years imprisonment.

Carrascalao's testimony was surprising even for the judges because he was the first high-level proindependence leader to testify before the tribunal that has charged 18 Indonesian officials with crimes against humanity. The trial is in connection with the violence that occurred in East Timor when the former Indonesian territory voted for independence in a referendum in August 1999.

Carrascalao blamed the militia and Indonesian soldiers for attacking his residence and accused top officials of not attempting to prevent the violence.

According to Carrascalao, pro-Jakarta militiamen attacked his residence after they held a ceremony marking the establishment of Pamswakarsa at the governor's office. Witnessing the ceremony were former East Timor governor Abilio Jose Osorio Soares; Tono Suratman; Maj. Gen. Adam Damiri, former Udayana Military commander; Maj. Gen. Zaky Anwar Makarim, former chief of the Armed Forces Intelligence Body (BIA); and Lt. Gen. (ret) Kiki Syahnakrie, former military emergency commander in East Timor.

"It was between 10 a.m. and 12 a.m. when the ceremony took place. And at the time, I was driving to Comoro Airport to pick up my wife. Then I heard on the radio that Eurico Gutteres, the militia's commander, made a speech inciting his members to kill me.

"But none of these generals, ... none of them, including Kiki Syahnakrie, tried to stop it even though he (Kiki) knew that these militiamen might kill his nephew (Manelito)," Carrascalao said.

"For your information, your honor, Kiki's wife is my wife's cousin," he was quick to add.

According to Carrascalao, he immediately returned to Dili when he knew that the militiamen were on the way to his house at Jl. Dr. Antonio de Calvarho No. 13. He decided to go to Tono's house first in an attempt to ask for protection, considering there were some 136 proindependence people who were taking refuge at his house.

"In spite of that, Tono did not do anything but just laughed. He said that he had to remain neutral and asked me to seek protection from CNRT," Carrascalao said, referring to proindependence National Council for East Timor Resistance.

Tono, whose trial was held on Monday in a different courtroom, later denied Carrascalao's accusations and said he was a neutral party during the fighting.

"Carrascalao came to me to ask for weapons. I didn't give him the weapons. I didn't give weapons to either pro- or anti- independence groups." Tono told reporters.

Earlier in a day, Carrascalao also gave a brief testimony for former East Timor police chief Brig. Gen. Timbul Silaen, saying that "all Indonesian generals wanted me to die, except this gentleman (Timbul Silaen)."