Timor-Leste’s ANTI alliance condemns impunity over ex-General Wiranto

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Wiranto, a former general who was head of the military in 1999 when Indonesia’s army committed serious human rights abuses in Timor-Leste, was named the Minister for Security, Political and Legal Affairs. Image: EPA

Timor-Leste’s National Alliance for an International Tribunal (ANTI) has condemned the Joko Widodo government in Indonesia for appointing retired general Wiranto as a minister in the new cabinet and called on the international community to use its influence in preventing the “nomination of criminals” to cabinet.

The statement reminded the world of the human rights allegations against Wiranto over his attempts to block independence in the country after 14 years of illegal Indonesian rule.

“We have been monitoring a real life political phenomenon happening in Indonesia, namely the decision of President Jokowi to include former General Wiranto as the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal and Security Affairs in his new cabinet,” said the ANTI statement.

“This decision has unsettled us a great deal.  We recall what happened in 1999, before, during, and after the referendum in Timor-Leste which resulted in more than 200,000 civilians suffering torture, rape, forceful removal, enforced disappearance and murder.

“These acts violate the fundamental human rights principles and values set out in international humanitarian law. For this reason, these acts are deemed crimes against humanity.”

ANTI said that for more than a decade, victims and the families of victims in Timor-Leste had consistently insisted on truth and justice for Timor-Leste from Indonesia and the international community, especially from the members of the UN Security Council.

“In 1999 Wiranto was the Supreme Commander of the Indonesian Armed Forces who had the competence and power to ensure security and stability for the process during and after the Referendum as set out on May 5, 1999, in agreement from the Minister for Foreign Affairs from Indonesia, the Minister for Foreign Affairs from Portugal, and the United Nations Secretary-General.

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‘Systematic violence’
“Former General Wiranto was the Supreme Commander of the Indonesian military and is a responsible member for the large scale and systematic violence, removal and persecution that resulted in 280 deaths and forced 200,000 people to flee to Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) in Indonesia, as well as the mass destruction inflicted on the personal possessions and assets of the Timorese people.

“In March 2003 the Serious Crimes Unit (SCU) issued an indictment against former general Wiranto and others.

“The aforementioned unit also requested for the Dili District Court to issue a warrant of his arrest. on March 19, 2004. The Deputy Prosecutor General for Serious Crimes issued a letter to support the issuance of a warrant of arrest against General Wiranto, with irrefutable evidence against him proving that General Wiranto committed human rights violations and crimes against humanity in Timor-Leste.

“Despite these gross charges, former general Wiranto lives as a free man holding positions of influence and power in Indonesia today.  He has never gone under any formal justice procedures where he could be prosecuted for his crimes and rather lives with an ambiguous status of ‘accused’, and trusted within the Widodo administration.

ANTI’s demands
“Based on these facts, the Timor-Leste National Alliance for an International Tribunal (ANTI) demands the following:

  1. For the international community to influence the Jokowi Government to take seriously the  prevention of nominating criminals within the government structure in order to further strengthen the process of democracy and to uphold human rights in Indonesia and elsewhere around the world;
  1. For the UN Security Council to consistently uphold its decision to combat impunity, based on the indictment issued by the Special Panel for Serious Crimes in 2003. We ask that an effective mechanism be sought to ensure that criminals are held accountable in a credible fashion, in particular the former General Wiranto;
  1. Indonesia and Timor-Leste need to strengthen and foster democracy to break the chain of impunity and establish societies that respect human rights values and strengthen the democratic rule of law. Therefore, we urge and stand by Indonesia to immediately remove Wiranto from the Joko Widodo Government structure.
  1. We Call on the international community members state has a moral responsibility to arrest the accuse former General Wiranto.

The statement was signed by the following non-government and human rights groups – all members of ANTI: JSMP, HAK, La’o Hamutuk, ACbit, Asosiasaun Vitima, KSI, Front Mahasiswa Timor-Leste, MDI, Sek. Fongtil, Fokupers, AJAR-TL and Verupupuk.

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