Soares accuses ABRI of Timor violence in judicial review hearing

Kompas – July 8, 2004
Former East Timor governor Abilio Jose Osorio Soares (BBC)
Former East Timor governor Abilio Jose Osorio Soares (BBC)

Jakarta, Kompas – Former East Timor governor Abilio Jose Osorio Soares has questioned the verdict handed down against him by the courts. He will therefore be appealing to the head of the Supreme Court to conduct a review into the court’s decision because he is simply being made a scapegoat who is bearing the responsibly for other people’s mistakes.

This was the essence of a memorandum read by Soares during a hearing into the judicial review which as held at the Jakarta Ad Hoc Human Rights Court in Tuesday July 6. The hearing was presided over by judge Cicut Sutiarso and attended by Soares’ defense team which includes OC Kaligis, Juan Felix Tampubolon, Indriyanto Seno Adji and YB Purwaning Yanuar.

The defense team also read out memorandum of appeal. Likewise, the ad hoc prosecution lead by Attorney General I Ketut Murtika read a counter memorandum against the judicial review.

As has been reported, in late 2003 the Level I Ad Hoc Human Rights Court sentenced Soares to three years jail which was later upheld by the Ad Hoc High Court. Soares then submitted an appeal to the Supreme Court however it was rejected and Soares is now submitting an appeal for a judicial review.

Not guilty

In the memorandum appealing for a judicial review, Soares stated that the appeal was being submitted because he does not feel guilty and has never committed human rights violations as he has been charged with.

This is based on the fact that during the trial there was not one witness who corroborated the prosecution’s charges and accusations. Furthermore in a statement by the East Timorese political elite which was issued at the end of May 2002 they stated that the prosecution’s charges were erroneous and contrived. Even the president of the East Timorese republic, Xanana Gusmao, has stated that Soares is not the person who is responsible for what occurred in East Timor.

Through the memorandum for a judicial review, Soares presented two new pieces of evidence, that is that when the results of the referendum were announced and disorder and shootings began, at the time control over security had already been taken over by the commander of the Udayana military command, Adam Damiri.

The other piece of evidence presented by Soares was that since May 1998 his position as governor had begun to be undermined by ABRI [Indonesian armed forces, now referred to as TNI] because [he was] considered to be blocking efforts to resolve the Timor questions though a military approach. He had also been asked by the ABRI commander to resign as governor although the he rejected the request. “At that time my position as the governor was being undermined by the military. They had begun to orchestrate the destruction of the official vehicles belonging to the governor’s office by people under their command. I was also demonstrated against by a number of people lead by Aitarak militia leader Eurico Guterres who according to the prosecutor is my subordinate”, he explained.

In fact said Soares, the one who acted as the architect of all of the incidents which undermined his position at that time was Colonel Tono Suratman (former East Timor military commander) and Colonel Yayat Sudrajat who at that time was the commander of the East Timor Intelligence Task Force. Both have been found not guilty by the courts.

“What confuses me most of all is the [legal] consideration which convicted me be by pressing the claim that Eurico, as the deputy commander of the Pro-Integration Fighters, was my subordinate”, he explained.In reality continued Soares, the troops lead by Guterres were a military wing. He also revealed an incident which was experience by his family when they left East Timor and were tortured and jailed by one of Sudrajat’s subordinates.

“The leaders of the organisation FPDK [Forum for Unity, Democracy and Justice] which acted as an umbrella for the pro-integration fighters, including my commander were totally untouched by the law. Why was it only Eurico who was sacrificed. What is behind all this? Are they immune in the face of the law in this republic”, said Soares.

The prosecution is still of he opinion that Soares is the person who is responsible for the murders at the house of pro-independence leader Manuel Carascalao. (son)

[Translated by James Balowski.]