Page last updated at 12:35 GMT, Thursday, 10 July 2008 13:35 UK

Indonesia funded 'E Timor abuse'

By Lucy Williamson
BBC News, Jakarta

Pro-Jakarta militia on patrol
Timorese militia were funded by the Indonesian army, the report says

The Indonesian army funded militias that committed human rights abuses in East Timor, according to a truth commission report seen by the BBC.

The commission has been investigating human rights violations committed as Indonesia withdrew from East Timor nine years ago.

It says the Indonesian army was responsible for gross human rights abuses carried out by militias there.

The report says the crimes included murder, torture and sexual violence.

It also suggests that the United Nations police at the time allowed civilian militias to be rearmed.

Crimes against humanity

The contents of the report have been kept largely secret.

It is due to be handed over to the presidents of both Indonesia and East Timor next week.

The report was never meant to name individuals, but among the institutions it lists there is little doubt which one comes off worst.


Indonesia's army, it says, armed and funded pro-Indonesian militias in a highly organised way.

These militias were the main perpetrators of the crimes against humanity that occurred in Timor in 1999.

They carried out murders, rapes, torture and forced deportations which amounted to a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population, according to the report.

Army commanders knew these crimes were happening, it says, but kept on arming and organising militia members.

Taking responsibility

Indonesia's civilian authorities also bear institutional responsibility.

The report says they also continued to fund militias despite knowing about the gross human rights violations they were committing.

Pro-independence groups also committed violations, it says, though far fewer and less serious in nature.

Some of this has been said before - part of the commission's task was to analyse previous data - but this is a bilateral body, commissioned not by the UN, but by the two governments themselves.

Indonesia has traditionally said the violence in 1999 was sporadic - the result of the actions of a few individuals.

The question now is whether an admission of responsibility be enough for every Timorese - and whether it be too much for some in Indonesia.

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