LtCol (Inf) Hardiono Saroso
Chief of staff East Timor military sub-area command (Korem 164); Aileu military district commander (Kodim 1632, early 1999)
This officer spent fifteen out of sixteen years of military service in combat positions. He is on a list of officers who according to TNI Watch! should be investigated for human rights crimes committed in East Timor.
Saroso may have been in command in Aileu at the time of the mobilisation and arming of violent civilian paramilitaries in early 1999. The dominant paramilitary group in this area in April 1999 was Ahi. The district head in Aileu at this time was also a military officer, Suprapto Tarman, and most reports link militia violence in Aileu with this man.
Some time early in 1999 Saroso handed over the Ailieu military district command to Maj Maman Rachman, and went on to become chief of staff of the East Timor military sub-area command in Dili, under Col Tono Suratman. He replaced LtCol Supadi.
Later questioned in the ad hoc human rights court in Jakarta over his knowledge of Tono Suratman’s human rights record, ‘in the space of 10 minutes he replies five times that he doesn't know; five times that he doesn't remember; and twice that he has no information.’ Referring to the desperate plea for assistance by Manuel Carrascalao during the murderous militia attack on his home on 17 April 1999, Saroso said Carrascalao’s request had come ‘too late’ and had been ‘impolite’.
Hardiono Saroso graduated from the military academy in 1981. He was first platoon commander, then company commander of Company 142 in East Timor, and soon went on to head operations in the Manatuto and Lospalos areas (1983-85). In 1997, by which time he had become Commander of Infantry Battalion 144, he was appointed to the territorial command of Aileu district.