Armed Forces Chief of General Staff (Kasum Abri)
The Chief of General Staff controls a large staff at TNI Headquarters and oversees intelligence, personnel, operations, logistics and a range of specialist staff. Among a half dozen key assistants, the three who had most to do with East Timor in 1999 were these: MajGen Endriartono Sutarto (operations - Asops Kasum), MajGen Sjafrie Syamsuddin (territorial affairs - Aster Kasum), and Rear Admiral Yoost F Mengko (intelligence - Asintel Kasum).
On 19 February 1999 Sugiono was present at a meeting between several high-ranking military officers led by Armed Forces Commander General Wiranto and a sizable delegation of pro-integration East Timorese led by FPDK chairperson Domingos Soares. The East Timorese asked Wiranto to supply them with firearms so they could face up to 'Fretilin' pressure in the leadup to the UN-sponsored ballot. Wiranto said he did not agree to the weapons request. However, a source in the office of East Timor governor Abilio Soares revealed in late March that, according to Abilio Soares, LtGen Sugiono had agreed to supply East Timorese pro-integration militias with '15,000' firearms. These were to be distributed via the local district military commands (kodim) beginning on 5 April.
In July 1999 he attended a 'reconciliation' meeting in Jakarta between pro- and anti-independence East Timorese (Dare II).
Sugiono kept himself closely informed on East Timorese issues. He sent his personal assistant there at least three times between June and August 1999. Col (Inf) Mochamad Nurhidajat Rusmono, intelligence officer at TNI headquarters Jakarta (Paban III/ Biddagri Sintel TNI) told KPP HAM he had gone there on a 'special assignment' from the Chief of General Staff to 'check on foreign press reports that TNI was siding with pro-integration forces'.
A year later, with East Timor gone, he put President Wahid on notice not to invite a foreign invasion force into Indonesia again, as President Habibie had done.
The three general staff assistants to Sugiono for operations, territorial affairs and intelligence were deeply involved in criminal operations in East Timor in 1999. Sugiono’s formal responsibilities included the direction and supervision of his subordinates’ activities. His own activities apart, as the senior staff officer in the Indonesian Armed Forces, Sugiono bears resonsibility for their crimes under the international law doctrine of command responsibility. Either Sugiono knew of their activities, and took no known action to stop them or, less plausibly, he did not know, and was hence derelict in his formal responsibility to keep himself informed of what was being done in his name. There can be little doubt that, while little direct evidence of his role has come to light, Sugiono was a major planner of the Indonesian army’s assault on East Timor in 1999.
Sugiono was born in Central Java in about 1948. He graduated from military academy in 1971. He has had some training in the US (Fort Benning, 1977; Fort Leavenworth, 1988). In the last years of the Suharto regime he headed the presidential security guard (1995-97) and was then appointed to command the Army Strategic Reserve (Kostrad) (1997-98), even though he had not made his career within Kostrad. He became Deputy Army Chief of Staff (March 1998 - January 1999), and (concurrently for a while) Chief of the Armed Forces Staff for General Affairs (Kasum ABRI). He also headed the secretariat of the (considerably weakened) military-controlled Coordinating Agency for State Stability (Bakorstanas) from January 1998.
At the end of 1999 he became Secretary-General to the Defence Ministry and then, after being replaced by LtGen Johny Lumintang, went to Beijing as Indonesian Ambassador in early 2001.