MajGen (Inf) Adam Rahmat Damiri
Commander (Pangdam) of military area (Kodam) Udayana, which includes East Timor
MajGen Adam Damiri and his deputy commander at Udayana, BrigGen Mahidin Simbolon, were central to the organisation (training, funding, arming) of the East Timorese militias.
Damiri held numerous meetings with militia leaders, clandestinely as well as openly, in East Timor as well as in Denpasar, from late 1998 and throughout 1999. He defended these meetings as a normal part of his territorial duty to keep in touch with societal leaders, or as support for a legally constituted civil defence organisation. According to the KPP HAM report (paragraph 39), he described the militias as 'patriotic organisations' in a secret report dated 11 July 1999 to politics and security coordinating minister Feisal Tanjung. Among them he then listed the following notorious armed groups: BMP, Mahidi, AHI, JMP, Ablai, Laksaur, Darah Integrasi, Halilintar, Aitarak, Morok, Makikit, Pejuang 59/75, Alfa and Sakunar.
According to the Dili indictment against him (clauses 11-16), he flew a prominent East Timorese leader to meet him in Bali in August 1998 and told him to establish a group to promote integration. Later the same month he traveled to Dili where Col Tono Suratman hosted another meeting with pro-Indonesian East Timorese. Other sources say the meeting took place on 10 or 12 August 1998, and that Joao Tavares, Eurico Guterres, and Cancio de Carvalho were among those attending. Damiri told the meeting that international attention on East Timor was a problem for Indonesia, and that they should come up with a plan for creating organisations to spread pro-Indonesian sentiment throughout East Timor. They should form a solid civil defence force based on previous TNI-supported models and that this force should be expanded and developed to protect integration.
The following November Damiri met again with these pro-Indonesian East Timorese in Dili (Tomas Goncalves was also among them by this time) and asked them to join together and assist TNI to fight Fretilin. He particularly praised Eurico Guterres as a young man eager to fight for integration and said he was willing to give Guterres Rp 50 million to begin his work.
In January 1999, just before President Habibie announced the independence ballot, MajGen Adam Damiri appointed Eurico Guterres head of Gardapaksi and gave him Rp 50 million (about US$6000 at the time) to revive the organisation that had become dormant after it was first set up in 1994. Guterres boasted to journalists that he took his orders directly from Damiri.
In February he received these pro-Indonesian East Timorese at his Bali headquarters and told them TNI was ready to give secret support to pro-Indonesian forces. It had to be secret, he explained, in order to avoid international scrutiny and criticism. He asked them to gather East Timorese who had served in TNI, and to meet Col Tono Suratman for further instructions. After that, most of the organising was done by Col Tono Suratman, MajGen Zacky Anwar Makarim, and LtCol Yayat Sudrajat.
Some sources say the appointment of Eurico Guterres marked the start of Operation Clean Sweep (Operasi Sapu Jagad), designed to eliminate pro-independence activists. The term is known only from a document signed by a militia leader (Lafaek Saburai, on 11 March 1999). Yet it is believed Sapu Jagad was an elaborate joint territorial and intelligence operation coordinated by MajGen Adam Damiri. Such clandestine operations were an essential part of the 'dwifungsi' (dual function) political and security role of the army throughout New Order Indonesia. Their well-practiced aim was to exercise power while maintaining deniability.
In March 1999 Damiri told a luxurious media awareness seminar for militia leaders held in Bali that Indonesia 'was behind them 100% and would never abandon them'. He was in East Timor immediately before militias launched the first murderous attack - against refugees sheltering in the Catholic church in Liquica on 6 April 1999. He told reporters the armed forces had given weapons to a 'limited number' of pro-Jakarta militia groups, including Joao Tavares.
In a public ceremony at this same time he installed Herminio da Costa as chief of staff of the new militia umbrella organisation (PPI). Herminio afterwards told American journalist Alan Nairn he had been given a licence to kill CNRT leaders by East Timor police chief Col (Pol) Timbul Silaen and military commander Col Tono Suratman.
After the 6 April 1999 Liquica massacre Damiri engaged in a polemic with Nobel Peace Prize-winning Bishop Belo about the number of victims. Damiri said only five had died, whereas Belo believed there were 25. Damiri also blamed the priest Rafael, rather than the militias and police and military, for the killings at Liquica, and did not respond to Belo's complaints that bodies were surreptitiously removed. In his secret July report to Feisal Tanjung, Damiri noted that it was only after this massacre that East Timor society became aware that the integration group clearly had many supporters. The killing, he inferred, had had a positive effect.
On 17 April 1999 he was present at a large militia rally in Dili at which newly installed militia commander Eurico Guterres urged his followers to 'capture and kill if you need' those who had 'betrayed integration'. They went on to do precisely that at the home of Manuel Carrascalao, leaving at least 12 dead. Damiri did nothing.
On 5 May 1999, Damiri received a telegram from newly installed deputy chief of staff LtGen Johny Lumintang ordering him to make contingency plans including the evacuation of East Timor should the independence option win the ballot. In response, he developed a plan code-named 'Rencana Operasi Cabut II', briefly known as Operasi Cabut (Operation Pull-out). Damiri told an Indonesian court hearing he put this plan into effect upon the declaration of martial law on 8 September 1999, but that it dealt with security and 'state assets'.
In June 1999 he refused to withdraw his troops to barracks, as the newly arrived Unamet had requested (based on the latter's interpretation of the word 'redeploy' in the UN Agreement), because, he said, they were keeping the peace in East Timor.
Militia leaders wanting to defect to Untaet a year after the post-ballot mayhem told journalist Joanna Jolly in October 2000 that Damiri, together with President Habibie and Gen Wiranto, were present at a secret meeting in Dili on 20 August 1999. However, this claim is almost certainly false.
Adam Damiri told the Ad Hoc Court in Indonesia that on two occasions, 13 and 23 August 1999, he visited the church in Suai. Refugees sheltering there were to be brutally attacked by militias a few days later. On 29 August 1999, on the eve of the ballot, Damiri was in Dili and held meetings with top military personnel from throughout the territory. Observers noted complete police and military inaction in the midst of widespread militia intimidation around East Timor.
He told the Jakarta court he made the Suai visits in his capacity as Commander of the Nusa Tenggara Operational Command (Panglima Komando Operasi Nusa Tenggara - Pangkoops Nusra). This structure was apparently established soon after the 5 May 1999 agreement. It took over full control in East Timor when martial law was declared on 8 September 1999. Its name was reminiscent of the combat command (Kolakops) that caused such havoc in East Timor until it was officially disbanded following the Santa Cruz massacre of 1991.
On the day the ballot result was announced, 4 September 1999, Damiri signed orders for weapons and supplies to be given to his troops in East Timor. The human rights organisation Yayasan HAK, which discovered the signed orders, said: 'If these troops were out of control, why were they being supplied from the highest level?'
On 5 September, the day after the ballot result was announced, Adam Damiri attended a meeting with Gen Wiranto and other top military officers at the official residence of Col Nur Muis in Dili. It is difficult to believe this meeting did not discuss the detailed contingency plans that had been set in motion the day before.
Questioned by KPP HAM following the post-ballot violence in East Timor, Damiri said he was responsible for security in East Timor only during the short interval of martial law between 5 September (even though martial law was not officially declared till 7 September), presumably until 8 September, when MajGen Kiki Syahnakri was made martial law administrator. Syahnakri was responsible directly to Jakarta. This was the period of the worst atrocities, perpetrated and supported by the military. (In addition, Damiri had unexpectedly brought a lot of new troops to Dili on 3 September).
In East Timor in 1999, the military were formally in control of security for only a few days - between 5 (or 7) September 1999 and the handover to Interfet on 27 September 1999. Before that brief period of Indonesian martial law, under the terms of the UN Agreement of 5 May 1999 (elaborated in six 'preconditions' by the UN Secretary General on 22 May 1999), the military were to 'redeploy', leaving police in charge of security. However, the police remained institutionally part of the military at the beginning of 1999, while at the end of the year it had in stages become a more or less separate organisation. The fluidity and lack of transparency in the whole structure made buck-passing an art form. (Interestingly, police told Unamet civpol that before 5 May 1999 East Timor was in a state of war and therefore under military responsibility, something the military never acknowledged.) It is clear from the record that the military was undisputed as the most powerful security authority in East Timor in 1999.
Adam Damiri was on 1 July 2002 indicted before the Indonesian court for crimes against humanity specifically in relation to the massacres in Liquica (6 April 1999), Isaac Leandro’s and Manuel Carrascalao’s homes (17 April 1999), the Dili Diocese (5 September 1999), Bishop Belo’s residence (6 September 1999), and the Suai church (6 September 1999). Nearly a year later, on 5 June 2003, in an extraordinary move, the prosecutor reversed himself and requested the judge to acquit Damiri of all charges due to lack of evidence.
On 24 February 2003 he was charged in absentia with crimes against humanity before the Dili special panel. Indicted with him were six other senior military officers including Gen Wiranto (where the indictment is summarised), as well as Governor Abilio Soares.
His team of his assistants, all of them questioned by KPP HAM, was as follows:
- LtCol (Cav) Halomoan Chrisman Silitonga
Seconded mid-ranking officer for regional security, Kodam IX/ Udayana (Perwira Bantuan Madya bidang Pembinaan Keamanan Wilayah pada Teritorial Kodam IX/ Udayana). Silitonga graduated from the military academy in 1983.
Seconded mid-level officer to administration, intelligence staff, Udayana command (Perwira Bantuan Madya bidang Administrasi pada Staf Intel Kodam IX/ Udayana, serial no. 447036)
- Capt (Cav) Gunung Iskandar
Seconded mid-ranking officer for operations, Kodam IX/ Udayana (Perwira Bantuan Madya bidang Operasi pada Staf Operasi Kodam IX/Udayana, serial no. 32726).
In December 1999 Damiri was promoted to operational assistant to the armed forces chief of staff (Asops Kasum), at armed forces headquarters in Jakarta. He was responsible for troop movements to Aceh.
Adam R Damiri (serial number 25109) was born on 20 November 1949. He graduated from military academy in 1972. By 1997 he had risen to chief of staff of the Jakarta garrison. He was appointed to command the Udayana area in June 1998 and held the position until November 1999.