Commander of Tim Alfa militia, Lospalos
Alfa Team was run by Kopassus and operated out of the Kopassus base in Lospalos. In charge of the Laruara base was Lt Rahman Zulkarnaen, and Joni Marquez immediate superior was Sgt Syaful Anwar.
He told court hearings in Dili in August 2001 that he was recruited by former commander Prabowo in 1986 to set up Alfa Team for the military, and that he himself was recruited into Kopassus. Along with other Kopassus personnel he received training from Australian special forces in Bandung in 1984.
On 21 April 1999, Marquez’ militia was responsible for torturing and then murdering Evaristo Lopes (Averisto Lopez) at its Kopassus base. Marquez said in testimony that the murder was actually committed by Kopassus soldier Sgt Syaful Anwar.
On 25 September 1999, three weeks after the ballot result had been announced but before Interfet troops reached the Lospalos area, Marquez led an Alfa Team militia attack on a church delegation at Lautem Junction, on the outskirts of Lautem village in Lautem district. The delegation was travelling to Baucau after delivering humanitarian aid. Of the nine killed, two were nuns, one was a chance passerby who refused to join the attack, and one was Indonesian journalist Agus Mulyawan. Marquez allegedly shot dead a wounded nun. The bodies were dumped in the Raumoko River.
After the attack on the Catholic party, his militia encountered a group of Falintil soldiers, who arrested him and his men and eventually handed them over to the UN. In 2001 he was tried and convicted for crimes against humanity.
Joni Marquez, 35 in 1999, confessed to the Lautem murders, and told investigators that Alfa Team was set up, trained and armed by Kopassus through its Tribuana unit. But it remains unclear who ordered him to attack the nuns. He told one group of investigators that the attack was ordered by the Lospalos military district commander (Komandan Kodim Lospalos, LtCol Sudrajat AS). Another report of Marquez' confession said it was ordered by 'a number of Kopassus officers' [presumably his handlers Lt Rahman Zulkarnaen and Sgt Syaful Anwar], and yet another that it was ordered by 'a general in Jakarta'.
Nine other Alfa Team members were in early December 2001 sentenced by the Serious Crimes Panel in Dili for the same crime. Their prison terms are indicated in brackets.
- Joni Marquez (33 years)
- João da Costa (33 yrs)
- Paulo da Costa (33 yrs)
- Goncalo dos Santos (23 yrs)
- Manuel da Costa (19 yrs)
- Amelio da Costa (18 yrs)
- Hilario da Silva (17 yrs)
- Gilberto Fernandes (5 yrs)
- Mauterca Moniz (4 yrs)
- Alarico Fernandes (4 yrs)
- Jose Valente was sentenced by the Serious Crimes Panel on 18 June 2001 to 12 years 6 months prison for murdering Bendito Marques Cabral and attempting to murder Armindo da Silva at Lautem, both pro-independence activists, on 25 September 1999. Valente was a member of Alfa Team.
Mark Dodd and Craig Skehan, 'Diggers trained me, says Timor thug', Sydney Morning Herald, 10 August 2001; Mark Dodd, 'War crimes defendant given special protection', Sydney Morning Herald, 27 July 2001.
'Laying the blame: East Timor January-September 1999', Sydney Morning Herald, 28 April 2001. Details of Marquez and the other ten charged in this case are in: 'East Timor: Justice past, present and future', Amnesty International (AI-index: ASA 57/001/2001), 27 July 2001.
Tribuana is mentioned in Chapter IV of KPP HAM summary report (Komisi Penyelidik Pelanggaraan Hak Asasi manusia di Timor Timur. 'Ringkasan Eksekutif Laporan Penyelidikan Pelanggaran Hak Asasi Manusiadi Timor Timur', detikcom, 31 January 2000); see also 'Pengadilan Wiranto dkk. sudah dekat', Xpos, No. 46/II, 19-25 December 1999; 'Militia leader says Indonesian intelligence ordered nuns massacre', AFP, 14 December 1999; Lindsay Murdoch, 'Militiaman implicates generals', Sydney Morning Herald, 1 December 1999; Ajianto Dwi Nugroho, 'Abadi dalam foto', Pantau, July 2001, pp.43-47.