Indicted Officer Removed from West Papua, ETAN Urges His Prosecution

Indicted Officer Removed from West Papua

ETAN Urges His ProsecutionFor Immediate Release

John M Miller, ETAN, +1 718-596-7668; etan@etan.org

August 21 – The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) and the
West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) today welcomed the removal of Col.
Burhanuddin Siagian from his command in West Papua. Siagian faces two
indictments in East Timor for crimes against humanity committed in 1999.

“Col. Siagian’s removal from Papua is a welcome move,” said John M.
Miller, National Coordinator of ETAN. “Indonesia should take the next
steps and suspend him from any command and then hand him over for trial
for the crimes he committed in East Timor.”

Siagian was the target of international campaign urging his removal
from Papua and calling for his trial.

As commander in West Papua, he made extremely incendiary remarks about
Papuans engaged in peaceful protest. In May 2007, he reportedly
threatened to destroy anyone who betrays Indonesia. This and other
statements were similar to those he made while stationed in East Timor
in 1999 during the referendum period.

“Unfortunately, the transfer of Col. Siagian has not ended the
repression in West Papua. A little over a week ago Opius Tabuni was
shot and killed by Indonesian security forces during a celebration
World Indigenous People’s Day in Wamena,” said Ed McWilliams of
WPAT. Prisoners of conscience, like Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage,
continue to serve outrageously long prison terms for engaging in
peaceful protest.

“The failure of the Indonesian government to extradite Siagian and his
continued service in the Indonesian armed forces are signs of the
Indonesian government’s lack of commitment to justice and
accountability,” said Miller.

Background

Siagian was replaced in late July as commander of the Jayapura
sub-regional military command (Korem 172) in Papua. However, he remains
on active duty, stationed in East Java.

Col. Burhanuddin Siagian has been indicted twice in East Timor for
crimes against humanity. According to the indictments issued by a
UN-backed court in 2003, Col Siagian publicly threatened to kill
supporters of Timor-Leste’s independence and was directly responsible
for the death of seven men. He is also thought to have been responsible
for the creation of the Bobonaro militia, one of the most brutal in
East Timor. Col. Siagian is named as a suspect in the report of
Indonesia’s own Commission of Investigation into Human Rights
Violations in East Timor, which investigated human rights abuses in
East Timor in 1999. (Copies of the indictments involving Col. Siagian
can be found here:
http://jsmp.minihub.org/indictmentspdf/Cailacoindnannexeng07feb03 and
http://jsmp.minihub.org/indictmentspdf/Maliana_Burhanuddin22_7_03.pdf .)

In May 2008, members of the UN Committee Against Torture asked whether
“Indonesia, as a member of Interpol” was planning to hand over people,
including Siagian, for whom Interpol has issued red notices –
notifications of international warrants. Interpol issued a Red Notice
for Siagian in 2003.

Committee Expert Felice Gaer asked about Indonesia’s response to
Interpol red notices for people currently residing in Indonesia
indicted in East Timor for alleged crimes committed in 1999. The next
day, she noted that Indonesia had failed to respond to her questions
“about the legal proceedings concerning the individuals that were
wanted by Interpol for their implication in the East Timor conflict.
One of them was a colonel currently serving with the Indonesian
military command. Was the Government planning to arrest this individual
and respect its obligations under Interpol? Also, the question of
sending such commanders from one hot spot to the other had not been
addressed.”

In June 2007, a coalition of Indonesian and international human rights
organizations wrote to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono urging him to
withdraw Col. Siagian from West Papua, suspend him from active duty,
and extradite to East Timor those indicted by Dili’s Special Panel for
Serious Crimes.

For more information see Siagian’s profile in the Masters of
Terrordatabase
http://www.villagechief.com/mot/cons92z%20-%20Burhannudin%20Siagian.htm
and the ETAN website: http://www.etan.org.

-30-

Radio New Zealand International

The Voice of New Zealand, Broadcasting to the Pacific

Te Reo Irirangi O Aotearoa, O Te Moana-Nui-A-Kiwa

NGO welcomes Indonesian military commander’s removal from Papua

Posted at 08:00 on 21 August, 2008 UTC

The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network, or ETAN, has welcomed the
removal of Colonel Burhanuddin Siagian from his command in Papua.

A leading Indonesian military officer, Siagian faces two indictments in
East Timor for crimes against humanity committed in 1999.

The Colonel has been the target of an international campaign urging his
removal from Papua and calling for his trial.

Last year, as regional military commander in Papua, he issued death
threats against anyone daring to demonstrate their support for Papuan
independence.

It is yet be confirmed whether Siagian will be transferred to another
Indonesian province.

However ETAN’s John Miller says that while his removal from Papua is a
welcome move, Jakarta should take the next steps and suspend him from
any command and then hand him over for trial for the crimes he
committed in East Timor.

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