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Assistant for operations to Chief of general staff

MajGen Endriartono Sutarto [Endiarto, Endrihartono Soetarto]

Assistant for Operations to the Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces (Asops Kasum Abri)

Endriartono Sutarto assisted the Armed Forces Chief of General Staff, LtGen Sugiono between September 1998 and November 1999. This was the crucial period in East Timor. Operations Assistant (Asops) is a high status job - the most senior of the Kasum assistants - with extensive responsibilities. Technically he occupied a key place in the chain of operational command

In August 1999 Gen Wiranto ordered him to prepare a contingency plan in the event of East Timor voting for independence. Greenlees and Garran wrote that the resultant 13-page 'secret' plan 'foresaw with considerable accuracy the level of destruction and chaos unleashed after the announcement of the result'. It warned dissatisfaction over the results could trigger 'sabotage and destruction of general facilities, electrical installations, water, communications and transport'. It predicted the possibility of independence supporters being 'terrorised and murdered'. It provided a detailed outline of an evacuation operation and the logistics required. The codeword 'rise' (terbit) was to signal the start of the operation, and 'sink' (tenggelam) its end.[1]

At the height of the militia rampage in East Timor, Endriartono Sutarto did not deny that pro-integration militia were engaging in some killings, but added:. '[T]hat is quite normal in the kind of situation now prevailing in East Timor'. He denied the military were backing the militias.[2]

In a rare television interview in October 2000 Sutarto said about the military-militia relations: 'It is in the psychology of our soldiers, because, for so long, they've had links, to work together (with the militias) to secure East Timor as part of  Indonesia.' He said that, after the ballot, the government had told the militias no longer to use weapons but only political means in their struggle to return East Timor to Indonesia. However, the message was not getting through yet: '[B]ecause they have such a fighting spirit, such strong will, they haven't quite understood Indonesia's interest nor their own so as not to (make trouble).'[3]

After the Indonesian withdrawal to East Timor, he supported the 'right' of East Timorese soldiers, after shedding their army uniform, to join the militias, who had in mind a rear-guard action to recover East Timor. He denied they retained their weapons.[4]

He later told the Acehnese: ‘The referendum in the country's former East Timor province in 1999 was a big mistake because we only let the East Timorese vote…. We should not repeat the same mistake in other provinces.’[5]


Endriartono Sutarto was born on 29 April 1947 in Central Java, and graduated from the military academy in 1971. His combat career has been in Kostrad, including participating in Operation Seroja, the invasion of East Timor. He has had some training in the US and Britain, and led UN peacekeeping troops in the Middle East  in 1988. In the early 1990s he was on the staff of territorial commands in Jakarta and in Irian Jaya. He moved to TNI Headquarters duties in 1995, first at Kostrad, then assisting the Armed Forces Commander, followed by head of the Presidential Guard, and (in 1998-99) assistant to the Armed Forces Chief of General Staff.

Human rights groups have alleged that troops under his command were responsible for the murder of labour activist Marsinah in Surabaya in 1993,[6] and also that as the head of Suharto's personal guard he is likely at least to have known about the abduction, torture and murder of Indonesian activists by the Kopassus Tim Mawar, which reportedly took its orders from Suharto.[7] Sutarto is a hardliner on Aceh, pushing for the establishment of a new Kodam for Aceh against the objections of the Acehnese community,[8] and also on Maluku, arguing that the solution lay in declaring martial law.[9] He has never served as a territorial (Kodam) commander, does not speak a lot and therefore has received little press coverage in the past.[10]

In November 1999 Sutarto was appointed commander of the Staff Command College (Dansesko TNI). Adam Damiri moved in to replace him. Sutarto became Army Chief of Staff in March 2000, where he was assisted by Kiki Syahnakri. Together they would help 'rebuild TNI's image', said Kiki Syahnakri's colleague Glenny Kairupan.[11] After Kiki's installation, Sutarto said that 'the entire rank-and-file of the army is ready for combat to carry out the state's mission to crush separatists.'[12]

He was appointed Armed Forces Commander on 18 June 2002.

Extra Information

Current Status:
1 - Priority 1 for further investigation. Not included in any other formal list, but mentioned in other independent reports, and supported by considerable data.

See map of location

This individual is also mentioned in these profiles:
LtGen Sugiono

[1] Don Greenlees and Robert Garran, Deliverance: The inside story of East Timor's fight for freedom, Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 2002, p.209.

[2] 'Laporan Maggie dari Dili', Gamma, 10 October 1999.

[3] Channel NewsAsia (Singapore), 12 October 2000

[4] 'Anak muda yang bangkit dari wacana berbahaya', Gamma, 17 October 2000.

[5] Tiarma Siboro, ‘Govt also to blame for Aceh strife, Syafii says’, The Jakarta Post, 31 August 2002.

[6] 'Mantan Kepala Bia diduga terlibat pembunuhan', TNI Watch! 31 January 2000.

[7] 'Penunjukkan Kasad: Ancaman terhadap reformasi di TNI-AD dan dampaknya terhadap HAM di Indonesia', Indonesia's Forum for Human Dignity (posting to [email protected]), 9 October 2000.

[8] Suara Pembaruan, 18 September 1999.

[9] Gamma, no.3/1, 14 March 1999.

[10] Julius Pour, 'Endriartono Sutarto, "Soldiers' soldier"', Kompas, 11 October 2000.

[11] 'TNI, analysts defend Syahnakri's promotion', Indonesian Observer, 8 November 2000.

[12] 'House questions state of emergency plan', Indonesian Observer, 25 November 2000; see also 'Profil Endriartono Sutarto', Forum Keadilan, 19 October 2000.


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