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General chief of staff

Lt-Gen Sugiono

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.[1] 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.[2]

In July 1999 he attended a 'reconciliation' meeting in Jakarta between pro- and anti-independence East Timorese (Dare II).[3]

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'.[4]

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.[5]

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.[6]

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:
Cancio Lopes de Carvalho
Rear Adm Yoost F Mengko
Abilio Soares
Armindo Soares Mariano
MajGen Endriartono Sutarto
MajGen Sjafrie Syamsuddin
LtGen Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

[1] 'Delegasi prointegrasi Timtim minta senjata pada Pangab', Republika, 20 February 1999. Besides General Wiranto, the military side consisted of LtGen Sugiono, Defence Department Secretary LtGen Fachrul Razi, chairperson of the Council for the Enforcement of Security and Law (DPKSH) LtGen Arie J Kumaat, military intelligence chief (Ka BIA) MajGen Tyasno Sudarto, Social and Political Assistant to the Head of Territorial Staff (Assospol Kaster) MajGen Sudi Silalahi, Territorial Assistant to the Head of Territorial Staff (Aster Kaster) MajGen Joko Mulono, and Abri/ Defence spokesperson (Kapuspen Hankam/ Abri) MajGen Syamsul Ma'arif. The East Timorese side was not listed in full but included district heads (bupati) from four districts, all of them later implicated in militia violence. They were those from Dili (Domingos Soares), Lospalos (Edmundo Conceicao), Manatuto (Vidal Doutel Sarmento), and Liquica (Leonito Martins). Resistance leader Xanana Gusmao said FPDK leader Domingos Policarpo was there too, while militia leader Cancio de Carvalho himself also claimed to have been there.

[2] '15 ribu senjata disiapkan Abri untuk pertahankan integrasi', MateBEAN, 1 April 1999. 'Integrasi atau mati?' (Xpos, No. 13/II, 11-17 April 1999) lists the number of firearms somewhat differently - here Sugiono promises to supply 6,000 and says 15,000 had already been sent to East Timor. Sugiono's name appears on a list of officers who should be investigated over atrocities committed in East Timor ('Komisi Ham PBB daftar nama jenderal Indonesia', TNI Watch! posted to SiaR News Service, 29 September 1999).

[3] 'Jajak pendapat di Timtim, keamanan dijamin', Tajuk, ed2_th2, mid-July 1999.

[4] 'Daftar nama perwira tinggi yang akan dibela Muladi', TNI Watch! 12 December 1999; 'Dua lagi perwira TNI diperiksa', Suara Pembaruan, 30 December 1999. The letter reference (Surat Perintah Kasum TNI No. Sprin/141/VII/1999/Sin) indicates Rusmono was Sugiono's personal assistant (Spri). The dates of these visits were 24-29 June, 3-8 August, and 27-28 August.

[5] Paul Daley, 'Howard's defence plan riles Indonesia', The Age [Melbourne], 7 July 2000.

[6] 'Lumintang appointed Defense Ministry's Secretary General', The Jakarta Post, 14 February 2001


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