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Army chief of staff

Gen Subagyo Hadi Siswojo

Army chief of staff (KSAD)

The evidence for Gen Subagyo's personal involvement in orchestrating the violence in East Timor in 1999 is circumstantial, in that his deputy (LtGen Johny Lumintang) and two of his assistants (MajGen Kiki Syahnakri and BrigGen Amirul Isnaeni) appeared to play an active part in it. Subagyo was the highest ranked officer in the Indonesian armed forces, after armed forces commander Gen Wiranto.[1]

In February 1999 he acknowledged the army was arming East Timor civilian militias, 'selectively', as part of regular 'Wanra' (civil defence) to help Abri secure East Timor.[2] He promised in Dili in the same month that Abri would not 'engineer civil war' in East Timor.[3]

In March 1999, thousands of Indonesian teachers were demanding transfers (and soon got them) because they felt threatened by the pro-independence movement. Subagyo promised to put soldiers into East Timorese classrooms if teachers were to leave.

Subagyo visited Dili on 20 April 1999 as the central figure in a high level military delegation, involving most of those later accused of responsibility for human rights abuse there. Besides Subagyo, the delegation included armed forces chief Gen Wiranto, Kapolri (police chief) Roesmanhadi, Subagyo's operations assistant (Asops KSAD) Kiki Syahnakri, Subagyo's security assistant (Aspam KSAD - but that may be an incorrect designation) Maj-Gen Zacky Anwar Makarim, and military intelligence (BIA) chief Maj-Gen Tyasno Sudarno (who replaced Subagyo in December 1999).[4] Another report says Subagyo's security assistant Brig-Gen Amirul Isnaeni also attended this meeting.[5]

The 5 May 1999 telegram signed by Subagyo's deputy Johny Lumintang on Subagyo's behalf, concerning evacuation plans in the event of a pro-independence vote, was actually drafted by Kiki Syahnakri as Subagyo's Assistant for Operations.

Just after the ballot, Subagyo said he could accept Australia in charge of a UN force, and offered Indonesian participation as well (the latter offer was rejected). On 30 November 1999 he met Xanana and Ramos Horta, who had come to Jakarta to see President Abdurrahman Wahid. Subagyo handed over as Army Chief of Staff to MajGen Tyasno on 2 December 1999, and went on to chair the supreme advisory council DPA (a sinecure).

Another of Subagyo's staff to come to the notice of the courts over East Timor in 1999 was Brig-Gen Soemaryono, a planning officer under Subagyo as army chief of staff in 1999. Soemaryono had organised a counterfeit money operation, apparently to 'pay for' militia operations in East Timor. Some details of the operation were revealed when Soemaryono was arrested and charged in May 2000. The case came to court in November 2000.[6]


Subagyo was born on 12 June 1946 in Yogyakarta, Java. He graduated from the military academy in 1970. His entire career has been in the special forces Kopassus. Between 1972-75 he was a platoon commander, then a company commander for two years. He took part in the invasion of East Timor at this time (Seroja). He was seconded to the Presidential Security Squad (Paswalpres) between 1976-78, where he became President Suharto's personal escort (Walpri). He returned to a Kopassus (then still called Kopassandha) company command 1977-81 (Group 4), taking part in the raid on the hijacked Garuda DC-9 in Bangkok in 1981. Between 1986-93 he was once more at the presidential palace, in charge of the security unit Paspampres.[7] After a short stint at a military counter-intelligence unit (D-2 Dit-D Bais Abri), and an army coding office (Kadispamsanad), he was appointed commander of Kopassus 1994-95. He then went on to command the Central Java military command (IV/ Diponegoro, 1995-97), before rising to Deputy Army Chief of Staff (1997-98). He held the Army Chief of Staff position 16 February 1998 - 20 November 1999.

The son of a market trader and her low ranking civil servant husband, he was the first graduate of the 1970 generation of military academy graduates to reach the rank of Brig-Gen, the first to be appointed a Kodam commander and then the first to reach the rank of Maj-Gen.

As Kopassus commander he had to deal with the powerful Prabowo as his deputy.[8] He received training by Special Forces in the US and in Gultor, Germany,[9] and has made overseas visits to Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Belgium, Russia and China, most likely as part of his escort duties with President Suharto.[10] He chaired the military honour council (Dewan Kehormatan Militer) set up in August 1998 to investigate Prabowo, Muchdie and Chairawan. Regarded as a strange choice because he was widely regarded as close to Prabowo and the rest of the council were not.

His son, Second Lieutenant (Inf) Agus Isrok, also a Kopassus soldier, was arrested in a hotel room in Jakarta in August 1999 for drug dealing.[11]

In mid-May 1999, Subagyo revealed plans to intensify (rather than reduce) military involvement in internal policing throughout Indonesia by adding seven new military areas (Kodam) to the existing ten, among other reasons, he said, because of unrest in East Timor (as well as Aceh, Maluku, etc).

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:
MajGen Amirul Isnaeni
LtGen Johny Lumintang
LtGen (ret) Prabowo Subianto Djojohadikusumo
LtGen Tyasno Sudarto
MajGen Kiki Syahnakri

[1] His name appears on a list of officers who should be investigated for his role in atrocities committed in East Timor ('Komisi Ham PBB daftar nama jenderal Indonesia', TNI Watch! posted to SiaR News Service, 29 September 1999.

[2] 'KSAD jelaskan soal sipil dipersenjatai. Demonstrasi melanda kota Dili', Media Indonesia,  2 February 1999.

[3] 'ABRI takkan rekayasa perang saudara di Timtim', Kompas, 9 February 1999.

[4] 'Wiranto gagal temui kubu prokem', Jawa Pos, 21 April 1999.

[5] 'NN: Yet another report from bloody East Timor',  MateBEAN, 29 April 1999 (where he is identified as Brig-Gen 'Amirullah').

[6] 'Membongkar mafia uang palsu', Xpos, No. 18/III, 29 May-4 June 2000; 'Retired general faces 4-year term', Indonesian Observer, 28 November 2000; 'Two ex-Army colonels nabbed over fake money', Jakarta Post, 3 July 2000.

[7] Also mentioned as Dan Satpam Paswalpres (Media Indonesia Online, 6 August 1996)

[8] Forum Keadilan, 15 Sept 1994; Forum Keadilan, 13 Oktober 1994.

[9] Republika Online, 25 November 1995.

[10] Information from biodata on Abri home page at

[11] 'Setelah Agus Isrok digaruk operasi narkotik', Tempo, 16 August  1999.


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