First Lt (Inf) Sugito
Sub-district military commander (Komandan Koramil) in Suai, Covalima
Suai is the main town in southwestern East Timor. Eyewitnesses testified to the Indonesian investigation KPP HAM that Lt Sugito and Covalima district head Col Herman Sediono stood by in military fatigues and carrying rifles while they ordered police, soldiers and militias to kill refugees who had been sheltering at the Ave Maria Catholic church for months. The attack occurred on 6 September 1999, two days after the results of the independence ballot were announced. Following this attack several women survivors were reportedly taken to Covalima Kodim Headquarters and sexually assaulted.
Indeed the Dili indictment that includes Sugito said that all top civil, military and police district officials were present at the massacre – district head Col Herman Sediono, temporary military district chief LtCol Lilik Kushadiyanto (while his predecessor LtCol Ahmad Masagus collected bodies the next day), and police district chief LtCol (Pol) Gatot Subiaktoro.
Lieutenant Sugito and LtCol Ahmad Masagus (Covalima district commander for most of 1999) the next day came to the massacre site to dispose of the bodies. Some were burned on the spot. Sugito then 31 soldiers and a group of Laksaur militiamen, including Motornus, who trucked twenty seven bodies to the village of Alas in Belu district, West Timor, where they buried them. The bodies, including those of three priests, were exhumed and identified by a KPP HAM delegation more than two months later.
The attack on the church was preceded by random attacks on villagers and townsfolk that began within four hours of the ballot announcement. Sugito took part in at least some of these attacks, alongside other soldiers and Laksaur militiamen.
When called to testify in Jakarta by KPP HAM early in 2000, Sugito refused to attend, saying he was 'traumatised' by his family's suffering in the Ambon riots. Sugito (sometimes listed as Sugito Karman) denied responsibility for the attack, saying the chaos was caused by factional fighting among Timorese.
Sugito was born in Banyuwangi, East Java, on 14 June 1952. He became sub-district military commander in Suai in 1992, with a break in 1997 when he was intelligence officer at the Covalima military district headquarters (Kasi Intel). Together with four other defendants (Lilik Kushadiyanto - further details are available there, Herman Sediono, Gatot Subiaktoro, and Ahmad Syamsuddin) Sugito was indicted for crimes against humanity before the Ad Hoc Human Rights Court in Indonesia on 20 February 2002. All were indicted for failing to prevent their subordinates from carrying out the Suai church massacre on 6 September 1999. However, after a trial criticised outside Indonesia for failing to address the evidence (including that of Sugito's own direct participation in the massacre), all were acquitted on 15 August 2002.
On 8 April 2003 Lt Sugito was one of 16 Abri members indicted in absentia with crimes against humanity before the special panel in Dili over the Suai massacre. For details see Lilik Kushadiyanto.