LtCol (Inf) Sujarwo [Soedjarwo]
District military commander of Dili (Dandim 1627)
Sujarwo took over from LtCol Endar Priyanto as commander of the Dili military district close to the 30 August ballot date. He was thus responsible, under the terms of the UN agreement, for security there at the time of the ballot and also, under the Indonesian declaration of martial law on 7 September 1999, during the subsequent militia rampage that destroyed much of Dili.
In July 1999, when still an officer in the East Timor command (Korem 164/ Wiradharma), he wrote a 13-page 'Operational Plan Wira Dharma '99'. Under the heading 'Enemy Forces' it described not only the guerrillas of the resistance movement, Falintil, but also civilians, including unarmed student groups and political organisations.
Sujarwo was indicted for crimes against humanity before the Ad Hoc Human Rights Court in Indonesia on 31 May 2002. He was accused of failing to prevent, and failing to control his troops who took part in, attacks on the Diocesan Chambers on 5 September 1999 and on the residence of Bishop Belo on 6 September 1999. A military officer directly involved in the 5 September attack was Capt Agus Suwarno.
The Dili special panel indictment concerning the attack on Bishop Belo’s house mentions a ‘TNI Lieutenant Colonel’ who visited Bishop Belo during the morning of 6 September 1999. He said TNI were available to protect the Bishop and the residence. The rank and duties of this officer fit the description of LtCol Sujarwo. This visit followed an earlier refusal from Sujarwo’s superior Col Nur Muis to provide protection, citing a shortage of trucks. The LtCol stayed fifteen minutes, then left. Immediately after he left, an unidentified TNI officer ordered the militias to invade the compound. One eyewitness, known from other reports, has suggested this officer may have been MajGen Sjafrie Syamsuddin.
LtCol Sujarwo told the Ad Hoc tribunal in Jakarta that he ordered the withdrawal of military units guarding the Bishop’s residence at the request of the bishop himself, who said he wanted to hold a mass. He said he was told of Belo’s request by his operations officer (Pasi Ops), Capt (Inf) Hartono, who was in charge of a military detachment providing security to Bishop Belo’s house at the time of the attack. However, Bishop Belo denied ever requesting a withdrawal, and the judge in Jakarta also rejected it as unlikely. Indeed, no withdrawal took place. TNI soldiers and Brimob police worked closely with Aitarak militias to conduct a coordinated attack on the compound. It resulted in at least one dead and 15 seriously injured. The refugees were then forced to board ships for West Timor. More refugees sheltering in two neighbouring compounds were also violently evacuated by the same personnel that morning – over 100 from the Cannossian Convent, and over 2000 from the Red Cross compound.
- Capt Hartono (serial no. 1910024681267) should be investigated for his role in the attack.
On 27 December 2002 LtCol Sujarwo was sentenced to five years jail – the first military officer to be found guilty in Jakarta. However, he was left free while awaiting appeal.
Sujarwo (serial no. 29303) was born on 25 December 1958. He probably belongs to the graduating class of 1981 at the military academy (Akabri). Before moving to the Dili command he commanded Battalion 303 (part of the 13th Infantry Brigade within Kostrad), based in Garut, West Java. This non-organic battalion's combat experience in East Timor includes being involved in the Santa Cruz massacre of November 1991.
After the Indonesian pull-out from East Timor he was transferred first to East Flores, where he again became district military commander (Dandim 1624, 11 April 2000), then to Irian Jaya.