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MajGen Zacky Anwar Makarim

Security advisor to Indonesian government task force P3TT

MajGen Zacky Anwar Makarim was the most senior military officer in East Timor, yet he had no real job description known to the public in 1999. It is thought he was in charge of a black operation to undermine a free ballot. On 24 February 2003 he was charged in absentia with crimes against humanity before the Dili special panel. Indicted with him were six other senior military officers including Gen Wiranto (where the indictment is summarised), as well as Governor Abilio Soares.

Together with Mahidin Simbolon, Zacky Makarim was mentioned in August 1998 as 'the army’s most experienced officers in covert operations' and 'two of the men most intimately involved in East Timor in recent months’.[1] The Dunn report claims he and MajGen Sjafrie Syamsuddin were in July to September 1998 already planning a militia strategy to counter the post-New Order surge of independence demands in East Timor.[2] Zacky was at the time head of the military intelligence body BIA.

When he was replaced as BIA chief in January 1999 by LtGen Tyasno Sudarto, an officer regarded as close to armed forces chief General Wiranto, some saw it as part of Wiranto's strategy to remove from positions of influence officers still loyal to dismissed former Kopassus commander LtGen Prabowo Subianto. Zacky after that had only a hazy formal job description - he was usually described as a senior officer at Abri headquarters (Pati Mabes Abri).[3] However, it should not be concluded that his activity in East Timor in 1999 was therefore non-institutional or 'rogue'. Zacky Makarim remained part of a military institution that, for all its arcane officer cliques and infighting, was united in its determination to prevent East Timor from breaking free.

One Indonesian magazine disparagingly called his methods 'Malay intelligence' (intel melayu) - low-tech terror and intimidation.[4] Nevertheless, low-tech or not, Abri's model for achieving that aim was Ali Murtopo's successful hijacking of the UN ballot in Irian Jaya in 1969.

In 1999 he shuttled energetically between East Timor and Jakarta, and travelled throughout East Timor as well. Only a few dates are known from this itinerary.

On 23 February 1999 he and two other senior officers (MajGen Adam Damiri and LtGen Tyasno Sudarto) met East Timorese resistance leader Xanana Gusmao in his Jakarta jail cell. It was the first of many such meetings, aimed at persuading Xanana to participate on their terms.[5] After one such meeting in late July, Zacky told Xanana: 'I can't accept losing East Timor'. Xanana in turn said he knew Zacky so well he could 'foresee all his strategies'.[6]

Soon after a cabinet meeting in March agreed the East Timorese would be given a full UN-supervised referendum, Gen Wiranto and LtGen (ret) Feisal Tanjung jointly authorised a covert operation to ensure independence was rejected. At first LtGen Tyasno Sudarto was appointed to head it up, but then the job was given to Zacky, who was now Wiranto's advisor. One senior general said Wiranto said at a meeting: '[T]here was a double mission that Zacky has to accomplish in East Timor' - namely to covertly turn the referendum in Indonesia's favour, while overtly liaising with the UN mission. The main goals, Greenlees and Garran wrote in their book on East Timor, were to use militias as a deniable front for the military, to prevent the pro-independence side from campaigning, to frighten the population over the consequences of rejecting autonomy, and to keep foreign observers bottled up as much as possible.[7] MajGen Kiki Syahnakri at this time confirmed to visiting pro-Indonesian East Timorese leaders (including Tomas Goncalves) that Zacky Makarim was in charge of coordinating pro-Indonesian activities leading up to the ballot.

MajGen Zacky Makarim arrived in Dili on 14 April 1999 to begin the mission assigned to him by Wiranto and Feisal Tanjung.[8] The Dili indictment against him says (clauses 24-25) that his first action was to fire the zeal of pro-autonomy leaders and TNI officers by saying they should work hard for autonomy, because if autonomy lost more blood would flow. He then ordered East Timor commander Col Tono Suratmant to make arrangements to collect automatic firearms and distribute them to the pro-Indonesian leaders. Suratman in turn ordered his subordinate LtCol Yayat Sudrajat to do it.

Three days later he attended the militia show of force in Dili at which Eurico Guterres urged his followers to kill pro-independence supporters. They went out to do precisely that, leaving at least twelve dead. Three days later again he accompanied a delegation of senior officers in Dili - Subagyo, Kiki Syahnakri, Tyasno, police chief Roesmanhadi, and armed forces commander Gen Wiranto. The delegation dined at length with pro-Indonesian militia leaders.[9]

On 11 May 1999 he at last acquired a 'reason' for being in East Timor. Coordinating Minister for Politics and Security Feisal Tanjung established a team known by the abbreviation P4OKT (Satgas Pengamanan Pensuksesan Penentuan Pendapat Otonomi Khusus Timtim, Team to Secure and Make a Success of the East Timor Special Autonomy Ballot). Zacky was a member of it.

On 17 May, with Unamet quickly becoming a reality, another team was established, with a stronger Foreign Affairs Department presence, known by the abbreviation P3TT (Satgas Panitia Penentuan Pendapat Timor Timur, Special Committee for the East Timor Ballot). Zacky was its 'security advisor' - a position formalised for him in a letter of appointment from armed forces chief Gen Wiranto. He arrived in Dili (again!) to take up this post on 4 June. His job was to liaise with Unamet on security matters, but his schedule suggests he did much more.[10]

The Wiranto letter made Zacky responsible directly to the armed forces chief. One commentator concluded that at this point, coinciding with the arrival of Unamet in Dili, control over the militias was no longer solely in the hands of the territorial commander Damiri, but was shared, through Zacky, with the armed forces commander in Jakarta, Gen Wiranto.[11] His deputy in P3TT was BrigGen Glenny Kairupan. Another member of the team was the police officer Col (Pol) Andreas Sugianto. Playing a coordinating role with Jakarta was MajGen Kiki Syahnakri.

By June 1999, the militia strategy had been running for more than six months. It was a mainstream Indonesian government project. It was implemented by means of close coordination between the territorial structure in East Timor and in Jakarta, as well as with the special forces and intelligence structures. Zacky was an important cog in that coordination effort throughout 1999.

Rather than with Wiranto, leaked Australian intelligence intercepts from the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) show that when Zacky contacted Jakarta he most frequently spoke with Feisal Tanjung, his boss in P4OKT. These communications were so dense as to constitute a 'covert chain of command'.[12] 

During a high-powered ministerial visit led by Feisal Tanjung on 12 July, Gen Wiranto reportedly criticised Zacky and his deputy Glenny Kairupan for inadequately controlling the militias, who were embarrassing the Indonesian military abroad. Wiranto was here reflecting President Habibie's concerns.[13]

Unamet chief executive Ian Martin in his book said he regarded Zacky as the key person on P3TT to answer queries about the militias. The answer always legitimated the militias as Wanra, Kamra or Pam Swakarsa - civil defence units attached to the police or civil government. About the international displeasure with Zacky after particularly egregious incidents in Maliana and Suai in the days just before the ballot, Martin wrote:

'The gap between the stated intentions of the government in Jakarta and the reality in East Timor had become more glaring than ever. The US delegation's [a visiting congressional group led by Tom Harkin] angry report to Habibie in Jakarta led him to order the withdrawal of Zacky, and the Bobonaro and Cova Lima district commanders were at last replaced.  However Zacky reappeared in Maliana on 28 August, and the Bobonaro commander was seen again in the post-ballot violence there, casting doubt on whether their roles were effectively ended.'[14]

We have only snippets about what Zacky did during his tours of East Timor. One said that he influenced a newspaper proprietor to drop an objectionable senior editor from the territory's only daily.[15] Another said that he helped governor Abilio Soares set up the pro-Indonesian political party Partai Nasional Timor (PNT) in mid-June.[16] Herminio da Costa, chief of staff of the militia umbrella organisation PPI, said Zacky was a 'very good friend', as was Gen Wiranto. He added that the army and police in East Timor, with Jakarta's approval, had formally guaranteed that the militias would not be prosecuted for assassinating pro-independence figures.[17]

Zacky travelled all over East Timor, holding meetings with pro-independence figures including militia leaders, and encouraging them to engage in both 'political' and 'physical' tactics to ensure success in the ballot. These meeting were held either in the district military command or in the office of the civilian district head (bupati).[18]

A pro-integration leader has told one of us he attended a large meeting led by Zacky and Glenny Kairupan bringing together militia leaders and military officers in Dili in late June or early July. Zacky had planned everything, the source said. Militia leaders were told to win the ballot. It was going to be 'fifty-fifty', Zacky said. Victory would lie with those who struck first. The military believed intimidation would be enough to win, and even a vote of only 45% for autonomy with Indonesia could be turned to a victory by TNI, the source said. But in the event of a loss, the militia leaders had to make a 'clean sweep', including burning all facilities. (The source believed that military district commanders had stocked up on petrol for this purpose by the end of August 1999). In this eventuality, Zacky also told militia leaders to organise an 'exodus' to Indonesia, to give the impression of a popular protest against Unamet cheating. In West Timor, they were to form militias whose objective, as in 1975, was to build the strength in order to retake East Timor in due course. The Dili indictment against Zacky appeared to confirm this meeting, but dates it to May 1999 (clause 30). He told the pro-Indonesian leaders that if independence won the ballot then guerrillas would be used to create disruption in East Timor.[19]

Another such meeting (or were there two on the same day?) was held on 26 July 1999 in the Kopassus 'Red House' in Baucau. One report said the secret meeting brought Zacky and East Timor commander Col Tono Suratman together with several military district commanders as well as commanders of the militias Tim Saka and Sera. On the agenda: distribution of weapons to militias, and a 'civil war' scenario in the event of the autonomy option losing.[20]

Another report described a 'general coordination meeting' led by Zacky on the same day in the same town that brought together civilian government officials from the provincial as well as the district levels. It is not clear if these officials were literally from all over East Timor or perhaps only from its eastern part. Provincial-level pro-integration representatives were also present. From there, the district heads (bupatis) were expected to disseminate the information to lower officials in their own district.[21]

Zacky himself told KPP HAM (not directly in relation to this alleged meeting) that militia weapons were stored in various military barracks, and could be taken back when needed.[22]

The moment when they were needed, according to Eurico Guterres, was after the ballot results were announced. According to testimony, Zacky, who realised on 30 August that the result would go against Indonesia, began to work intensively on a plan for the destruction of East Timor. Human Rights Commissioner Albert Hasibuan said Zacky was present at a meeting in Dili between Indonesian military intelligence and militia leaders, where the order was given to destroy all buildings and kill all the pro-independence leaders if the result favoured independence.[23]

Hasibuan did not reveal the date of this meeting. But another report issued on 1 September 1999 said that Zacky and his colleague MajGen Sjafrie Syamsuddin (newly arrived from operations in Aceh) were at that moment leading a 'marathon' session to make a 'scorched earth' plan for East Timor in the likely event of a vote favouring independence. At that moment the results were expected to be announced on 7 September. Besides these two major-generals, the meeting involved 'a number' of officers with brigadier-general and colonel rank.[24]

An investigative report in The Observer, a British newspaper, claimed that Zacky had initiated planning for the destruction of East Timor on 31 August, the day after the ballot. The plan Zacky outlined that day to military officers of East Timor, and to the leaders of three of its biggest militias, corresponded in detail with what actually happened. The militias were to put Dili under siege, seek out pro-independence people, women and children were to be trucked out, and journalists and the UN were to be forced out.[25]

These reports, incidentally, make it clear that the high level international protests against Zacky had not resulted in his replacement at P3TT by Gen Tyasno Sudarto, as one newspaper claimed. Tyasno never arrived. Zacky did briefly return to Jakarta, but he was soon back in East Timor again. Indeed, he was joined by another intelligence officer as senior as he, MajGen Sjafrie Syamsuddin.[26]

On 4 September, when Zacky learned (by phoning a policeman with access to the counting room) that the pro-independence vote was leading by 8 to 2, Zacky was incredulous: 'Are you sure? How can it be?'. He pointed out that all across East Timor, households had been displaying the red and white Indonesian flag. He then swung into action. Australian DSD intercepts contain numerous scrambled communications between Zacky and Feisal Tanjung over the next two weeks. Zacky also spoke with cabinet ministers Hendropriyono and Yunus Yosfiah about the population transfers. Nor did he forget the danger of defectors. Through a pro-Indonesian East Timorese named Basilio Araujo, he warned that if militia leader Eurico Guterres should change sides, 'I'll take care of him'.[27]

The next day he attended a meeting with Gen Wiranto and many other top military officers held in the official residence of Col Nur Muis in Dili.

After the destruction of East Timor, Zacky has remained immune in Jakarta. He gave what one human rights lawyer called 'mystical' answers to KPP HAM questions about his conduct in East Timor. He did not know, for example, to whom he was reporting.[28]

He moreover took the offensive after being appointed head of a TNI headquarters team to arrange legal defence against charges that he was most to be blamed for the mayhem in East Timor.[29] He hired the most expensive and highest profile lawyers in the country (former cabinet minister Muladi, former human rights lawyer Adnan Buyung Nasution, and corporate lawyers Ruhut Sitompoel and Hotma Sitompoel). Their efforts were crowned with success. Zacky's name did not appear on the attorney general's list of suspects for the East Timor mayhem.

He told investigators P3TT had done a good job at securing the ballot, but that people were simply violent. Unamet had supplied weapons to Falintil, he said, and Unamet's cheating had occasioned the violent reaction.[30]

As at October 2000, he remained at headquarters, still without a job definition.[31]


Zacky Makarim was born on    14 April 1948 in Jakarta. He graduated in 1971 from the military academy. He has spent most of his career in Kopassus, including tours of combat duty in East Timor and Irian Jaya, increasingly in an intelligence role. By 1997 he had risen to head of BIA, the armed forces intelligence agency. He held this post until January 1999.

After Suharto's resignation in May 1998 he was questioned over his role in several cases of military human rights abuse. A joint government-civil society commission (TPGF) interrogated him over his role in the kidnapping of activists, the murder of students, and the instigation of the riots in Jakarta the previous May. In November 1999 he was questioned by a special parliamentary committee (Pansus) about abuses committed when he was in Aceh in 1991-92. And in October 2000 he was named a suspect for his role in the attack on the headquarters of the political party PDI in July 1996.

Extra Information

Implicated in Events:
Battalion 745 withdrawal - 21/09/1999 - Battalion 745 withdrawal

Cailaco - 13/04/1999 - Public execution of 5 (6?) suspected pro-independence supporters, Cailaco, Bobonaro

Carrascalao - 17/04/1999 - Murder of 12 at home of Manuel Carrascalao, Dili

Diocese - 5/09/1999 - Attack on Dili diocesan office

Lautem Junction - 25/09/1999 - Murder of a church delegation of nine in Lautem district

Liquica - 6/04/1999 - Liquica church massacre

Maliana - 8/09/1999 - Maliana police station massacre

Passabe - 10/09/1999 - Massacre at Passabe, Ambeno (Oecusse enclave)

Suai - 6/09/1999 - Suai church massacre

Current Status:
T - Committed for trial in East Timor, some already sentenced.

K - KPP HAM. Listed in the 31/01/2000 report of the Indonesian commission of inquiry into atrocities committed in East Timor in 1999. More junior figures in Appendix 5 of the final report are added here under their superiors.

D - Dunn. The report of James Dunn, consultant to the Untaet Prosecutor General Mr Mohamed Othman, April 2001.

See map of location

This individual is also mentioned in these profiles:
Herminio da Costa
MajGen Adam Damiri
MajGen (ret) H R Garnadi
Eurico Guterres
LtGen (ret) A.M. Hendropriyono
MajGen Amirul Isnaeni
BrigGen Glenny Kairupan
Sera Malik
MajGen Mochtar Ma'ruf
LtCol Ahmad Masagus
Rear Adm Yoost F Mengko
Col Nur Muis
MajGen (ret) Sintong Panjaitan
MajGen Muchdi Purwopranjono (PR)
Lafaek Saburai
LtCol Burhanuddin Siagian
BrigGen Mahidin Simbolon
LtGen (ret) Prabowo Subianto Djojohadikusumo
LtGen Tyasno Sudarto
LtCol Yayat Sudrajat
Col (Pol) Andreas Sugianto
Col Tono Suratman
MajGen Kiki Syahnakri
MajGen Syahrir MS
MajGen Sjafrie Syamsuddin
LtGen (ret) Feisal Tanjung
Gen Wiranto

[1] John McBeth, 'East Timor is about to vote; So is Indonesia's military letting go?', Far Eastern Economic Review, 2 September 1999.

[2] James Dunn, 'Crimes against humanity in East Timor, January to October 1999: Their nature and causes', Sydney Morning Herald, 28 April 2001.

[3] 'Wiranto gagal temui kubu prokem', Jawa Pos, 21 April 1999.  He is here described as Assistant for Security to the Army Chief of Staff (Aspam KSAD), Gen Subagyo, but David Bourchier (pers comm to G van Klinken) says this is 'is almost certainly given wrongly. This was his position before he became the head of BIA in August 1997'.

[4] 'East Timor is enough', Tajuk, 31 December 1999.

[5] 'East Timor: Gusmao meets key Indonesian military officials', Lusa, 23 February 1999. The generals spoke about 'reconciliation' among East Timorese, but Xanana said afterwards he was disappointed with their lack of interest in his proposals.

[6] John McBeth,'Indonesia - military challenge: East Timor is about to vote; So is Indonesia's military letting go?', Far Eastern Economic Review, 2 September 1999.

[7] Don Greenlees and Robert Garran, Deliverance: The inside story of East Timor's fight for freedom, Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 2002, pp.137-8, quoting two anonymous Indonesian generals in separate interviews.

[8] '"Operasi  Sapu Jagad" –  Indonesian military’s  plan to disrupt independence', East Timor Observatory (FA10-1999/10/21eng), 28 October 1999.

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

[10] 'Daftar nama perwira tinggi yang akan dibela Muladi', TNI Watch!, 12 December 1999. Other 1999 'arrivals' in Dili noted by observers are 26 June - to stay for a month - and 1 August ('Pratiwi: Catatan perjalanan di Bumi Loro Sa'e (9)', MateBEAN, 5 October 1999).

[11] 'Blood on their hands', Sydney Morning Herald, 2 October 1999.

[12] Hamish McDonald, 'Australia's bloody East Timor secret', 'Silence over a crime against humanity', Sydney Morning Herald, 14 March 2002.

[13] 'Xpos: Rahasia kunjungan 14 menteri', SiaR, 18 July 1999.

[14] Ian Martin, Self-determination in East Timor: The United Nations, the ballot, and international intervention, Boulder (Col): Lynne Riener, 2001, p77.

[15] 'Konflik intern redaksi STT kian memuncak', MateBEAN, 16 July 1999.

[16] Hamish McDonald, 'Magic man ruffles Gusmao's vision', Sydney Morning Herald, 20 January 2001 (quoting Xanana Gusmao).

[17] Allan Nairn, 'License to Kill in Timor', The Nation [NY], 31 May 1999.

[18] 'Pemantau jajak pendapat: Pemerintah Indonesia memihak pro otonomi', Radio 68 H, 22 August 1999; 'Dua jenderal satu misteri', Panji Masyarakat, 25 August 1999.

[19] C, interviewed by Gerry van Klinken, 2 January 2001.

[20] 'Skenario bumi hangus di Loro Sa'e', Tempo, 19 September 1999, pp28-29.

[21] 'Dua jenderal satu misteri', Panji Masyarakat, 25 August 1999.

[22] 'Laying the blame: East Timor January-September 1999', Sydney Morning Herald, 28 April 2001.

[23] 'Inquiry unravels Indonesian plot to destroy East Timor, seeks Wiranto', AFP, 20 November 1999.

[24] 'Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin siapkan rencana darurat', MateBEAN, 1 September 1999.

[25] 'Revealed: Army's plot to destroy a nation', The Observer [UK], 12 September 1999; Rui Lopes, a pro-Indonesian militia leader in Suai who changed sides after the post-ballot violence and fled overseas, also implicated Zacky Makarim (and Kiki Syahnakri) in planning the post-ballot violence ('Para jendral Indonesia perintahkan pembantaian', MateBEAN, 14 September 1999).

[26] Mark Dodd, 'World pressure brought military shake-up', Sydney Morning Herald, 30 August 1999.

[27] Hamish McDonald, 'Australia's bloody East Timor secret', 'Silence over a crime against humanity', Sydney Morning Herald, 14 March 2002.

[28] 'Zacky's testimony deemed "mystical"', Indonesian Observer, 5 January 2000.

[29] 'Xpos: Wiranto segera mundur?', SiaR, 13 December 1999. He was chief of the the law enforcement and security coordination centre at TNI headquarters (Kepala Pusat Koordinasi Penegakan Hukum dan Sistem Keamanan Markas Besar (Mabes) TNI).

[30] 'Persiapan pemanggilan KPP HAM Timtim: Mayjen Zacky Anwar Makarim ungkapkan cerita lengkap kepada Muladi', Kompas, 9 December 1999.

[31] 'Experts warn of low morale in TNI', The Jakarta Post, 14 October 2000.


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