Indonesia: Accountability For Human Rights Violations In Aceh
|Publisher||Human Rights Watch|
|Publication Date||15 March 2002|
|Cite as||Human Rights Watch, Indonesia: Accountability For Human Rights Violations In Aceh, 15 March 2002, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3c95e69c1.html [accessed 10 October 2015]|
|Comments||This report examines the response of Indonesia's National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) to a massacre in Aceh that occurred in August 2001. Thirty men and a two-year-old child, all ethnic Acehnese, were shot and killed by a group of armed men who suddenly appeared on the grounds of the Bumi Flora rubber and palm oil plantation in Julok, East Aceh. After the killings, the men disappeared just as suddenly. The Indonesian army and police accused the rebel Free Aceh Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka or GAM) of responsibility; GAM insisted that the killers were members of the Indonesian security forces. To date, no serious investigation has taken place. On January 8, 2002, Komnas HAM agreed to establish a formal Commission of Inquiry into the killings, suggesting that some movement in the case might be possible. But as this report illustrates, that hope may be illusory.|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
I. SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This report examines the response of Indonesia's National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) to a massacre in Aceh that occurred in August 2001. Thirty men and a two-year-old child, all ethnic Acehnese, were shot and killed by a group of armed men who suddenly appeared on the grounds of the Bumi Flora rubber and palm oil plantation in Julok, East Aceh. After the killings, the men disappeared just as suddenly. The Indonesian army and police accused the rebel Free Aceh Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka or GAM) of responsibility; GAM insisted that the killers were members of the Indonesian security forces.
To date, no serious investigation has taken place. On January 8, 2002, Komnas HAM agreed to establish a formal Commission of Inquiry into the killings, suggesting that some movement in the case might be possible. But as this report illustrates, that hope may be illusory. Nothing Komnas HAM has done over the last two years in Aceh – or in the rest of Indonesia, for that matter – has produced satisfactory results in terms of holding perpetrators of human rights violations responsible for their crimes. (Since 2000, Komnas-HAM has had a mandate in law to conduct preliminary investigations into serious human rights violations; those investigations then become the basis for the Attorney General's office deciding whether to proceed with prosecutions.)
There are many reasons for the failure of human rights accountability in Indonesia, but the overall ineffectiveness of Komnas HAM since late 1999 has not helped. An organization that was once considered the most credible institution in the country has turned into a barrier to human rights progress.
The actions – and lack of action – by Komnas HAM with respect to the Bumi Flora massacre are indicative. Human Rights Watch has obtained an internal report of a Komnas HAM "observation" visit to East Aceh to decide whether further action was warranted. The report includes transcripts of taped interviews with witnesses, which Human Rights Watch has translated in full. Human Rights Watch also interviewed individuals who were present at those interviews. The findings are disturbing.
The Komnas HAM team obtained valuable information from eyewitnesses pointing to Indonesian army soldiers and operatives as the perpetrators of the massacre, but it failed to follow up important leads. The two senior Komnas HAM representatives on the team allowed military officers to accompany them on some interviews, a clear inhibition to free discussion. After their return to Jakarta, the commissioners sat on their findings for five months. Indications were that even if a formal Commission of Inquiry goes forward, as agreed at the January 8, 2002 meeting of Komnas HAM, it will be headed by one of the two members who performed so poorly in the initial observation visit.
Human Rights Watch believes that establishing accountability for human rights abuses in Aceh, and ensuring that the perpetrators are brought to justice, are essential if the conflict there is to be resolved. When not just the security forces and the executive branch of government, but even the national human rights commission fails to give sufficient priority to ensuring justice is done for so grave a crime, the prospects for ending the violence seem dim indeed.
1. The government of Indonesia should give full support to the immediate appointment of a credible commission of inquiry to investigate the Bumi Flora massacre. The commission should be composed of qualified individuals whose integrity, independence, and impartiality is widely acknowledged.
2. The government should give the highest priority to ensuring that the perpetrators of the Bumi Flora massacre are identified and brought to justice.
3. The Indonesian parliament should hold hearings into why so many serious human rights violations in Aceh remain unsolved, the perpetrators not only unpunished but unidentified. Committees I (Defense and Security) and II (Law and Home Affairs) are probably best placed to undertake such hearings. They should examine the role of the police and security forces, the justice system, and Komnas HAM. They should also make recommendations for strengthening mechanisms for investigating allegations of human rights violations to ensure that those whose rights are violated have prompt and effective access to judicial or other remedies.
4. Donors, both private and governmental, who have funded Komnas HAM in the past should jointly fund a thorough and impartial external evaluation of Komnas HAM's work and approach to human rights over the last two years, and ensure that the findings of the evaluation are made public, in English and bahasa Indonesia.
The government of President Megawati Sukarnoputri has failed dismally to make progress on prosecuting grave human rights violations in Aceh for which government security forces are believed responsible. That failure stands in sharp contrast to the zeal with which Indonesian military forces and police take punitive action against suspected rebels of the rebel Free Aceh Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka or GAM) and people suspected of supporting or sympathizing with them. While the government is fully within its rights in taking measures to quell armed rebellion, the methods used by its forces have all too often violated international humanitarian law.1 Local and international nongovernmental organizations working in Banda Aceh told Human Rights Watch in January 2002 that suspected rebels were routinely found shot after having been taken into custody, in violation of international prohibitions against extrajudicial executions.2 Only in rare cases are suspected rebels prosecuted through the courts.3
The utter indifference to establishing accountability on the government side is evident in the top ranks of the Megawati government; among senior officials of the Aceh provincial government; and most distressingly, in the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights, better known by its Indonesian acronym of Komnas HAM. There appears to be no recognition that without a serious effort to punish members of the police and military responsible for human rights violations, local resentment against Jakarta may well increase, and that failure to provide justice to victims of rights abuses can undermine whatever other steps – political, economic, or military – are taken to resolve the decades-long conflict.
As of late January 2002, two cases in particular stood out as evidence of the lack of political will to address human rights violations in Aceh. The so-called Bumi Flora massacre of August 9, 2001, in which thirty-one people were killed, was not only not prosecuted – it has remained largely uninvestigated. In the December 2000 killing of three humanitarian workers for RATA, a nongovernmental organization working with torture victims, all suspects had either escaped or been released by the end of 2001. One of the escapees, Ampon Thaib, was again actively participating in joint operations with the district military command in North Aceh in January 2002.
Several factors contributed to government inertia on accountability for abuses in Aceh. First, the Megawati government appeared to believe that the combination of a new autonomy law for Aceh that took effect in December 2001 and a strongly increased military presence would together resolve the Aceh conflict. Officials in Jakarta seemed oblivious to the political ramifications of the lack of justice.
A second factor was the obstacle to prosecutions of grave human rights abuses posed by Law No. 26/2000 on human rights courts. The law, well-intentioned but deeply flawed, incorporates the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court into Indonesian domestic law. For crimes to be considered "serious human rights violations" and thus prosecutable in the new human rights courts, they would have to be tantamount to crimes of universal jurisdiction, such as crimes against humanity. This meant that if individual human rights violations, such as a single massacre, did not rise to the threshold of the definitions of the Rome Statute, they would have to be tried in military courts, (with military judges, if the suspects were members of the armed forces), or in so-called koneksitas courts, (with both military and civilian judges, if the perpetrators included both civilians as well as members of the security forces). Either way, Indonesia's abysmally corrupt legal system offered little hope that justice would be done. Neither the Megawati government nor its predecessor, however, gave setting up the human rights courts a high priority, and by early 2002, none were functioning.4
Finally, there was Komnas HAM itself. Since the Indonesian army or police, the Attorney General's office, and the Justice Ministry all showed little interest in seeing serious human rights violators brought to justice, the only hope for prodding the government into action seemed to lie with Komnas HAM. But beginning in 1999, Komnas HAM had steadily deteriorated from an institution once rated the most credible institution in the country, during the late Soeharto days, to a body of conservative obstructionists whose main interest appeared to be in defending the government against allegations of human rights violations rather than investigating them. By early 2002, much of Komnas HAM's international funding had been withdrawn in recognition of its poor performance, and the few good commissioners left were planning to resign. In Aceh, in particular, a combination of inaction, empty promises, and failed initiatives by Komnas HAM had left it without any credibility as an independent human rights body.
III. THE KILLINGS AT BUMI FLORA
On August 9, 2001, one of the worst single massacres of the war in Aceh took place. Dozens of armed men dressed in camouflage uniforms entered one of the housing areas of PT Bumi Flora, a rubber and palm oil plantation in East Aceh, and shot thirty men and a two-year-old child to death. Seven others were wounded. The Indonesian government and GAM immediately accused each other of the killings.
The military said it had no operations in the area on that day, and in any case, the area was GAM-controlled. It claimed that the camouflage uniforms worn resembled those belonging to the Malaysian military, pointing to GAM. Initially, security forces suggested that GAM had sent a unit to extort wages from the workers, and when the workers did not want to pay, they were shot.5 Coordinating Minister for Politics and Security Bambang Susilo Yudhoyono told reporters that a report from the Aceh police prepared on the day after the massacre suggested that GAM had carried out the killings after it had failed to convince the workers at the plantation to go on strike.6 By January 2002, government officials in Banda Aceh were saying that the plantation owner had earlier been threatened by GAM because he failed to pay a specific sum of money on demand, and that the killings were punishment for that failure.7
For its part, GAM pointed out that all the victims were Acehnese, and GAM had never engaged in the slaughter of its own people. It said that the Indonesian army was responsible, and that the massacre was in retaliation for a GAM attack on an Indonesian army (Tentara Nasional Indonesia or TNI) post two days earlier in which, it claimed, twenty-five soldiers were killed.8 It also called for an independent international investigation. The GAM leadership in Banda Aceh was so angry at the space given the army version of events in the local newspaper that it forced the paper to close for almost a month.
Over the next few weeks, several efforts were made to investigate the killings. The pro-referendum political organization, Sentral Informasi Untuk Referendum Aceh (SIRA), produced a detailed report on August 11.9 That report had more information than any produced to that point, but not all of it was accurate, and SIRA was in any case not seen as independent by the government. Some of its members were close to GAM, and the government considered it the political wing of the guerrillas, although in fact, the organizations were not linked. The SIRA report concluded that the perpetrators were members of "non-organic" forces – that is, those brought in by the central government from outside Aceh – who were stationed inside the Bumi Flora plantation. The motivation for the killing, it said, was a surprise early morning attack by GAM guerrillas on a TNI post in the village of Alue Ie Mirah on August 8, in which "more than twenty" soldiers were killed.10 The government has never acknowledged that any soldiers died.
On August 14, senior officials of the East Aceh district government agreed to form a fact-finding team (Tim Pencari Fakta or TPF). Members of the TPF were appointed by the governor, who named Yusuf Puteh, a respected human rights activist, as chair. It also included representatives of the military and police. The team was eventually able to meet with fourteen eyewitnesses, whose testimonies, leaked over the Internet in late August, pointed to the army as the killers. Differences of opinion among the team members prevented any formal conclusions being drawn, however, or any report from being issued.
On August 19, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) known to Human Rights Watch interviewed a witness, identified only as the wife of one of the victims, whose testimony also pointed to the army. That testimony was later made widely available over the Internet, but the name of the NGO was never made public.
Then, on August 24, 2001, a team from Komnas HAM, the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission, arrived in Aceh. It was led by B.N. Marbun and fellow commissioner Mohammad Salim, an Acehnese. The two commissioners, together with a staff member from Jakarta and two members of Komnas HAM's branch office in Banda Aceh, met with numerous eyewitnesses to the massacre and recorded their interviews on tape. Those interviews, together with notes and documents collected on what was officially billed as an "observation" rather than an investigation, were compiled into an internal document entitled Report of an Observation by Komnas-HAM, The Case of Bumi Flora, Aceh Timur, 24-26 August 2001. Human Rights Watch has obtained and translated in full the transcripts of the interviews, with names of witnesses deleted for their protection. It has also translated excerpts of other parts of the report, all of which are reproduced below.
The document as a whole is revealing, both as a record of eyewitness accounts as well as an illustration of how Komnas HAM conducts interviews. All of the witnesses interviewed believed that the Indonesian army was responsible for the killings: they point out separately and independently that none of the attackers spoke Acehnese. All but one wore camouflage shirts or uniforms with a pattern used by the Indonesian army, but as both parties to the conflict have used each other's uniforms in the past, that in itself would not be conclusive. Two of the women said that the attackers had criticized them for not raising the Indonesian flag as Indonesia's national day, August 17, 2001, approached.
None of the witnesses were able to name or give clear physical descriptions of any of the perpetrators, and the evidence they give is circumstantial. While it is perhaps possible that they were all coached beforehand to give similar accounts, the level of detail and the distinctiveness of their accounts suggest otherwise. Moreover, two people present at the interviews told Human Rights Watch that the witnesses were highly credible.11 At the very least, one of them told us, the interviews produced "strong indications" of military responsibility, certainly enough to have provided a basis for further investigation.12
In their August 30, 2001 report on their findings, Commissioners Marbun and Salim did indeed recommend that a formal Commission of Inquiry (Komisi Penyelidik Pelanggaran Hak Asasi Manusia or KPP) be established in accordance with Article 18 of Law No.26/2000 on the establishment of Human Rights Courts.
The two commissioners recommended, however, that before proceeding further, Komnas HAM should get security guarantees from both sides to ensure the safety of its investigators.13
Only on January 8, 2002, however, did Komnas HAM formally agree in a plenary session to set up the commission of inquiry into the Bumi Flora case, and all evidence suggests that the stumbling block was not the question of security guarantees. It was lack of political will, demonstrated by the conduct of the observation mission, the lack of follow-up, and Komnas HAM's overall track record in Aceh.
IV. CONDUCT OF THE OBSERVATION MISSION
Given the importance of the Bumi Flora case, Komnas HAM should have made an extra effort to include commissioners with established reputations for independence and commitment to accountability. Neither B.N. Marbun nor Mohammad Salim fit that description.
Marbun became well known to the international community in East Timor in 1999 after the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) was established. He was appointed to a body set up by the Indonesian government in April 1999 called the Commission on Peace and Stability (KPS), which was supposed to ensure that militias and guerrillas in East Timor lay down their arms and abide by a code of conduct. In the view of U.N. officials and many East Timorese, Marbun and the current chair of Komnas HAM, Djoko Sugianto, acted as little more than surrogates for the Indonesian government and pro-Indonesia elements in East Timor.14
Mohammad Salim had been charged with setting up a Commission of Inquiry to look into the killings of three humanitarian workers in Aceh in December 2000. He not only failed to take any action, but he and Marbun actively worked to undermine efforts to have the case treated as a serious human rights violation rather than an ordinary crime.15
In investigating the Bumi Flora case, Marbun and Salim did make a conscious effort to find eyewitnesses from whom they could hear first-hand testimony. One person present at the interviews said that when the wives of the victims were interviewed, the general demeanor of the commissioners was gentle and not threatening to those questioned.16 But some of their tactics were highly questionable.
For example, in their visit to the doctor and staff of the clinic in Idi Rayeuk, East Aceh, to which the bodies of the Bumi Flora victims had been taken, the Komnas HAM team was accompanied by the East Aceh military commander. Throughout Marbun's interview with the doctor, the commander sat within earshot of the conversation, a fact that may well have deterred the doctor from conveying any sensitive information. Marbun never asked about any bullets that had been recovered from the bodies or the location or nature of the wounds, but confined his questions to establishing the chronology for the arrival and disposal of the bodies.17 The team asked no questions relating to the huge military presence around the hospital or how this might have affected the work of the clinic. One of the women who went to the Idi clinic on the night of August 9 told Human Rights Watch that she thought there might have been as many as 150 troops surrounding the clinic at the time.18
The Komnas team frequently failed to pursue leads that might have resulted in more information. Not once, for example, did they ask any of the witnesses about who seemed to be in command or giving the orders during the operation. Many of the witnesses testified that of the dozens of men present, only one was not wearing camouflage. While the details of his clothing varied slightly from witness to witness, this individual appears to have been key, but the team did no probing to find out what his precise role was.
According to one of the team members interviewed by Human Rights Watch, some obvious follow-up interviews were not pursued. The manager of the Bumi Flora plantation, reportedly resident in Medan, North Sumatra, was not interviewed. His testimony would have been important, since local government officials later told Human Rights Watch that they believed the massacre was carried out by GAM because of the manager's refusal to make a large payment to GAM.19 The military denied holding one eyewitness, Abdul Wahab bin Hussein, whom the local human rights group said was in the East Aceh district military's custody. The Komnas HAM team appeared to accept the army's statement that the man was not in custody and made no effort to track down that lead, ascertain the man's whereabouts, or ask the human rights group how they knew he was in detention. According to one team member, Marbun and Salim made no effort to seriously look into the report of an armed clash between GAM and TNI in the area the day before in which some TNI soldiers may have been killed or wounded.20
At a minimum, efforts should have been made, if not in East Aceh then in Banda Aceh or Jakarta to investigate reports of clashes in the area and to document what army units were involved. Military posts were known to have been established in and around Bumi Flora.21 A local human rights group interviewed by Human Rights Watch mentioned battalions 142, 312, 142, and 401 as having units in the area, but not once did the Komnas HAM team try to map these out or otherwise inquire about what the different units operating in the area were.22 When eyewitnesses interviewed by the Komnas-HAM team reported being stopped in the road en route to the clinic and virtually instructed to acknowledge that GAM was behind the massacre, the team made no effort to follow up and ascertain the units involved or raise questions about the behavior of the troops.
Despite widespread reports of intimidation of witnesses by the army and police, particularly the wounded in the hospital, the Komnas team made no effort, with one exception, to determine who else had talked to the witnesses or under what circumstances.
Any of the above follow-up could have been done without the security guarantees recommended by the Komnas HAM team. There was no reason to wait until January 2002 to formally establish a Commission of Inquiry.
V. KOMNAS HAM AND ACEH: THE TRACK RECORD
In June and August 1998, at the height of its influence and credibility as an independent and critical body, Komnas HAM conducted a survey of human rights abuses that had taken place in Aceh between 1990 and 1998, when Aceh had been formally designated an area of military operations (daerah operasi militer or DOM). It found that gross violations of human rights had been committed by Indonesian government forces, in the form of summary executions, torture, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detention, rape and sexual assault, and property destruction. It recommended prosecution of those responsible, compensation for the victims, restoration of civilian institutions, ending the culture of impunity within the military; a wholesale review of military law and education, and reallocation of resources between the central and provincial governments.23 Nothing happened.
Following two major massacres in Aceh in February and May 1999, Komnas HAM issued strong statements concluding that the military approach to the Aceh conflict had only resulted in increased violence, and that new anti-riot teams containing both military and civilian elements were exacerbating the conflict rather than reducing it.24 The statements were forceful, but they had no impact. In July 1999, Komnas HAM recommended to then President Habibie that a Truth and Reconciliation Commission be established specifically for Aceh. Nothing came of it, though not for want of effort by some Komnas HAM members; it was the Habibie government that showed no interest.
On July 30, 1999, however, through Presidential Decision (Kepres) No.88, President Habibie set up a special commission to investigate human rights violations in Aceh, called Komisi Independen untuk Tindak Kekerasan Aceh. Led by an Acehnese woman who was widely known to be a business associate of then Commander of the Armed Forces General Wiranto, the new commission contained two members from Komnas HAM, Mohammad Salim and a retired police commander, Koesparmono Irsan. Its work was controversial: it ended up recommending prosecution of only five cases, out of all the human rights violations that had taken place in Aceh, and none of these were from the worst of the DOM period. To many Acehnese, the commission reinforced the culture of impunity that Komnas HAM had urged ending, even though one of the five cases was eventually brought to trial and low-ranking soldiers found guilty. (Their commander went into hiding and was never prosecuted.) 25
In September 1999, Komnas HAM established a branch office in Aceh, in acknowledgment of the serious human rights violations of the past and present. The office was widely welcomed in Aceh, but it could not act independently of Jakarta, and when the reputation of Komnas HAM in the capital began to slide, the reputation of the Aceh branch went with it.
Up until this point, the conservatives within Komnas HAM, many of whom had been among the first appointees when the commission was established in 1993, had not been particularly active. As pressure began to build around the world for an international tribunal to investigate Indonesian officers and their militia proxies for crimes against humanity in East Timor, the Indonesian government insisted that it could undertake credible investigations and prosecutions itself. Komnas HAM announced that it was setting up a special Commission of Inquiry into the 1999 violence in East Timor and appointed a number of respected human rights activists as members. In January 2000, the Commission produced a hard-hitting and detailed report that recommended dozens of officers and militia leaders for prosecution. The conservatives within Komnas HAM, according to Komnas sources, were furious, and apparently concluded that the forces for change had grown altogether too powerful. From that moment on, they began to more actively obstruct investigations.26
The result was felt in Aceh. It was not as though Komnas HAM had been particularly effective up to that point. But there was a general feeling that its intentions had at least been honorable. From early 2000, it was open to question whether Komnas HAM as a body was interested in seeing any members of the security forces brought to justice. Komnas HAM's actions with respect to the RATA killings were a case in point. The three humanitarian workers were killed in Lhokseumawe, North Aceh, on December 6, 2000. By late December, based on the testimony of a fourth worker who managed to escape after witnessing the execution of his colleagues, eight men had been taken into custody. Four were members of the Indonesian army, and four were civilian thugs, led by a well-known military informer named Ampon Thaib. On January 2, 2001, the Aceh branch office of Komnas HAM recommended to the Jakarta office that the RATA killings be considered a serious human rights violations under the terms of Law No.26/2000 and prosecuted accordingly, meaning that Komnas HAM would do the initial investigation. On January 9, Komnas HAM as a whole agreed to take up the case, and appointed Mohammed Salim and Koesparmono, the two men who had been involved in the special commission on Aceh, to establish the Commission of Inquiry. Salim had primary responsibility, but to the great frustration of the Komnas HAM office in Aceh and the local community of nongovernmental organizations, he never acted. Instead, he and other members of Komnas HAM, as well as the Attorney General's office, appeared to accept the police argument that because the police had already initiated an investigation into the case as an ordinary murder, the charges could not be changed – as they would have to be if the case was to be considered a serious human rights violation under the terms of Law No. 26 – without releasing the suspects.27 The argument was faulty, but neither Salim nor the chair of Komnas HAM made any effort to refute it. As they were dithering, the four civilian thugs mysteriously escaped from prison in late March 2001. By January 2002, the four military men had been released as the legal time period for pre-trial detention had been exceeded, and Ampon Thaib, the lead thug, was back as a fully armed and equipped participant in operations of the district military command in Lhokseumawe.28
Given Komnas HAM's record in Aceh, its decision of January 8, 2002 to set up a Commission of Inquiry to look into the Bumi Flora massacre must be treated with skepticism. There is no question that the massacre needs to be investigated by a neutral and independent body. By early 2002, there was growing evidence that Komnas HAM was neither.
VI. EXCERPTS FROM "REPORT OF AN OBSERVATION VISIT BY KOMNAS-HAM, THE CASE OF BUMI FLORA, ACEH TIMUR, 24-26 AUGUST 2001"
Translator's note: All of the interviews with witnesses, which appear as Attachments in the Observation Visit report, have been translated in full. The report begins with a description of the purpose of the visit, and the first several attachments include the letter of authorization, a chronology of the incident, and notes on some preliminary meetings with local officials; that material is not included here. Human Rights Watch has deleted the names of the witnesses and other identifying details. In the transcripts, the witnesses are simply referred to as W; the Commission members are referred to by their initials (BNM for B.N. Marbun, MS for Mohammed Salim).
[The report begins with a note that the observation visit was authorized by a letter from the chair of Komnas HAM, H.R. Djoko Soegianto, No. 1.248/TUA/VII/2001. Those assigned to the Komnas team were B.N. Marbun and Mohammad Salim, together with Andi Nurusman, a Komnas HAM staff member, and two representatives of the Komnas HAM branch office in Aceh, Sepriady Utama, and Bustami Mahyidin. Their mission was to seek explanations, input, and data from senior officials of the East Aceh district government, including the district head or bupati, and the police and military commanders, and to undertake a field visit. Based on their observation visit, they would decide whether a more formal investigation should be pursued.
The team began its visit with a two-hour meeting on August 24, 2001 with the officials named above, together with their deputies and members of the fact-finding team appointed by the East Aceh bupati and two subdistrict officials (camat). The military commander explained the security situation; the deputy police commander noted that the police had obtained several bullets from the crime scene and had taken interrogation depositions from eighteen witnesses, eleven women whose husbands had been killed and seven of the wounded. The team then met separately with members of the fact-finding team.
On August 25, the team met for an hour and a half with the staff of the clinic in Idi Rayeuk to which the bodies had been brought; then for three and a half hours with the military and police from Idi Rayeuk subdistrict. The team then began their meetings with witnesses, accompanied by members of a local human rights organization.]
ATTACHMENT 6: Note on a meeting with the Health Clinic (puskesmas) in Idi Rayeuk
[interview with Sji Bram Malasi, the doctor in charge of the clinic. It was he who carried out the "visum and repertum" of the bodies, a procedure short of a full autopsy. The procedure was conducted at the request of the subdistrict police commander. What follows are HRW's excerpts from the interview transcripts.]
Dr. Malasi: First we were called by the Danramil [subdistrict military commander] and given the news that there were about 20 bodies in Bumi Flora. We couldn't believe it, that there were as many as 20 bodies! What happened? We thought it might have been a natural disaster, but then five of my staff went up there to help evacuate those who were still alive. They were brought here and we gave them first aid before sending them on to Langsa Hospital. [...]
This woman is the one who received the phone call, then went to the location and was head of the Bumi Flora team. You can ask her directly.
BNM: Can you tell us first how the bodies were brought here, transported by whom, who gave the news, then what was done here. We already heard that the bodies were given visums and buried the same night. The important point is who brought them here, who reported the incident? This way we can reconstruct the conditions before, during, and after this human tragedy. The doctor here said he could hardly imagine that 20 people could die at once. Even we from Jakarta find it difficult to comprehend the notion of 30 people dying at the same time. Maybe you can help us by explaining what your role was that day and what you found when you went to Bumi Flora.
Rafni, A. Mk: At that moment I was on duty and got a call from Pak Abdullah Amir, he said there were bodies, more than three people. If we took an ambulance, we wouldn't have been able to get in. So the police commander [kapolsek] said, "You go first, then we'll send an ambulance later." After that we went up there and when we got to B2, we were met by a Hi-line vehicle from Bumi Flora. We went together in that vehicle and found that 23 bodies were there in B2. We gave priority to those who were still alive. After we gave them an infusion, we put them in an ambulance. Then we put ten of the bodies in the Bumi Flora car. Another 20 were taken by another Bumi Flora vehicle, but because it was already evening, those twenty we didn't take until the next day. We took the wounded to Langsa on August 10.
BNM: When you got there, was there anyone else at the site?
Rafni: No, only the families.
BNM: The victims' families?
BNM: They were still there?
BNM: And did they come here, accompanying the victims?
Rafni: Ten people came to bring the bodies, including family members.
BNM: Did any one from the disrict government, or the village head or the subdistrict government go along?
Rafni: Not while we were there, there was only a person from PT Bumi Flora.
BNM: Only a person from the company!
Rafni: Yes, only a keuchik [village elder] whom I didn't know. We tried to do things as quickly as possible because we were all afraid and wanted to get out of there.
BNM: Were you afraid?
Rafni: Of course I was afraid! I have five children still at home.
Marbun: Where's the person from the Red Cross? Tell us first about those who died on 9-10 August then about the nine people who died in a subdistrict not far from Bumi Flora. According to the reports we got, it's suspected that the nine people were buried in four holes in a ravine, then were removed from there by local residents. We understand that the nine were buried together and not in their own villages.
PMI: We don't know the exact circumstances. All we know is that on Monday, we left for Langsa. We brought one body from the hospital, then were stopped by an employee of RS Idi here and told there were nine victims there. We heard at the time that there'd been an armed clash in the area around Keude Geurobak. We went to the location; we couldn't get the exact figures before we actually went to the scene. After getting guarantees from both sides, we left with two keuchiks from around there. After we arrived at a kampung [hamlet] called Keude Pliek, we were told that the number of victims was nine. I forget their names. They were between 15 and 30 years old. After we stopped for a while in Keude Pliek, we went directly to the scene, together with local residents. When we got there, we indeed found four graves, with the victims not having been shot but there were signs of assault, including that their lips were more or less split. Then they seem to have been executed using a rope. We brought the nine bodies out in an ambulance. We went to the scene with about four people from PMI and one other person from FP-HAM. The site was around a forest, I don't know its name exactly. But maybe no one had been there in about three years. The proof was that the road had been closed, grown over with grass. But we were determined, and with the help of the people, we were able to take the victims. But the people didn't want them brought to this clinic, they wanted them taken to the mosque in Keude Pliek. Staff from the clinic took them to the field to conduct a visum. Our job is just to evacuate them. So that's what we can tell you, if you want a chronology of why they died, we can't tell you anything. We don't know the chronology of the incident.
BNM: Thank you for that information, we'll continue with this later.
ATTACHMENT 7: Note on the Meeting with the Rajawali Detachment and the Police Chief of Idi Rayeuk, in the office of the Assistant to the Bupati
Agenda: Informal Meeting between the Komnas-HAM team with the Commander of Second Rajawali Detachment Maj. Rogan Napitupulu; District Military Commander for East Aceh (KODIM 0104) Lt. Col. M. Nakir, Subdistrict Military Commander for Idi Rayeuk First Lieutenant Saldi Kadir and Police Chief of Idi Rayeuk Bustami.
The meeting was intended to gather information on plans to visit the crime scene in Afdeling IV Bumi Flor, Jambo Rehat, Banda Alam subdistrict, East Aceh, and particularly the security aspects.
BNM: We from the Komnas HAM team are here to collect information from the security forces about the location of the crime scene, including the security aspects.
Maj. Rogan: The crime scene is some distance away. As for the security conditions, it's not safe. The possibility of an ambush is extremely high. The fact-finding team from Langsa was stopped, and as a result failed to get to the location. Using an army helicopter, the team tried to approach the location. The team consisted of the district military commander, the district police commander, local government officials, and the deputy head of special operations in Aceh. This team also failed to land, because the forces were not yet able to secure the area around the location. The team could only land the next day.
BNM: The location is under whose control? Whose territory?
Major Rogan: In fact, it's strongly under their control.
BNM: When the bodies were taken away, the location, the distance from the houses, how was it? What were the explanations of the witnesses you were able to interview, what were their attributes? When exactly did it take place, who else saw it in addition to the families of the victims. And we also want to check about the arms that were used as well as other marks or indications that they wore. We also want to record their reactions. But we heard yesterday from the fact-finding team, the local government, the police and the military that Afdeling IV is now deserted.
Major Rogan: That's right.
BNM: So there's no one we can interview?
Police Chief Bustami: The families have gone back to their kampungs.
BNM: I mean, there's no one living in the kampung at the site.
Bustami: The plantation has barracks. After the incident, the wives of the victims went home to their kampungs. This wasn't a kampung.
Lt Col Nakir: It was a workplace, not a kampung. The Afdeling was only a place for workers to stay.
BNM: So it wasn't permanent, like the Afdeling in Siantar, where I come from.
Nakir: Maybe, at the police station we can get a map of the houses.
Camat: The site is in the village of Jambo Rehat.
BNM: So today, how many hours or days would it take to get there?
Nakir: On August 10 in the morning, we tried to get there and couldn't enter.
BNM: Can health teams enter?
Bustami: Yes, they use the small road. Paramedics can enter because they're neutral. So it's safe.
Major Rogan: They're neutral and aren't likely to be disturbed.
Nakir: If we try to go there, we really have to be extra careful. The regional military commander tried to go together with senior provincial officials (Muspida). But because of the situation on the road, it wasn't passable, so only the small vehicles used by the Red Cross could get through. It wasn't possible for us to get there with a truck and troops. So we decided to turn around. Troop reinforcements arrived around 3 pm, if I'm not mistaken. At 3 p.m. forces arrived at the location. The only way to get in was by helicopter. On 17 August, I ordered Rajawali to enter and secure the place. On Saturday, we tried to land by helicopter but failed because the process of securing the area was not complete. Finally, we went back. The next day, on the 19th, the forces went in, the securing was done. On Sunday, after we were sure of that, the forces gained control of the location, and with a helipad, we were able to land.
BNM: When you got there, were the houses still there?
Nakir: There were houses, there were people.
BNM: Were there traces of what happened?
Nakir: Yes, Polres has taken care of that.
BNM: Who's the village head?
Camat: This is the village head of Jambo Rehat, Keuchik Abdullah. He's one of the ones I contacted yesterday. I just got a report from him. They don't want to come unless they're met by human rights people, I mean by FP-HAM [the local human rights organization]. If it's only the village head, they're too scared.
BNM: So there's an obstacle, is there?
Keuchik Abdullah: If there's someone to meet them, they're willing to come.
Camat: The witnesses are in the village of Jambo Rehat, not in Bumi Flora.
Keuchik Abdullah: That's within our area.
BNM: How far is it?
Camat: About an hour and a half. Conditions are normal to Keude Grobak, about 30 minutes away. But because the bridges at Blang Siguci and Keude Dua have been burned, we can't cross them. We have to make a detour.
BNM: What about FP-HAM? Can they get in?
Camat: Maybe, because they're independent. They're not government. If you go to pick them up, use an ambulance, don't use a government car.
Major Rogan: Maybe we should use a Red Cross vehicle. It's difficult if we take a government car.
Nakir: You can get there; it's coming back that you get stopped.
Keuchik Abdullah: The Red Cross has gone up there, so they know the place.
BNM: How about if it's the Red Cross who meets them, together with the fact-finding team and PB-HAM?
Camat: Where are the witnesses? In Jambo Rehat or Keyde Plik. How many are there?
Keuchik Abdullah: Six people. You can use the small road.
BNM: But to interview the witnesses, we don't need to go there. To the crime scene.
M. Yusuf Puteh: We can go together directly, as far as Jambo Rehat.
Camat: Okay. So Pak Marbun and the team can take the ambulance and a Red Cross vehicle.
BNM: The witnesses are there?
Camat: Are you sure they're there?
Keuchik Abdullah: They're there, Pak. Women. About four or five of them.
BNM: Eyewitnesses, right, not just family members who didn't see anything.
Keuchik Abdullah: I didn't ask, I just looked for the heirs of the victims.
BNM: We don't need that, we need those who know about and saw the incident happen. That means eyewitnesses. That way you can crosscheck later. So we have [names 3 witnesses].
Nakir: We have depositions from them, we've turned those over to the police.
Amiruddin: Yes, the fact-finding team has already examined them.
BNM: That's just it, we have to use the fact-finding team and police reports as secondary sources only. We'll take all that information. Later we will investigate ourselves. We won't let ourselves be influenced.
So let's do it this way for now, is it possible to bring the witnesses to Langsa, to the Pendopo (bupati's residence) so it's neutral? The Bupati is prepared to handle the expenses. We need at least six people. Can the Camat and village head help out?
Camat Idi Rayeuk: Yes, but it's a bit difficult because I first have to inform or contact people who can get there.
BNM: Or just go ahead.
Camat Idi Rayeuk: Look, if the fact-finding team, the district officials or the camat go there, to a place that's so dangerous...
Camat Banda Alam: If a camat goes there, it's a sure bet he won't come back. All that will be left is his name.
Keuchik Abdullah: Same for a village head, Pak.
BNM: So what do we do?
Camat Idi Rayeuk: It's a fact that things are difficult. As camat, I don't know those families. I have to contact them again. Time is short. The area's dangerous. It's not that we don't want to help, that's our duty, but it's the situation.
BNM: You from the fact-finding team, what do you think?
Amiruddin: We from the fact-finding team have already brought the witnesses to Langsa once and interview them all. Then we came home, two days before your team arrived. We were able to do it through the Red Cross.
BNM: Can we take advantage of the Red Cross, too?
M. Yusuf Puteh: The Red Cross themselves don't want to go unless they're accompanied, because some of them are not that fluent in Acehnese.
Amiruddin: Maybe the Red Cross can't go either unless there's an order from the local government. Then the government can request volunteers from PB-HAM to accompany the Red Cross. Separately from their capacity as members of the fact-finding team.
BNM: So will it be PB-HAM or the fact-finding team that accompanies the Red Cross?
Amiruddin: We can't go, because we're from the fact-finding team.
Yusuf Puteh: The difference between the fact-finding team and PB-HAM is a real one. But it's also difficult for PB-HAM to go there because it's unsafe. Komnas HAM [Aceh branch] should go.
BNM: Okay, we'll take Komnas HAM there. From the branch office. How about it, Sepriady?
Sepriady: Fine, we're ready as long as there's someone who can show us the way.
ATTACHMENT 9: Witness No.1
Occupation: Rubber Tapper, Bumi Flora
Place of Interview: [deleted]
Date of Interview: [deleted]
Investigators: Muhammad Salim, S.H. and B.N. Marbun, S.H.
MS: What do you know about the incident on Thursday, the 9th?
W: Well, we were given our wages on the 8th, and on Thursday, the next day, I was planning to go to Peurelak to shop. A Colt belonging to the plantation was coming to take us to Peurelak. Just at the time the Colt arrived, so did the army, around 7:30 a.m.
MS: What do you mean, the army?
W: In the Acehnese language, the slang term is si Pa'i. At that moment, I was cooking in the kitchen. My uncle said to me, "The army just came." I said, "Whose army, our people?" My uncle said, "No, THE army." When I peeped out, it was true. But I didn't think they would come up here [to the dormitory of the witness]. When they did come up, the three-year-old child of Foreman No.1 was with me. I took the child and brought him inside. Not long afterwards, the army entered and asked in Indonesian, "Where's your husband?" "He already went out," I answered. "Where, out?" they said. "He went out in front," I said, meaning outside the dormitory. When they went in front of the dormitory, indeed, there he was.
MS: And then?
W: After that I was ordered outside. When I went out, I was carrying the child, and the weapon of one of the soldiers was put against my throat. I was asked roughly, "You're an Acehnese, right?" I said, "Yes." "You really are?" he asked. "Really," I answered. "I'm going to kill you," he said. "Go ahead, it makes no difference to me. I want to die," I said. But then I was ordered to join a group of other women who had been ordered to one spot. When I got there, we were all ordered inside. I went in the house for a minute, but then went out again. I didn't want to stay inside because the men were already being told to line up. Then there was a shot from above. The men were ordered to line up and take off their shirts and squat down. After that, without any questions or any investigation at all, they were shot. That was after there was that one shot, a signal, from above. After the shot from above, from the house - because there were two houses there - I saw the men being shot. I saw the shooters from close up, not that close but I saw two men standing above the men who were lined up. The others just watched, they didn't shoot.
MS: So how many troops were there?
W: About 60. What I saw was that there were a lot of soldiers scattered all over. The group that came to me involved 6 men, but there were lots more below, maybe 60 altogether. Up above there were 6. The point is that there were lots of people there but only two did the shooting.
BNM: So there were more than 60 men?
BMN: And only two did the shooting?
W: Yes. There was one more man shooting from above but he didn't come down. There were 6 people killed up there because they didn't have a chance to join the line-up. There were 24 killed down below.
W: It was in Mata Kueh, the 24 men were ordered to line up there, whereas the total number of victims was 31, remember? Thirty-one, together with the victims who haven't yet been found. I think one of those is dead. So the total I counted was 31, including one young child, the son of Ibu Salimah. Six victims above, 24 below.
MS: Who did the shooting?
W: Well, the ones I saw had ranks, those si Pa'i, those soldiers. There were three red stripes, they carried black guns, there were knapsacks, belts, canteens, rifles, shoes, round hats with bands underneath like army helmets. The color of their bags was the same as their clothes. Our people, Acehnese, it's not possible they'd have clothes with insignia. There aren't any, are there? I don't know if they were army or not, but they had the insignia, the ranks, They used Bahasa Indonesia, not Bahasa Aceh, and they were fluent. There were even some speaking Javanese. The words rene-rene, what language is that? It's Javanese, right? They couldn't have been our people because of the rene-rene. As far as I heard, they used Indonesian and Javanese, not Acehnese.
MS: How long did the whole incident last?
W: From the time they lined up, about 7:30, I guess they stayed until 8:00 a.m.
MS: After the shooting, did they leave?
W: After the shooting, they told us to count the number of bodies. And, they said, we should deliver those 38 bodies to GAM.
MS: Thirty-eight, they said?
W: Yes, thirty-eight.
MS: Who said that?
W: The army.
MS: They said that to you?
W: Yes, because I had already gone down to the site. Everyone who died was a friend of mine. I'm a determined person, if all my friends are to be shot like that, I might as well die, too. I'm not afraid of anything. I took that child, I brought him there. They asked me to count the bodies.
MS: Whose child was it?
W: The child of Foreman No.1, someone from Simpang Ulim. I don't know how old he is, I just took him. Some of the soldiers who did the shooting drank blood from a victim, they took it and drank it.
MS: If you met the people you've told us about, do you think you would recognize them?
W: Don't know. The distance was a little far from where I was, but not too far.
BNM: About how far?
W; About 10 meters. From here to there.
MS: About drinking the blood, what was all this?
W: He took the blood from off the cement and he drank it. It was one of those who did the shooting, a little guy, maybe about 15 years old.
MS: Oh, so those who did the shooting were little children?
W: Yes, there was one child. The other was an adult, a stocky guy like that gentlemen there. It was he who said, "Okay, enough." The child answered, "What do you mean enough, he's still alive." He opened fire against when he saw one of the bodies move. Some of their friends who had left the site kept on shooting. When the men were lined up, there were four rows who were asked to squat. One of them wore camouflage, one didn't but he had a mask.
MS: So not everyone wore camouflage?
W: No, but there was only one man who didn't, as far as I could see.
MS: What kind of clothes did he wear, then?
W: He had a pink shirt with black stripes, brown trousers, wore shoes, had a gun, only he wore a mask so you could see his eyes but not his mouth. As I was standing there, he lifted his mask and laughed in my direction. He was the last to leave the site, the others had already left.
MS: Did the workers who were staying in the dormitory engage in any particular activities that would have made them a target?
W: None. Before this, we never had soldiers coming up to our place. Never. But for some reason, that morning, they came very quickly. It was as though they suddenly appeared.
MS: That's why I'm asking again, were there any activities or behavior that could have caused suspicion, so that it gave them a reason to come?
W: No. They came just like that and in a loud voice ordered all the men to come out and line up quickly. Some of the men were still in their sarongs, holding their towels, some had just woken up. Because it was a day off, they didn't have to work, so some of them got up late.
MS: Where did the vehicle go after the incident, the one that had come to pick you up?
W: It was parked in front of my house. It was the driver that told my uncle, Samsul Bahri, that the army had come, and that they shouldn't run away. That's what he said. How could we have run, the army was already there. That driver died, he was brought to Medan. The conductor died, too.
MS: Why was he killed as well?
W: Because he was there. He was ordered to line up because he was male.
MS: But he was only a driver.
W: So even a driver was ordered like this, that all men should line up over there.
MS: The driver was shot, what happened to the vehicle afterwards?
W: At 11:00 am, I went down to Alue Ramboet to see the vehicle and to tell people to go up to the site.
MS: How did you get there? Why did you go?
W: I walked. I wanted to go to the head office to report.
MS: Report to whom?
W: To Pak Bakhtiar, in Alue Ramboet.
MS: What did you tell him?
W: I said that people in Afdeling IV were dead, they'd all been shot, only the women were left. They didn't dare go because they didn't know if the army had all left or not.
MS: When you told them the army was all gone, were they willing to come?
W: They still didn't dare because they were afraid there will still soldiers there. If they went, and there were soldiers there, they were afraid that they, too, would be shot. So it was afternoon and we still couldn't go there. But before I went to Alue Ramboet, I was able to arrange and cover the bodies. A driver, named Ichsan, was the one who told me to go to Alue Ramboet to tell people what happened. So I went.
MS: How far is Alue Ramboet from the site?
W: If you walk it, about half an hour.
MS: How could it be that they didn't hear the shooting there?
W: It's a hilly area, sir.
MS: So there was no suspicious behavior on the part of the local residents?
W: As far as I know, no.
MS: And no efforts to harass the army?
MS: So why would they just come and start shooting?
W: I don't know. After they were gathered together, they were immediately shot. No questions, no examination of identity cards (KTP), no nothing. That's what usually happens, you aren't usually ordered to line up and then get shot.
MS: They left at 8 am?
MS: Did they take any belongings or valuables?
W: No. There was some money that was taken after the shooting. My uncle told them to wait a minute, he was going to get his KTP. The soldiers said, "What KTP?" They ordered him to get in line, and we women were ordered inside.
MS: So who took care of the bodies.
W: I did, myself. No one else dared because it was terrible. They were only removed about 13:30 by people from the Red Cross. First, about ten bodies were taken. then they were taken by a Dyna car to Alue Ramboet. Only then were they taken by truck to Idi.
MS: How were the wounded taken?
W: The wounded had been taken away earlier with a Hi-line car.
Witness No. 2
Occupation: Housewife/wife of victim
Date and Time of Interview: [deleted]
Investigators: BN Marbun and Sepriady Utama
BNM: Thank you for your willingness to see us. We're from Komnas HAM, we're going to ask questions and get your testimony in connection with the case of the killings at Bumi Flora. and we hope that your testimony will give us as much information as possible. Please tell us exactly what happened. You don't need to hold anything back. We'll see later, we'll try to get concrete data, and there's nothing to be afraid of. Okay, let's begin. What's your name?
BMN: So, you have nothing to fear. We're not going to use your name publicly, this is only for documentation by Komnas-HAM. Where do you live? I mean, your last address. I know you used to live in Afdeling IV Bumi Flora, but where do you live now?
W: [gives current address]
BNM: What was your relation with one of the victims from August 9?
W: My husband, his name was [deleted].
BMN: When it happened, how long had you lived in Bumi Flora?
W: Not very long, I'd only been working there about four months.
BMN: Before that, where were you?
W: I was living in my village in Kerinci.
BMN: You went to Bumi Flora directly from Kerinci?
W: No, I was in the kampung for a while but because there was no source of income there, I went looking for work in the plantation.
BMN: In Afdeling IV of Bumi Flora, right?
BMN: Did you live in the housing they provided there?
W: Yes, in Gunungsad Housing, in the Meunasah section.
BNM: Did you know the workers there?
W: Yes, because they were neighbors. Good people.
BMN: In addition to the usual work, were there any other activities, such as speeches or such things?
W: No, nothing.
BMN: Before the killings took place, what did you hear, what happened, and where were you at the time?
W: It was 8 am. I was feeding my child inside the house. Suddenly, there was a burst of gunfire. Lots of noise, from below and above. Then suddenly men in camouflage appeared. One said, "Out here, out here, all the men, out here. Women, stay inside." My husband went outside. My child asked to go with him. "The daddies are all going," said my child. "Don't, son," said my husband. Then I went out. The men in camouflage said, "Go back inside. If you don't, we'll shoot you." I didn't want to go in. I stood in the doorway. After that, it was, "Come out, come out, all men, come out. Don't try to hide, don't try to run. If you run, we shoot." said one of them. "Line up, all of you. One row, two rows." I was standing there. I saw my husband. He was in the second row. A moment later, they were mowed down.
BNM: You saw this yourself?
BMN: Was your husband in the group of 24 or the group of 6?
W: In the group of 24. In the second row.
BMN: Then what happened?
W: They got shot. Died.
BMN: Then what did you see the gunmen do?
W: They kept shooting.
BMN: How many people, roughly?
W: About thirty. Spread out. There was one man who asked me, "Are there any Javanese here, Bu?" "No, there aren't, Pak," I said. "Oh, so it's all Acehnese here, " he said. "You men, get over there. How come you haven't put up a flag, Bu?" "The Assistant hasn't ordered us to, Pak." "So you have to wait to get orders, do you, Bu? Don't stand in front of the door, get inside."
BNM: You saw the shooting directly, right? How far away were you, how many meters?
W: I was close. I was very close to the men who did the shooting.
BNM: Then, were there others you knew among those who died? Who, for example?
W: They were my neighbors. The same afdeling. Three people survived, because they threw themselves into the blood of other victims, so that it would look like they too were dead.
BNM: When the shooting took place, did it last a long time?
W: Not long.
BNM: Then what happened?
W: One of them took some blood. He smeared his lips with it, then he ran up the hill.
BNM: So they ran away. Did anyone take anything?
W: My husband, he had a wallet with Rp.150,000 in it. Only the wallet was left. The money was gone. I don't know if it was taken or not. I don't know who took it.
BNM: At the time, some of the residents were going to go shopping, is that correct?
W: Yes, to Peurelak.
BNM: You were waiting for the car, to take you to Peurelak?
W: Yes, we were waiting. The car came. The group wearing camouflage came as well. They came at the same time.
BNM: Together? So what happened to the driver?
W: He was shot as well. He was shot while he was lined up.
BNM: After they left, what did you do with your husband?
W: I was on top of the hill. I saw everything. The men in the camouflage all ran to the top of the hill. Not long after they ran, there was the sound of a vehicle. Their vehicle.
BNM: So there was the sound of a vehicle. Did you see it?
W: No. Only afterwards did I dare to look at my husband. I went back and forth. Everyone had been ordered to take off their shirts. I didn't know which one was my husband. Then, I saw he was already dead. This child of mine, I laid him down on the ground. I made sure he was sleeping in the right direction. I gave him a pillow, I covered him with a cloth. Then from morning until 9 o'clock, no one came to help. An ambulance only came at 2:30. From the Red Cross. Finally there was help. But my husband was the last to be removed. Five p.m. from Alue Rambot.
BNM: Then you went to the Puskesmas? [district clinic]
W: I went along.
BNM: In the ambulance?
BNM: What did you see there? How was it?
W: When we got to Bukit Hitam, there was another sweeping by the army. We were caught up in the sweeping. We were asked, "Who did this? What's this vehicle carrying?" "Bodies, Pak." "Bodies? All men out of the car." Some of the men were told to strip. The women were also ordered to get out. I didn't want to get out, because I was carrying my child. Then they asked, "Who did this?" "Don't know, Pak." "How can you not know!" "It was men in camouflage," someone in back of me said. I didn't dare speak. "For sure, this was GAM," one of them said. "This had to be the work of GAM," he said again. "What time did it happen?" "Seven thirty, Pak." "At 7:30, there were no military actions underway. This had to be GAM," the soldier said. After the men and the driver were searched, they said, "Go on, go on. Don't tell anyone that there are soldiers here." We didn't say anything.
BNM: And then?
W: We left for Idi. For the hospital.
BNM: To the Puskesmas, right, Bu?
W: Yes, to the Puskesmas.
BNM: At the Puskesmas, did you see your husband have anything done to him? Was he examined?
W: We got out of the vehicle and were taken to the morgue. I went along. I said, "This is my husband's body. Don't switch it with someone else's." Because you couldn't see it any longer. Then we were questioned. Many times. TNI-Polri came. We were questioned and questioned.
BNM: Then the bodies were kept there overnight, right?
BNM: And the next day?
W: Only in the morning, at 10 a.m., were we able to bring them back to the kampung.
BNM: Which kampung?
W: The kampung of my husband. [gives name of kampung].
BNM: So he was buried there. Then from the Puskesmas he was brought to the cemetery and buried. He was buried on the 10th, right?
BNM: In accordance with which religion?
W: Islam. He was washed. He was wrapped in a shroud. He was prayed over. Only then was he buried.
BNM: Then where did you go?
W: Me? I went to my family's house.
BNM: Did anyone contact you after that? For example, from the plantation, from the police, from the local government, or from any other party?
BNM: Did you get any assistance?
BNM: We heard there was aid in the form of rice and money, given by the local government.
W: There wasn't. Nothing that reached me.
BNM: So after that, there was a fact-finding team that interviewed you?
W: No, there wasn't.
BNM: So this is the first time you've given testimony?
BNM: Is there anything else you'd like to convey, for example about the atmosphere when the killers came? Did you feel frightened or not?
W: I wasn't afraid. I stood in the doorway. I looked toward where my husband had run. He said, go inside. I was determined to go out. My child said, "I want to go, too."
BNM: And now, what's your status? You're in Peurelak now. Do you have a family?
W: I don't have family there. You mean, my own family.
BNM: What about your husband's family?
W: Yes, it's my husband's family. In Peurelak, it's the family of my husband.
BNM: Among the attackers, did they say anything among themselves or not?
W: All I know is that they asked me, "Are there Javanese here? Are there Javanese, Bu? Are there any Javanese here?" "No," I said. ""Oh, so this means it's all Acehnese here. Get over there, get over there." Then they said, "You haven't flown the flag here, Bu." I said, "We haven't had ordered from the Assistant, Pak." "Oh, you have to wait for orders, do you?" I just kept my mouth shut.
BNM: So they were angry...
W: Yes, angry. Their voices were really loud. The one who ordered people to line up, he kept ordering. The ones who came to the house, there were two, two went to each house. It was those two who asked me if there were any Javanese or not.
BNM: What language did they use?
W: Bahasa Indonesia.
BNM: Not Javanese?
BNM: And not Acehnese either?
BNM: How was their Indonesian? Like mine or like an Acehnese's?
W: It was clear, it was fluent.
Sepriady: You said that the attackers came at the same time as the car from Bumi Flora, didn't you?
W: I meant, the car that came to take us shopping arrived at the same time as the aparat.
Sepriady: One after the other?
W: Yes. The shopping car stopped, then there was the sound of shooting. When the shooting started, the men ran. Ran. Not long after there was the sound of a vehicle. Don't know where it came from. Don't know. The point is, there was the sound of a vehicle.
Sepriady: So you didn't see the other vehicle yourself?
W: That's right, I didn't see it. Just heard it.
Sepriady: So as soon as the Bumi Flora truck came, the vehicle of the gunmen entered. You heard the sound but you don't know where it was, right?
W: That's right, I was on the hill.
Sepriady: The thirty people who were gathered together, they were all your neighbors?
W: Yes. Neighbors. One afdeling.
Sepriady: And the driver?
W: He was an employee of Bumi Flora.
Sepriady: He lived there?
W: He lived in Alue Rambot. He was going to pick us up. To take us shopping.
Sepriady: When they spoke with you, did they speak Bahasa Indonesia with an accent like Mr. Marbun here or Acehnese-style Bahasa Indonesia?
W: They spoke very clearly.
Sepriady: Like an Acehnese?
W: No. It was clear, like they were skilled at speaking bahasa Indonesia. When Acehnese speak, I can recognize their accent. These people spoke clearly, loudly.
Sepriady: And how many were there? Twenty, thirty, or how many?
W: About thirty.
Sepriady: You mean, it could be more or less, because you didn't count them.
W: Yes, but the point is, it was around that number.
Sepriady: At the time of the shooting, where were you?
W: In the doorway.
Sepriady: In front of the door. You weren't ordered to go in?
W: I was told to go in. I didn't want to.
Sepriady: There was no action of any kind on their part?
W: No. I stood there. Two men came to the house, and I kept standing. Not long afterwards I heard gunfire, those two soldiers...well, whether they were soldiers or not, I don't know, but the two who were there then ran. They ran as well. Their friends were running, so they did as well.
Sepriady: Did you see any special marks on their shirts?
W: Here, on the sleeve, was written TNI. And their hats, they were covered in dry leaves.
Sepriady: You could see that clearly?
W: Yes, clearly.
Sepriady: So the writing was big?
W: It wasn't big. But it said TNI.
Sepriady: How far were you from the scene?
W: I was standing near the door. The man wasn't far from me.
Sepriady: What were you looking at?
W: I was looking at the men being lined up.
Sepriady: What were their clothes and shoes like?
W: The shoes were about this high, black. The shirts were camouflage.
Sepriady: And their hats?
W: Some had cloth hats. Some had helmets, but they were covered in dry leaves.
BNM: So they weren't the same. They were different, were they?
W: Yes, a mixture of different kinds.
Sepriady: So the hats weren't all the same?
Sepriady: With that many perpetrators, was there any difference in the camouflage, one to another, or not?
W: That, I don't know for sure. All I know is that it was camouflage.
BNM: There wasn't even the slightest difference among them?
W: The design was very small. Dark.
Sepriady: When they came to your house, did you see the camouflage pattern clearly or not? Could you distinguish one pattern from another?
W: It was the same. Both of them wore hats covered in dry leaves.
Sepriady: But there were other kinds of hats, too, weren't there?
Sepriady: How far is the distance from Bumi Flora and the place where you were living to the place where the sweeping at Bukit Hitam took place?
W: It's getting close to Idi, Idi is about two kilometers further.
Sepriady: If you take a car, how long does it take?
W: Fifteen minutes.
Sepriady: Okay, so after the perpetrators did the killing, they ran up the hill. The sound of a vehicle was heard. You don't know what kind? Could you tell whether it was big or small?
W: It was like a Fuso. Big.
Sepriady: Was it one or two vehicles?
W: One. The one we encountered in Bukit Hitam was a 202.
Sepriady: Before this incident happened, two or three days before, did anything happen in this area?
W: Yes. People in Kampung Jambo Rehat can tell you. In PTP IV. Twenty-seven TNI died. That's what the people in the kampung were saying.
Sepriady: Did you see it?
W: No. There were stories. People were talking about it.
Sepriady: In Kampung Jambo Rehat, people are generally from which ethnic group?
W: Our people, Acehnese.
Sepriady: Did you hear any exchange of gunfire?
W: It's far from us. They only told us, yesterday there was a battle, they said. Some TNI died. If the army comes here, give them your KTP and badge, your employment document. Don't run away, the Assistant told us. So we made sure our KTPs and badges were ready.
Sepriady: So the Assistant knows about this incident?
W: He knows.
Sepriady: What's the name of the Assistant?
W: Don't know. The problem is, I haven't been there very long [in Bumi Flora]. He said if the TNI comes, don't run. Just give them your KTP and badge. So we weren't afraid. We'd already been told. But then they ordered people to get together, get together. Line up.
Relation to Victim: Wife of [deleted]
Time and Date of Interview: [deleted]
Investigator: Mohammad Salim
Assistant Investigator: Bustami M.
MS: What can you tell us about the incident?
W: About 7:30, I was sweeping the house. My husband had gone out to visit one of his friends. Then he came back and told me the army had come. They were still up in the hills. Then, my husband stood in our doorway, holding our child. Then we heard the sound of gunfire from several directions. I told my husband not to run. I kept sweeping. then they came, saying, "Don't run, don't run, if you run, we shoot. Get out, get out, line up, line up!" all the while firing their guns to scare us. My husband didn't run. Then, my husband handed our child over to me, intending to go in the house and get dressed, but the soldiers wouldn't let him. I told my husband to go, he didn't need a shirt. the soldier was saying, "Line up, line up together," he said. After all the men were gathered together, one of the soldiers came and stood in front of my house. Pointing at my house, he said, "What's this, Bu, you haven't hung the flag here?" I said, "No, Pak, we haven't been ordered to." "What date do you think it is?" he said. "It's already the 9th, " I said, "but we haven't had orders." Then he asked, "Are there Javanese here?" I said, "There are, but only women." Then he said, "So they haven't been expelled by GAM?" I said, "No." Then he said, "Javanese have to be stupid to mix with Acehnese."
MS: Who said that?
W: The man in the camouflage shirt.
MS: So there were Javanese living there?
MS: What was their occupation?
W: They were neighbors in this complex. That's what he asked, "Are there Javanese here?" Then he left. After he left there was the sound of gunfire after people had been ordered to line up. What I heard was that order to line up. Then they were ordered to take off their shirts. "Take off your shirts," they said to the people who were lined up. After they took off their shirts, the guns went off, shooting people. It was like the sound of rain.
MS: How many people did the shooting?
W: One man.
MS: How many troops were there?
W: Those in the field, who were frightening people, were about fifteen. That's not counting the ones who did the shooting.
MS: So, in addition to that one, there were others?
W: There were others who were standing guard, those who came to the house, it was about fifteen. Only we women weren't allowed outside. If you go outside, we'll shoot, they said. Only after the shooting were we allowed out. "All women, get out, over there," they said.
MS: The one who shot, what kind of clothes was he wearing?
W: A camouflage shirt.
MS: What side was he on, would you guess?
W: If I was going to guess, I'd say he was TNI. From the way he talked. And from his accent.
MS: There are also Acehnese in the army.
W: Yes, but this was clear. The one who came to my house was clearly a Javanese. He was dark-skinned. And because of what he said, his questions about the flag.
MS: At that time, had you raised the flag or not yet?
W: Not yet, because we hadn't yet been ordered to. No one had raised it.
MS: Can you say anything about the one who did the shooting?
W: I didn't know him.
MS: Could you tell his rank?
W: No. How could we see, we were scared to look at him.
Bustami: At the time of the incident, what were you doing?
W: I could see it. I peeped out. The people were lined up by threes.
MS: They didn't ask anything, they didn't ask your husband about any activities?
W: They didn't ask anything.. As soon as they came in, they fired into the air and ordered all the men out. They didn't ask about KTPs. they were ordered to line up, take off their shirts, and then they were immediately shot. There haven't been any armed clashes in this area, it's safe.
MS: After the shooting, what did they do? Did any one engage in beating or kicking?
W: No. After gathering the women together, they thanked us, then begged our pardon because they had killed their husbands.
MS: That's what they said?
W: Yes, that's what they said!
MS: In bahasa Melayu?
W: Yes, bahasa Melayu. It was bahasa Indonesia that they spoke.
MS: Then after they left, what happened to the victims who'd been shot?
W: We each took care of our own husband. But we couldn't lift them, I'm pregnant, and there were some who had vomited blood. We just covered them with cloth.
Bustami: Who took care of the bodies, [Witness No.1]?
W: Yes, she took care of them. It was also she who reported what happened.
MS: They didn't take anything?
W: No. And they didn't ask any questions. After they shot, they left.
MS: They didn't take anything, yet they apologized for shooting your husband?
W: Yes, they just left. After the shooting. Their commander gave a signal by clapping his hands and inviting his friends to leave. "Let's go, be quick!" he said. One of them, after shooting, gathered up the blood and then drank it. After that, there was the sound of a vehicle.
MS: Their vehicle?
MS: That morning you had planned to go to Peurelak? Had the car come?
W: Yes. As soon as the car came, they also came. The driver in fact was just about to come into my house. I said, go over there, they're summoning people. But as soon as he got there, they fired in his direction.
Bustami: How many shootings were there?
W: Two places. One up above, in the house, and one below, where there were 25 corpses.
MS: After the army left, what kind of report was there to the head office of the Afdeling?
W: [Witness No.1] was the one who left for Alue Rambot with two friends whose husbands had also been shot. It was only after they returned that the bodies were taken to the Puskesmas in Idi. the main thing is, they only arrived at the Puskesmas around 14:30. We were the last to be taken.
MS: How many bodies were taken in the first round?
W: About 10 or 11 in an ambulance. After that, a truck came specifically to take away the wounded.
MS: So you can't think of any reasons why those people were shot? Was it because they wanted to attack a particular group or because they wanted to take valuables?
W: There was no reason. There was nothing in that place. People worked there, they rarely went home to their kampung. How could there be money there? The fact is, they came suddenly, people were summoned, then they were shot. There was no searching of houses. All the men were ordered outside.
MS: Who were the perpetrators?
W: If you ask me, TNI.
MS: On what basis?
W: Like I said before. The language they used was bahasa Indonesia. We know the accents, if they're Acehnese, we'd know. It's not thinkable that Acehnese would do this to the people here.
MS: Do you know if before this incident, there was anything that happened, for example, among the people who were murdered?
W: There was nothing. It's safe here. But they brought with them a man who wore an ordinary shirt, he had a mask, a checked shirt, wore a hat.
MS: Try to remember anything else that would clarify who the perpetrators were. Did you see any stripes (to signify rank?)
W: I saw nameplates on their chests, but I couldn't read them clearly.
MS: In an area near the location, did you ever hear of any incident involving an attack on TNI posts?
W: Our place is safe. If there was anything, we'd go home, because we'd already been paid. At the time we were getting close to the area of Bukit Hitam, near Idi, when we were going to the Puskesmas to transport the bodies, around 17:30, we were stopped by TNI in the road. They ordered to men to get down, told them to take off their shirts, left them in their underwear. Some of them were kicked. Some of them were villagers who came with us to deliver the bodies. All of their KTPs were taken. Before we were allowed to go, they said, "We're TNI, we're going to help our friends, Acehnese, who were killed." We said, "Yes, Pak." What else could we say.
MS: Now what would you like to do, Bu?
W: Whatever way it can happen, Pak, I want this horrible thing that happened to my husband to be resolved. Don't let it be like those cases in Ambon. Don't just bury him and let it go, before it's resolved.
MS: That's just it, we can resolve it if we can get a clarification of who did it. That's still not clear. If it was a camouflage shirt, anyone can wear a camouflage shit. Speaking of the shirts, the camouflage shirts, there were about 60 people all together?
W: Around that.
MS: And their language, it was bahasa Indonesia? They couldn't speak Acehnese?
W: No, they couldn't.
MS: So they weren't Acehnese?
MS: Just be patient. Just pray that everything will be fine. Is there anything else you'd like to be asked?
ATTACHMENT 10: Second Group of Witnesses
Occupation: Foreman at Bumi Flora
Place of Interview: [deleted]
Date and time of Interview: [deleted]
Investigator: B.N. Marbun
Assistant Investigator: Sepriady Utama
BNM: We're from Komnas HAM and want to collect facts about the incident at Bumi Flora. This will be a confidential meeting. Whatever you say will not be publicized. Okay, let's start. What's your name and what's your last address?
W: [gives name and address]
BMN: At the time of the incident, you were working in Bumi Flora?
BNM: For how long?
W: 1 year and 6 months.
BNM: Which afdeling were you in?
W: Afdeling IV.
BNM: How many workers were there altogether there?
W: Three foremen, 16 workers per foreman.
BNM: How many workers lived in Afdeling IV?
W: Sixteen were with me. Fifteen were with Pak Thalib. Fifteen with another of the foremen.
BNM: Where were you exactly? Here's a sketch of the area.
W: I lived in one of the lower houses.
BNM: What happened?
W: When the perpetrators came, we were about to go shopping in Peurelak.
BNM: When did they come?
W: Thursday, August 9, 7:30.
BNM: What were their orders?
W: Outside, outside, gather together. They ordered us to take off our shirts.
BNM: Who were you with?
W: With 24 people.
BNM: were there any other orders? Did they ask to see KTPs [kartu tanda penduduk, identity card]?
BNM: How many people entered the house?
BNM: How many perpetrators?
W: Don't know. When I went out of the house, there were already troops there.
BNM: Did you see any ranks?
W: Don't know. Only that they were wearing camouflage shirts.
BNM: Go on, that morning, the 9th, what happened. What time did these strangers arrive?
W: About 8 am.
BNM: You said you were about to go shopping, is that right?
W: The car had already come for us. We planned to go shopping in Peurelak.
BNM: So they came very suddenly. From which direction?
W: I didn't see very clearly. Because I had already heard shooting.
BNM: Lots of shooting?
W: Not that much.
BNM: How many times, five times, three times?
W: I don't know how many. All I know is that it came from above, there were people shooting from above. Because that's where the sound was coming from.
BNM: Where were you then?
W: Still in the house.
BNM: And then?
W: That man. He ordered us all out.
BNM: Where did you get hit?
W: Here, this part.
BNM: At the time you were still in the house. Then suddenly there was gunfire. Then what happened?
W: We were all ordered to go outside.
BNM: How so?
W: "Get out! Get out!" Then after that we were ordered to gather together. Then to take off our shirts, then to get together. After we were all together, we were ordered to squat down. Then they shot us.
BNM: Where were you then? Together with the others?
BNM: In the group below. The one with 24 people, the big one, right?
W: Yes, the big group.
BNM: Then what happened? You were ordered to get together, take off your shirts, and then you were directly shot?
W: Shot directly.
BNM: Was there an order, any other words that they said?
W: As far as I heard, none. They didn't ask to see our KTPs.
BNM: Did any one ask you what ethnic group you belonged to?
W: I didn't hear anything, don't know about my friends, but I didn't hear anything.
BNM: How many people came to your house?
W: One man came inside.
BNM: What about outside?
W: Outside, there were lots.
BNM: If there was one person in the barracks, down here, how many people do you guess were involved in the attack?
W: There were four men in front of us. Around the house there were lots.
BNM: Twenty, thirty?
W: Around that. Because went we went out of the house, men were already standing guard.
BNM: Standing guard, eh?
W: Standing guard.
BNM: What were they wearing?
W: Camouflage clothes.
BNM: What kind of shoes?
W: I didn't see. All I saw was that they were black.
BNM: Not boots?
W: That's not clear. All I remember is the color.
BNM: What about rank insignia?
W: I didn't have the chance to see. Because we were ordered out. When I came out of the house, I was already afraid.
BNM: So you were already afraid, were you?
BNM: Now what did they look like, were they big or small?
W: The main thing is that they were terrifying. We didn't dare look at them. We were ordered to keep our heads lowered.
BNM: Then they directly threatened you.
BNM: What about their weapons?
W: Long ones.
W: yes, rifles.
BNM: Were they all in uniform or did some wear other clothes?
W: The ones in front of me wore camouflage.
BNM: Camouflage. That was it, was it? They all had camouflage. They ordered you to line up. Ordered you to squat. Then what?
W: Shot us at once.
BNM: At once, eh? How many people did the shooting?
W: I didn't see, because there were many voices. Because I was already looking down, I didn't see. I don't know if we were shot from behind or in front. I don't know. When the firing started, I lost consciousness.
BNM: Go on. You were in the middle or in front?
W: In the middle.
BNM: Where were you shot?
W: In the back. The bullet may be lodged there. My foot was hit by shrapnel.
BNM: So it's a miracle you're alive, isn't it?
W: Looks like I've got a long way to go.
BNM: After the shooting, how long did they stay?
W: I don't know, I wasn't conscious.
BNM: So you didn't see any more.
W: I wasn't that badly wounded, but I was unconscious, and didn't sense anything any longer.
BNM: So you don't know when they left?
BNM: So you also didn't see your friends who had died?
W: No, only when I came to, the bodies were still there. The men had gone.
BNM: They'd gone home?
W: I don't know where they went.
BNM: So among the group of 24, how many died?
W: As to how many people died, I don't know. I didn't count.
BNM: How many are still alive?
W: As far as I know, [name deleted] was taken to Medan, [names four others].
BNM: They were all one barracks with you, right? In Afdeling IV?
W: Yes. And there was [name deleted], too. How many is that?
W: So with myself, that's seven.
BNM: So when you came to and saw the bodies, then what?
W: I cried, because my younger brother had been killed.
BNM: What was his name?
BNM: He's in God's hands now. Then what, did you see someone come to help?
W: Someone was covering the bodies with cloth. I don't know whom.
BNM: What time did help come for you?
W: About 14:00.
BNM: So for six hours, you had no help whatsoever?
BNM: So you just lay there?
W: I ran away. As soon as I came to and so the bodies piled u, I ran to the back of the house because I couldn't look.
BNM. Like that, was it? You were in back of the house, how so?
W: Under a rubber tree.
BNM: Then what?
W: Then I went out, when help came.
BNM: So your wound was bleeding the whole time?
W: Yes, I bound it with cloth.
BNM: Then where were you taken?
W: Directly here, to Langsa Hospital.
BNM: Did you stop in Idi?
W: In Idi, we just got an infusion.
BNM: What did they use to take you out of the plantation?
W: I used a Bumi Flora car.
BNM: Did you meet anyone? Have a conversation?
BNM: Do you know what time it was when you reached Langsa?
W: No. It was a blur. I didn't know anyone.
BNM: Let's go back to Bumi Flora. Before the 9th, was there anything strange? Were there meetings, campaigns, mass movements?
W: Not as far as I know.
BNM: Was there news from the other afdelings, murders or robberies?
BNM: Are there movements like PPP, PAN, or PDI there?
BNM: And most people there are Acehnese?
W: In Afdeling IV, indeed, it's Acehnese.
BNM: In the week before, were there any threats?
BNM: That something would happen?
BNM: So it was quiet and orderly. And you were going to go shopping?
BNM: So the people at Bumi Flora sent a car to take you shopping.
W: Yes, we wanted to go shopping in Peurelak.
BNM: You didn't see the car?
W No. But the driver, Nasrudin, is now in Medan hospital.
BNM: Did you see it?
W: Not the car, but I heard it. Nasruddin went straight to the pondok.
BNM: When the attackers left, did you hear the sounds of vehicles or motorcycles?
BNM: So before the incident, everything was quiet. Do you know what kind of rifles they were carrying?
W: No. I just saw that they were long and black.
BNM: They fired fast, didn't they?
BNM: So they were machine guns. I think that's enough for now. I've asked you about the incident, and about what happened before and after. Okay, if I've left anything out, now Sepriady can ask a few short questions.
Sepriady: When you were gathered together with the 24, then suddenly they opened fire, was it from close range?
W: Yes, close.
S: How close?
W: About three meters away.
S: So you saw it.
W: No. I just heard the sound, then collapsed.
S: So how do you know it was three meters away?
W: When we were ordered to squat, I saw them.
S: Now, about the uniforms they were wearing. There was a man who came to your house. He had a camouflage shirt. Now, was the camouflage pattern on his shirt the same as on the armed men gathered around him?
W: Yes, the same.
S: Are you sure?
W: What I saw was the same. It was the ranks I didn't see.
S: Did they wear hats?
W: I didn't see.
S: What about the one who came to your house?
W: I didn't see his face. I was frightened.
S: When the perpetrators ordered you out, what language did they use?
W: Bahasa Indonesia.
S: What accent, Acehnese, Sumatran?
W: I didn't notice.
BNM: They didn't say much?
S: So you can't be sure?
S: Did they speak among themselves?
W: No, they didn't speak much.
S: When you were gathered together, there weren't any other statements, or insults?
W: Not as far as I heard.
S: Before the incident, were there certain groups that frequently came here, or maybe passed through?
S: No official patrols either?
S: So this is truly a safe area?
BNM: I think we've got enough information from you. Thank you for your participation in helping us to get at the truth.
Witness No. 5
MS: Have you worked at Bumi Flora for a long time?
W: Just one year.
MS: Can you tell us about the incident on August 9?
W: It happened on Thursday. Early in the morning, just as we woke up, they came, around 7 am. Then we were ordered to line up, then we were shot. As soon as I went down, I got shot.
MS: In the place where you were gathered together, how many rows were you ordered to make?
W: We were shot, then I wasn't conscious any longer.
MS: You were shot just like that, without any accusations whatsoever? What language did the armed group use?
W: They spoke in bahasa Indonesia. They asked, "You're Acehnese?" There was no accusation at all.
MS: The gunmen. Do you know who they were?
W: TNI. They wore camouflage shirts.
MS: How do you know that?
W: They wore camouflage shirts, they had rank insignia, they had round hats with rope.
MS: Were there any questions about wrongdoing?
W: None. They only asked, "Who are you? Acehnese, right?" Then we were ordered to line up.
MS: How many armed men were there?
W: Thirty, more or less.
MS: How many shot you?
W: Don't know.
MS: How were you shot?
W: Mowed down.
MS: How did you escape?
W: I don't know. I felt like the world was spinning around me. When I came to, I realized I was here. I came to about 2 pm.
MS: Did you know about your friends?
W: No, I came to in the hospital.
MS: What did they say?
W: As I recall, they spoke in Indonesian, ordered us to line up.
MS: But you said the perpetrators were TNI, why? Because they had weapons, or some other reason?
W: No, I knew when they came. Before the incident, we knew who they were.
Bustami: You recognized someone in the group?
W: Oh, I don't know, how could I know, I had only been working there a year.
MS: You don't know that besides TNI, there are also other forces that wear camouflage uniforms?
W: No. What I'm saying here, it's not that difficult, Pak. I'm telling the truth, Pak. If there's something like this, I'll tell the truth. I'm not trying to be difficult, Pak.
Bustami: So you were only working, hadn't done anything wrong? So why do you think you experienced this?
W: That's what I don't know. There'd been nothing, then, suddenly, they showed up. If we'd known they were coming, we could have run. We were just quietly sitting in our homes.
Bustami: Did you know that maybe there'd been soldiers shot dead before this? Did you know that there were soldiers who had died?
W: No. How would we know inside the plantation, we're like fish in a fish trap. Fish in a fish trap, you know, Pak? We were just going around and around inside.
Bustami: Before this, had the army ever come up to your dormitory?
W: Never, Pak.
Witness No. 6
MS: Why are you being treated here?
W: I was shot.
MS: Why were you shot, when it was mostly men who were shot?
W: No idea. When I was shot, I don't know if it was deliberate or not, I don't know, the point is that when my brother was shot inside the house, I got hit.
MS: Oh, so your brother was shot where?
W: Inside the house.
MS: What was his name?
W: [name given]
MS: You weren't ordered to go out?
W: No. When they ordered the men out, my brother couldn't, because his leg was sore. He just sat on the bale-bale in the house. In the living room.
MS: How old was he?
W: 25 years old.
W: The army didn't come in. They stood at the edge of the door and shot from there.
MS: And then?
W: And then my child, whom I was carrying in a shoulder sling, got hit.
MS: What was his name?
W: His real name is Khairuddin. According to the FP-HAM data, it's Yusuf. He was two and a half years old.
MS: And now he's recovered?
W: He died.
Bustami: Your brother who was shot wasn't lined up, was he?
W: No, it was my husband who died in the line-up.
Bustami: So your husband died, too. What as his name, how old was he?
W: [gives name]. He was about 35 years old.
MS: He was also shot?
W: Yes, shot, don't know if it was deliberate or not, I didn't see.
MS: So then?
W: That's all, my child was hit in the stomach. I went to look for a friend outside but because the shooting had started, I was ordered back inside. But it wasn't me they said that to, it was to a friend. I didn't hear. I went back in toward the back of the house together with my younger brother. The important thing is that my brother and child were shot before my eyes. I didn't see my husband [get shot].
Bustami: Was your husband shot in the rows of people lined up outside?
W: I don't know, I didn't see.
MS: So there were armed men who came to your house. They saw your brother, they shot. You got hit, too?
W: Yes, I was hit, too.
MS: And your child?
W: He as well. I was carrying him. See, here's where I got it, in the side. My elbow was hit, then it went into the stomach of my child. I was sitting beside my brother.
Bustami: How many times did they fire inside your house?
W: I don't know. A lot. There were two wounds on my child's body, but the size of the hole was twice as large as my own here.
MS: How do you know?
W: I saw it on my child. I didn't lose consciousness. When my child was hit, I laid him down on my lap. Two minutes later, he was dead.
Bustami: After that, what did you do?
W: Nothing. I had no strength left.
Bustami: Did you stay in the house?
W: Friends brought me down to be with other friends.
MS: Oh, so your house is toward the top?
W: It's on the hill, the furthest away.
Bustami: So the location of your house isn't the same as the office, near where the men were lined up?
W: No. My husband's body was near the wooden platform in front of the house. There were five people there.
Bustami: What five people?
W: The five who died.
MS: Oh, so there were five who died?
W: Six, with my brother in the house. Seven with my child. Wait a moment, let me try to remember their names: Indrawan, Nasir Kaoy, Abdullah, Yunus, Ridwan.
MS: When the army came, what did they ask?
W: Nothing, they didn't ask me anything. When they shot my brother, they didn't ask him anything.
MS: Just in general, what kinds of things did your husband and his friends do? Did they have some kind of special meeting?
W: No. On the day it happened, we'd been paid on the 8th, our plan was to go to Peurelak on the 9th. We were getting ready to go, getting dressed. We were packing things in the house. The car to take us had already arrived. The person who brought the car also died, as well as the conductor he brought from Medan. When I came out of the bathroom, I saw that the men in camouflage shirts were already there.
MS: So you were planning to go the store?
W: I was planning to go to Peurelak. Everyone in the Afdeling went to market once a month.
MS: But there was no meeting of men that had taken place the day before?
W: No, there wasn't.
MS: Did you hear of soldiers having been shot a few days earlier?
W: No, I never heard anything, because our house was the furthest away.
Bustami: How many armed men went to your house?
W: What I remember seeing before I was shot was five people. Four of them wore camouflage. One of them didn't, he just wore a regular shirt, but he had a hat.
MS: Regular shirt but wore a hat?
W: Black-checked shirt, black pants, black hat with wool thread. You couldn't see his mouth.
Bustami: Is your house even further up the hill than [Witness No.1]?
W: Her house is by the edge of the road, the first you run into, while mine's the furthest up.
MS: So the armed men didn't say a word?
W: No. The ones in front of me didn't say anything. As for the ones outside, I don't know. All I know about what went on outside is that when I was brought outside by my friends, my husband was already dead.
MS: If you take the men's faces and clothes, where do you think they were from?
W: I don't know. In our place, we'd worked for a year and never had had any trouble. In other Afdelings, I heard the army was often coming up for operations. But in our Afdeling, never. I don't know about what went on before we moved here.
Bustami: So the army had gone up to some of the other Afdelings but never to yours. Do you know why?
W: I don't know. We heard that this had happened a lot in other Afdelings.
Bustami: But you don't know why the army hadn't come up here?
W: No. We were ready, especially the men, who had their ID cards ready. Because the Assistant of the Afdeling had come up to let us know that we shouldn't run away.
Bustami: Oh. so the Assistant had come?
W: Yes, but it was a long time ago. He didn't know anything about this incident. He only knew after the women reported it.
MS: What time did they come and how many were there?
W: They came about 7:30 or 8:00. I saw there were five people, four wearing camouflage, one wearing a hat.
MS: How many people were there below?
W: I don't know.
MS: After the shooting, what else did they do? Did they take anything?
W: As far as I could see, no.
MS: So in your opinion, who were the perpetrators?
W: I don't know who they were. I was very busy. Besides me, my child, my husband, and my brother were hit, so I didn't notice anything.
Bustami: You were in the house, right? You never had a chance, for example, to look outside?
W: I didn't dare.
MS: At that time, were you already dressed?
W: Not yet. I had just bathed and was wearing my brother's shirt while I was sitting down.
MS: What time were you brought to the hospital? And what time did you leave?
W: I didn't see what time it was. Maybe about 5 p.m. or 4 p.m. I don't know when I was taken.
MS: So your husband's body stayed there while you were taken away?
W: I went together with my child's body. But they kept it in Puskesmas Idi, waiting for the other family members to arrive.
MS: So the family already knew of the incident, how could that be?
W: We'd told them. The father and his other child had been left behind.
MS: How could you get the news out?
W: The younger brother of my brother-in-law said don't bring the body of this child home to the kampung, because his father is still there (at the site of the incident).
MS: You come from Panton Labu, did the younger brother of your brother-in-law leave from Panton Labu?
W: No, in fact he lives and works at the plantation. He said don't bring the child back first, because his uncle and father are still in the Afdeling, wait to bring them all together.
MS: So you were brought by yourself to the Langsa hospital?
Bustami: So when you were shot, they didn't utter a word?
W: No, when they shot, the only voice was that of the weapons. That's what I saw. That's the explanation I've given to the other offices.
ATTACHMENT 11: Notes on the Meeting with the East Aceh Police Chief Gagoek Sumartono
Date: Sunday, 26 August 2001
Place: East Aceh Police Command in Langsa
Present: B.N. Marbun, Mohammad Salim, Andi N. Nurusman, Sepryadi Utama, Bustami Mahyiddin
The meeting with the police chief was designed to obtain information about the handling of the Bumi Flora case by the East Aceh police as well as to request to see the interrogation depositions taken from the witnesses. The main points of the meeting were as follows:
1. The police explained that the location of the incident was in a GAM-controlled area.
2. That not long before the incident, the owners of PT Bumi Flora had been threatened by GAM.
3. That in the case of Bumi Flora, the police had worked as professionally as possible and were not going to accuse any one of being the perpetrator unless there was clear evidence.
4. That the police had examined several eyewitnesses, but with respect to the request from Komnas-HAM's observation team to look at the interrogation depositions, the police could not turn them over because the request would have to be studied in accordance with existing law.
5. The police for the moment would only be able to turn over a sketch of the crime scene.
6. Regarding the question from the observation team about an eyewitness detained by the East Aceh police, the police strongly denied that this was true.
7. Regarding the abduction of a member of the district council [DPRD] Aceh Timor who was also a member of the fact-finding team, Ghazali Usman, on 20 August 2001 while en route from Idi Rayeuk to Langsa, the police explained that the perpetrator was GAM with the motive of extortion. First, they asked half a billion rupiah. Now it was down to Rp.30 million. The head of the observation team, B.N. Marbun asked the police chief to continue his cooperation and also asked the local government and Muspida to dissolve the fact-finding team set up by the local government because it was dangerous and not professional.
Note: On the basis of the police chief's explanation that the whereabouts of the witness/victim, Abdul Wahab, was not known and that he was not in KODIM headquarters/Subdenpom, the head of the team decided that a visit to the KODIM headquarters would not be undertaken.
Place of Interview: [deleted]
Investigators: Mohammad Salim and B.N. Marbun
Assistant Investigators: Andi N. Nurusman and Sepriyadi Utama
Notetaker: Bustami M.
MS: Can you tell us about the incident?
W: We were ordered to gather together, then we were all shot.
Note: The interview could not be continued because the victim was still so weak.
Place of Interview: Malahayati Hospital, Medan
Investigators: Mohammad Salim and B.N. Marbun
Assistant Investigators: Andi N. Nurusman and Sepriyadi Utama
Notetaker: Bustami M.
MS: What do you know about what happened on Thursday, August 9?
W: At 8:00 a group arrived. All the men were ordered to gather together and line up at a designated place. Then they shot all of them.
MS: Where were you hit?
W: In my stomach [showing the wound].
MS: Why did they shoot?
W: I don't know.
MS: What did the group order you to do, did they inspect your KTPs?
W: No, they only ordered us to gather, line up, then shot us.
MS: Did you see who the perpetrators were?
W: I didn't see. I was in the back.
Sepriady: What language did they use?
Occupation: Driver for Bumi Flora
Place of Interview: [deleted]
Investigators: Mohammad Salim and B.N. Marbun
Assistant Investigators: Andi N. Nurusman and Sepriyadi Utama
Notetaker: Bustami M.
MS: So you too were shot. Where?
W: I'd just gotten out of the car, then was shot in the leg. I walked a few steps, then was shot in the other leg.
Sepriady: After that, what do you remember?
W: I don't remember anything more, I fainted. When I came to, I saw the blood on my waist. Maybe I got hit after I fainted.
Sepriady: Where were you planning to go then?
W: I was going to pick up the workers to go shopping. Before that I was going to the house of Foreman I.
Sepriady: What's the name of Foreman I?
W: Syamsul Basri. He died, too.
BNM: So you just got out of the car and were shot. Did you happen to see who did it?
W: I didn't see. I just got out of the car and was immediately shot in my leg. I'd gone another 100 meters when my other leg was shot. After that, I don't remember any more.
1) Date of interview: [deleted]
Occupation: Foreman at PT Bumi Flora
[Translator's note: The two interviews that follow are statements apparently obtained from a nongovernmental organization that conducted interviews independently. These were not Komnas HAM interviews]
On August 9, Thursday, at 8 in the morning, security forces wearing camouflage uniforms, camouflage hats, black shoes, and carrying M-16s entered [the site] from behind the house of the foreman. They ordered all the men outside. They gathered the men together in two places, one in front of the foreman's house and one in front of the house of the workers, and ordered everyone to line up and squat down. In front of the foreman's house there were 35 people in four rows. One man asked, "How many heads of household here?" Foreman 1 answered, "More than 40." He said, "They're all finished," and opened fire. One man did the shooting. One other person shot at the house. I was in the row furthest to the back. I got sprayed with the blood and contents of the bodies of my friends, it got on my pants. I felt like I too had been shot and fainted. After the shooting they left. I was startled to hear the voices of women crying.
I ran between the rubber trees and stayed there for about an hour. Only then did I go down to Alue Rabut and reported to my superior that workers had been shot. He ordered me to report to Medan. I immediately did so. They sent an ambulance to pick up the bodies. There were 30 bodies. Of 35 people [those who had been shot in front of the house of the foreman-ed.], 24 died. In front of the workers' house, 6 people died. There were about 4 security forces. The others were walking around. It was about 6 men who ordered the men to gather together. All of them died, including a child who was about two. An ambulance took 30 bodies and brought them to Idi. I didn't go with it. I stayed in Alue Rambut. In terms of the number who died, I first thought it was 31. But one of those survived, so it ended up being 30.
At 8 am on Friday (10/8) I had just gone to Idi on a motorcycle. In the Idi hospital, there were only bodies. Seven damaged people [badly wounded - ed.] were taken to Langsa Hospital. I was in Idi by 9 am and went directly to Langsa Hospital on my motorcycle. I saw [the wife of the witness] there who had been shot in the hand. Then I took our three children to the kampung. Then I went back to Langsa.
On 14 August, the plantation assistant called me in Langsa and ordered me to return to Idi to give a deposition to a Kopassus [komando pasukan khusus, army special forces] officer in Idi. There were about 20 Kopassus men there. They asked for a description of events surrounding the massacre in Bumi Flora. They asked who the perpetrators were. I said, "They wore camouflage shirts, camouflage hats, black shoes, and carried M-16s." They wrote down what I said. They wrote my name and when everything was prepared, I signed it. Kopassus took my KTP. Only then was I allowed to leave and told to go home. But because 15 August was the start of a strike, I couldn't go home. So I asked for a letter of explanation from Bapak Kopassus so that I would not be arrested in the street.
On 15 August, I went back to Langsa. On the 16th, the head of Kopassus for Langsa met me in the Langsa Hospital. I was there taking care of the seven wounded. I was met there and brought to the Kopassus place. Then they took me from there to the KODIM. After meeting with the head of KODIM, I was brought to the pendopo (Bupati's residence). They didn't ask me anything, just wanted to meet me. The Bupati was not even there. It was his deputy who was there. At the Bupati's house, I rested, ate, then was ordered to go back to the Kopassus office. Only after that could I go back to Langsa Hospital.
On the evening of the 18th, I was picked up again by Bapak Kopassus together with a friend. He had also been shot at but had not been hit. I don't know where he is now. We were picked up and brought to the military office. There we were asked for an explanation of the incident at Bumi Flora. They asked many questions. There were some who accused GAM of ordering me to the military office but in fact it was Kopassus who brought me there. I answered questions from 10 at night until 3 a.m. At 4 a.m., I was released. I told the military Bapak there, "I want to meet my older brother. He's sick. I want to go home." But the military Bapak ordered me to come again at 7 a.m., not to the office but to his house. At 5 a.m. on the 19th, I took a minibus to Simpang and on the 20th, I went home to my kampung.
I still feel afraid. Sad, can't sleep, can't eat, because I remember...
2) Date of interview: [deleted]
My husband was a worker at the rubber plantation PT Bumi Flora.
At 6 a.m., I heard a dog barking. At 8 a.m., when I was about to leave for the market, military wearing camouflage shirts with black berets or other cloth hats came to my house. They didn't speak Acehnese. The ones I could see numbered about ten; I don't know about the others. I didn't recognize any of them. The military who came weren't the BKO [bawah kendali operasi, troop reinforcements sent in from outside the territorial commands] stationed around Bumi Flora, but were specially for this operation. They asked, "Are these people Acehnese or Javanese"? I said, "Acehnese." The military just nodded, didn't say anything. In that area, there are no Javanese men, although there are Javanese women. And the ones they ordered to gather together were all men. The women were not allowed to go outside.
The men were ordered to line up. Two minutes after my husband went out of the house, I heard the sound of gunfire. I only heard one weapon being fired [that is, the person who shot the men was one soldier - ed.] I thought the military was shooting in the air. But when I went out, the men were scattered on the ground. In three minutes, the massacre was over. I saw 21 dead. There was a woman and child hit, too. One father was carrying his child because he thought he wouldn't be touched if he had a small child with him. The child was hit, too. The wife wanted to take the child. She got hit. We weren't able to take the bodies because we were afraid the military would return. Only at 2 pm did the Indonesian Red Cross ambulance come to evacuate the bodies. The military left and then I got in the ambulance and took the body of my husband back to the kampung to be buried. My child wasn't wearing anything, and I didn't have the chance to get even a shirt from the house.
The houses in the location of the massacre, about 24 of them, have been burned. The houses downhill from the incident haven't been burned. Those houses are permanent, the ones above have bamboo walls.
It was the military who carried out the massacre, it's not possible it was GAM.
3 In one such case, Ahmad Rizal, aged fifteen, was sentenced on January 26, 2002 by the Banda Aceh district court to three and a half months on charges of illegal possession of weapons. He had been detained in Banda Aceh prison since November 2001 together with adults.
4 The Megawati government's lack of interest in accountability has been particularly evident in the way it has handled domestic and international demands to bring those responsible for the 1999 violence in East Timor to justice. To prosecute these cases, the government had to establish an ad hoc tribunal, under the terms of Law No.26. President Abdurrahman Wahid, who preceded Megawati as president, delayed in issuing the presidential decision that would allow the tribunal to be established. When he finally did, the decision restricted the tribunal to addressing cases that occurred after the referendum on August 30, 1999, whereas in fact, serious human rights crimes had taken place earlier. President Megawati, in one of her first acts as president, issued a new presidential decision to broaden the mandate of the court, but the revised decision was equally flawed and sloppily drafted, in a way that will facilitate legal challenges. The man President Megawati chose as her attorney general, M.A. Rahman, was responsible for failing to move forward with preparing indictments against a list of suspects established by a Commission of Inquiry; at the time, he was the prosecutor responsible for human rights crimes under President Wahid's attorney general, Marzuki Darusman. Judges to serve on the ad hoc tribunal were only appointed in late January 2002 and were by and large unqualified or in some cases, inappropriate for a human rights court because of past links to military officers. Trials were expected to begin in March 2002.
11 Human Rights Watch interviews, Banda Aceh, January 21 and 25, 2002. Two survivors reportedly made subsequent statements suggesting GAM was responsible, but both had been held in government custody, and neither was interviewed by the Komnas team. The team did ask about one of the two, who was reported at the time to be in the custody of the district military command, but the commander denied knowing anything about him, and the Komnas team dropped the matter.
14 Ian Martin, Self-Determination in East Timor: The United Nations, the Ballot, and International Intervention, International Peace Academy Occasional Paper Series, p.70. Martin does not refer to the Komnas HAM representatives by name.
15 Human Rights Watch interviews, Jakarta and Banda Aceh, August 2001. The local police in Aceh and the Attorney-General's office in Jakarta argued that if the charges against the men in question were changed from murder to serious human rights crimes, after they were already detained, they would have to be released while evidence to support the new charges was gathered. Komnas HAM was divided, with several of the commissioners arguing that the police argument was flawed and the RATA case was too important to be treated as an ordinary homicide. B.N. Marbun and Salim supported the police argument.
20 The TNI death toll from this attack was almost certainly not the dozens reported by SIRA or initial press reports suggested. Human Rights Watch talked to a well-connected individual in Banda Aceh in August, not an eyewitness, who said his army sources confirmed the clash but at the most, one or two soldiers had fallen. A GAM source told Human Rights Watch in January 2002 that GAM fighters do not stay around after an attack to count the dead, they can only estimate how many people fell.
21 For example, Indonesian Army Infantry Battalion 203 had a post inside the grounds of PT Bumi Flora, about three kilometers from the site of several multiple graves containing victims of an extrajudicial execution that occurred on August 18, 2001. The victims were young men, aged thirteen to twenty-six. A human rights NGO documented the circumstances under which the men and boys were taken away from a coffee shop in Baro Village, Idi Tunong, East Aceh after giving a pro-independence salute to a group of armed men. The men then asked to see the identity cards of the group, forced them to strip, burned the clothes and identity cards, then took the victims away. The subdistrict army and police denied any involvement in the killings. Observation Report, Attachment 18, and Human Rights Watch interviews, Banda Aceh, January 21, 2002.
25 Twenty-four soldiers were convicted in May 2000 of the murder in July 1999 of a religious leader named Teungku Bantaqiah and more than fifty of his students and followers. See Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, "Indonesia: Aceh Trial – Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch Call for Full Accountability," New York and London, May 17, 2000.
28 Human Rights Watch interviewed a woman whose house had been raided on January 12, 2001 by Ampon Thaib, an associate named Ramadan, and four operatives who identified themselves as intelligence operatives for the district military command (KODIM).