AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL USA
Janurary 28, 2008
Suharto leaves violent legacy
Ex-General Suharto of Indonesia died quietly in bed at age 86, unlike up to a million Indonesians his loyalists had killed after taking power in a coup, and at least a hundred thousand killed in East Timor. Suharto was a brutal dictator, and his death does not end his violent legacy.
After Suharto resigned in disgrace in 1998, attempts to charge him for his crimes proved futile and charges were dropped. Promises by Indonesia's current President to reform the military remain mostly unfulfilled and most perpetrators of human rights violations during Suharto's regime continue to enjoy impunity.
Amnesty International is still concerned about reports of human rights violations in different parts of the country including in Papua, where there have been reports of torture and extra-judicial executions by government forces since the fall of Suharto. Peaceful supporters of independence have been imprisoned and church and community leaders have recently been threatened by members of the military. Two Papuans, whom Amnesty International believes are prisoners of conscience, were given long prison sentences for non-violent expression of their beliefs.
Amnesty International USA is particularly concerned by United States support of Indonesia's military (TNI). In November 2006, Congress defined restrictions on Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and export of "lethal" military equipment to Indonesia until there was accountability by TNI, especially their militias for killings and violence following East Timor's 1999 vote for independence. Two days after the bill became law, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, citing the war on terror, issued a waiver removing these restrictions.