NAM and ASEAN should send fact-finding missions to Aceh to investigate serious allegations of crimes against humanity by the Indonesian military in the massacre of civilians in the four-day resumed Aceh war
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Friday): The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and ASEAN should send fact-finding missions to Aceh to investigate allegations of crimes against humanity by the Indonesian military in the massacre of civilians in the four-day resumed Aceh war.
Very serious allegations of the massacre of civilians during their raids against separatist guerrillas in the Aceh province – including 18 killings, which included the reported shooting at point-blank range of two 12-year-old boys during dawn raids in four villages in Bireuen district, viz Cot Raboe, Cot Bate, Pata Mamplam and Pulo Naleng – have been made against the Indonesian forces and must be thoroughly investigated by international monitors.
ASEAN and NAM must be in the forefront to raise the concerns of the international community as to whether there is a repeat of the scorched-earth tactics used by the Indonesian military during East Timor’s bloody emancipation in 1999 which left about 1,5000 dead or the military repression of Aceh for a quarter of a century which killed more than 12,000 people.
The Free Aceh Movement (GAM) has alleged that since the collapse of the five-month-old ceasefire on Monday and Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri’s declaration of a state of emergency and the imposition of martial law in Aceh, the military had been guilty of atrocities and the massacre of innocent civilians.
NAM and ASEAN should play a pro-active role to bring the Aceh conflict back to the negotiating table, as there are legitimate concerns that the Indonesian government and military had been emboldened to go for a military solution because of the post-Iraq war international scenario where the use of force is becoming more and more of an acceptable norm in dealing with conflict situations, whether international, regional or international.
It should be another important objective of NAM and ASEAN monitors in Aceh to ensure that the Indonesian military does not resurrect its notorious record of human rights atrocities in the Suharto administration, such as extra-judicial killings, torture, rape and arbitrary detentions.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman