Todd v. Panjaitan -International Human Rights and Solidarity – CCR Docket Fall 1998

A retired general who was the target of a successful CCR Filártiga suit has been appointed as the top advisor to the Indonesian government.

In 1994, a federal judge in Massachusetts awarded $14 million to the mother of a young man murdered by the Indonesian troops during a widely publicized massacre in east timor. CCR had filed the wrongful death suit in 1992 against Indonesian General Sintong Panjaitan on behalf of Helen Todd, whose 20-year-old son, Kamal Bamadhaj, a citizen of New Zealand was killed in 1991. Bamadhaj had been observing the funeral procession of a young Timorese man killed earlier by the Indonesian military; hundreds of soldiers  opened fire on the unarmed crowd for more than five minutes between 146 and 200 people were killed.

Panjaitan, then the Indonesian commander of the region that includes East Timor, was transferred from his position after the massacre and moved to Massachusetts to study at Boston University. he fled back to Indonesia after the lawsuit was filed, and has refused to pay the $14 million judgment.

In June 1998, following months of public protest, Indonesian President Suharto stepped down and was replaced by B. J. Habibie. Though promising to curb human rights abuses, one of Habibie’s first acts as President was to appoint Panjaitan as a senior military advisor.

CCR is pressing the U.S. government to require  that Panjaitan pay the judgment against him.

Beth Stephens, Michael Ratner, José Luis Morín, Jennifer M. Green, with Harvey Kaplan, Maureen O’Sullivan and Jeremiah Friedman