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17 April 1999

Massacre at house of Manuel Carrascalao, in Dili
Massakre iha Manuel Carrascalao nia uma, Dili

17 April 2009

See below for background and links to related articles and documents.

17th of April 1999 Massacre Statement

“Let us commemorate it not only as a calendar of an event, but commemoration of a real situation of pain, suffer, humble, sadness with new inspiration, integrity and hope for a just and fair process for victims to leave in peace.”

Lita Sarmento

We, survivors and victims families lament yet understand the lack of initiatives of our own leaders in demanding justice and fair trial. As many have forgotten and find it easier to move on choosing to remain silent.

Our plea is to not disregard the need for justice. We are building a nation that should have been based on just principles with the key ingredients such as justice, equality, integrity and dignity.

We as a country have adhered to all major UN Conventions. We have agreed to abide by it. In Article 2 of the Genocide Convention that we are signatory of, defines genocide as "...any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such:

(a)  Killing members of the group;

(b)  Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c)  Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

Which part of this article did not happen in 1999?

We implore you all to answer to us.

It continues to Article 3 of the Convention which defines the crimes that can be punished under the convention:


(a)  Conspiracy to commit genocide;

(b)  Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;

(c)  Attempt to commit genocide;

(d)  Complicity in genocide.

Eurico Guterres incite in front of over 1000 (one thousand) militias gathered in front of what today is the Palacio do Governo. His speech was made in front of all the Indonesian Authorities, from Abilio Osorio to Tono Suratman to Timbul Silaen, not to mention that it was live on air on Radio Republic Indonesia.

The mayhem incited caused many of the survivors to still bear the marks both psychologically and physically.

Ten years onwards and we stand firm on our demand for justice.

We have witnessed the puppet trials in Jakarta where Eurico Guterres, was absolved by Indonesian Supreme Court, the good name of Tono Suratman restored as he was held responsible for the crimes in Timor-Leste as well. Moreover, none of the Generals in Jakarta was ever tried regardless of the direct involvement in the conspiracy and complicity during the crisis.

We continue to call for:

  • All the perpetrators of crimes against humanity to be brought to justice.

  • The perpetrators should be extradited and be held accountable for the horrendous crimes committed.

  • An independent International Tribunal for all the human rights violations in Timor-Leste.

  • The National Parliament should consider drafting national law regarding Serious Crimes and amnesty.

Amnesty risks the just execution of law against the perpetrators of serious crimes. The family victims are those put on the disadvantage for there is no justice and truth. The feeling of distrust will continue to linger since the criminals are not being brought to justice but given amnesty. Hence. this will only give the impression that crimes can go unpunished. 

17th of April 2009
Family victims and survivors of Manuel Carrascalao’s house

Deklarasaun Masakre 17 Abril 1999

“Mai ita komemora loron ida ne’e laos hanesan eventu kalendariu ida, maibe komemorasaun ba situasaun aat, terus, humilidade, tristeza ho inspirasaun, integridade no esperansa ba prosesu ida ke justu no los atu vitimas sira bele moris ho dame.”

Lita Sarmento

Ami, sobreviventes no familia vitimas lamenta maibe ami mos komprende nusa mak ladun iha inisiativa husi ita sira nia lider wainhira husu justisa no tribunal ida ke justu. Barak mak ohin haluha no buka dalan nebee fasil atu kontinua sira nia vida ho silensiu.

Ami husu atu labele soe hela ita nia hamrok ba justisa. Ita hari’i hela nasaun ida nebee tenki bazeia ba prinsipius nebee justu ho justisa, igualdade, integridade no dignidade.

Ita hanesan pais ida aliña aan ona ho Konvensaun barak ONU nian. Ita simu atu halo tuir konvensaun sira ne’e. Iha Artigu 2 husi Konvensaun Genosidiu nebee ita asina ona, define genosidiu hanesan “...kualker hahalok nebee ho intensaun atu estraga, hotu kedas ka balun deit. nasionalidade, etniku, rasial ka grupu relijiozu sira, hanesan:

(a)  Oho membru grupu sira ne’e;

(b)  Halo aat ba isin ka psikolojia/ mental ba membru grupus sira ne’e;

(c)  Halo de propozitadamente atu hamosu kondisaun nebe’e sei destroi vida hotu kedas ba balun deit;

Konvensaun ba Prevensaun no Punisaun ba Krime Genosidiu

Parte husi artigu ida ne’e mak la akontese iha 1999?

Ami husu ho haraik aan atu ema id abele hatan mai ami?

Iha Artigu 3 husi Konvensaun ida ne’e define krimes nebe’e deit mak bele hetan punisaun tuir konvensaun:


(a) Konspirasaun atu halo genosidiu;

(b) Haruka diretamente no publikamente atu ema ba komite genosidiu;

(c) Tenta atu halo genosidiu;

(d) Halo duni genosidiu.

Eurico Guterres haruka diretamente ba milisi rihun tolu resin nebe’e halo hela serimonia iha Kantor Gubernur nia oin atu oho pro-independensia sira. Nia diskursu ne’e halo duni iha Autoridade Indonesia sira nia oin husi Abilio Osorio to’o Tono Suratman to’o Timbul Silaen, no diskursu ne’e halo kedas emisaun diretu ba Radio Republik Indonesia ka RRI.

Tragedia ida ne’e halo ema barak nebe’e ohin sobrevive moris ho fitar iha sira nia isin lolon no mos psikologikamente.

Tinan sanulu ona no ami sei hamrik metin atu buka no husu justisa.

Ita hare tiha ona tribunal boneka nebe’e ema hanesan Eurico Guterres, hetan absolvisaun husi Mahkamah Agung Indonesia; Tono Suratman nia naran tenki hadian fila fail maske nia responsavel ba krimes barak iha Timor-Leste. Liu-liu, General sira iha Jakarta nem ida ba tribunal maski iha involvimentu diretu ba konspirasaun no kumplisidade durante krize.

Ami kontinua hakilar atu :

  • Ema sira nebe’e halo krime kontra humanidade lori ba justisa.

  • Tenki halo extradisaun ba ema sira nebee halo krime aat sira ne’e.

  • Tenki hari’i Tribunal Internasional Independente ida ba violasaun direitus humanus iha Timor-Leste.

  • Atu Parlamentu Nasional konsidera halo lei nasional ida kona ba Krime Grave no amnestia.

Amnestia halo exekusaun lei kontra ema sira nebe’e komite krime grave hetan risku. Familia vitimas sira mak hetan disvantajem wainhira laiha justisa no lia los. Ita sei la fiar malu nafatin wainhira kriminozu sira ne’e la lori ba tesi lia iha justisa laran maibe hetan fali amnestia. Ida ne’e fo impresaun katak ita bele halo krime grave maibe ita sei la hetan punisaun.

17 Abril 2009
Familia vitima no sobrevivente masakre iha Manuel Carrascalao nia uma

More than 100 people gathered at the site of the massacre ten years later. Flowers and candles were placed at a memorial behind the house where many bodies had been dumped. Survivors spoke and read the above declaration. Photographs by Nug Katjasungkana.

Click on any photo to see it larger.

Ema nain 100 resin mai fatin masakre nian tinan sanulu tan. Sira lori ai-funan no lilin ba memorial iha uma nia kotuk, fatin soe isin mata barak. Sobrivivente sira kolia no lee deklarasaun iha leten. Foto sira husi Nug Katjasungkana.

Click iha foto ida nia laran atu haree boot liu

A five-page account of the crime can be found in Geoff Robinson's report on 1999 (East Timor Crimes Against Humanity) which is reproduced as an annex in the CAVR report Chega! (the final volume of Chega, at 10.3, pp 201-205).

The exact number killed is not known. Prof Robinson believes at least 12, others say 30 or even 60. The attack occurred following a pro-autonomy rally and formal inauguration of the militia group Aitarak outside what is now Palacio do Governo. In his keynote address, Eurico Guterres openly incited the crowd of some 5000 (which included about 1500 militia and was attended by the Indonesian Military Commander, Col. Tono Suratman and other senior military) to 'cleanse' and kill supporters of independence and "traitors", in particular members of the Carrascalao family. Manuel Carrascalao's house was targeted because he was regarded as a traitor and because he had offered his home as a refuge to some 150 people who had fled violence in districts outside Dili, including the Liquiçá church massacre of April 6. Manuel's son Manuelito was amongst those killed during the attack. Manuel himself and his daughter Christina were not home at the time. Mr Carrascalao personally visited Col Tono Suratman early in the afternoon and asked him to intervene to stop the attack but Col Suratman flatly refused.

-- Pat Walsh

Manuel and Cristina Carrascalo with the body of their son and brother Manuelito.

17 April 1999


In 1999 I spent six months in East Timor filming the last six months of the Indonesian occupation for my film “Scenes From An Occupation”. I first arrived in Dili in early March 1999.

On April 17, 1999 the militia organise their first rally in Dili. The main independence grouping, the Council for National Timorese Resistance (CNRT), has been forced underground after the Liquica Massacre. It is impossible to contact the leadership. The chain of information is cut and the outside world does nothing.

Very early in the morning on April 17, I film a first communion at Motael Church; as it finishes I rush off to film the pro-integration rally. Cheers erupt as Aitarak militia leader Eurico Guterres speaks. I continue filming as he exhorts his supporters to go and seek anti-integration people and ‘shoot them dead’. An Indonesian cameraman working for Associated Press also films the rally. Years later AP will not allow the UN Serious Crimes Unit to access the footage; and then later they will deny that the footage even exists.

Next, events happen very quickly. Militia goes to the homes of pro-independence people in a systematic attempt to kill. Manuel Carrascalao’s home is raided. At the time, it is believed that twelve people have been killed. We know this because Bishop Belo goes to the morgue and counts the dead.

Most journalists stay indoors. It is too dangerous outside. There are only a handful of us left. Two telephones in Dili are routinely used by journalists to make reverse charge phone calls. We assume that Australian intelligence is listening to our conversations. The Australian government does nothing.

No journalist is present when Carrascalao’s home is attacked and people are killed. Years later I learn that the Indonesian police had video cameras and were filming there. The footage must still exist in Jakarta, somewhere.

Over the next few days the Indonesian police barricades Carrascalao’s street. We, the journalists, are forbidden from entering. Later we learn that the victims have been buried in the house’s well.

As dusk is falling journalist and writer Irene Slegt and I go to a totally destroyed and burnt down Becora Market. We learn that a man who has stepped off a bus from Baucau has been shot at point-blank range earlier in the afternoon. Later we find his body and grieving family at the Motael Clinic.

It is difficult to know what will happen next. Every day there is a military style operation in Becora. The Timorese people are desperate for outside military intervention. They are also deeply traumatised. Grown men break down crying in front of me. In Portuguese they say that the Indonesians are ‘assassins and liars’.

-- Carmela Baranowska

Originally published in online magazine Documenter in 2000 and revised in 2009

Links: (in English except where noted)

Ten years ago

Since then


The Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis (La’o Hamutuk)
Institutu Timor-Leste ba Analiza no Monitor ba Dezenvolvimentu
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