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Deputy General Prosecutor for Serious Crimes v. Beny Ludji and Jose Gusmao

This case summary is being revised and will be updated soon

Court District Court of Dili, Special Panel for Serious Crimes, East Timor
Case number 16/2003
Decision title Juglamento
Decision date 19 May 2004
  • Deputy General Prosecutor for Serious Crimes
  • Beny Ludji
  • Jose Gusmao
Categories Crimes against humanity
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Legally relevant facts

During the widespread and systematic attack perpetrated against the civilian population of East Timor in 1999, Beny Ludji was a Commander in the Aitarik militia group. Alongside the Indonesian security authorities (TNI) and the Indonesian police force (POLRI), more than twenty pro-autonomy militia groups waged a campaign of violence largely against the civilian population suspected of being pro-independence.

According to the indictment, Beny Ludji threatened to kill anyone that supported independence. Further, Ludj and his co-accused, Jose Gusmao, a member of the militias, are charged with murder as a crime against humanity in conjunction with a specific attack against a civilian in East Timor. Beny Ludji was the first Indonesian present in East Timor to be charged with crimes committed in the country. The other Indonesian nationals indicted by the Court are either in Indonesia or West Timor, the vast majority of whom are yet to face justice.

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Court's holding and analysis

On 19 May 2004, the two accused pleaded guilty to the charge of murder. Ludji received a sentence of 8 years’ imprisonment, whilst Gusmao was sentenced to two-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.