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Doe v. Lumintang

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Synopsis

Doe v. Lumintang is a federal civil lawsuit against the ex-Vice Chief of Staff of the Indonesian Army, Johny Lumintang filed on behalf of six East Timorese activists who survived the systematic campaign of violence and destruction of East Timorese villages by the Indonesian military.

Status

On September 10, 2001, the court entered judgment against Lumintang in the amount of $66 million, awarding each plaintiff $10 million in punitive damages and between $750,000 and $1.75 million in compensatory damages. Lumintang appealed the decision, and on November 9, 2004, Judge Gladys Kessler issued a memorandum opinion overruling the magistrate judge's report and recommendation and granted the defendant's motion to set aside the default judgment.

Description

Doe v. Lumintang is a civil lawsuit brought against the former Vice Chief of Staff of the Indonesian Army, Johny Lumintang. The suit implicates Lumintang in an official policy of repression of the East Timorese pro-independence movement, charging him with summary execution; torture; cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment; crimes against humanity; wrongful death; assault and battery; and intentional infliction of emotional distress for his role in ordering the crackdown. The suit charges that Lumintang designed, implemented, and gave orders that created a program of systematic human rights violations resulting in crimes against humanity, torture, and summary execution. The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

East Timor declared its independence in 1975 but was quickly invaded and occupied by Indonesia, which declared East Timor one of its provinces the following year. The plaintiffs are six East Timorese victims who survived the violent crackdown of the independence movement by the Indonesian military that occurred in the aftermath of the September 1999 independence referendum that created a separate state. The plaintiffs seek relief in the form of compensatory and punitive damages against the defendant for violations of federal and international law.

In the course of the crackdown by the Indonesian military, the plaintiffs and members of their families were shot, executed, tortured, and beaten for their actual and alleged participation in the East Timor pro-independence movement.

Timeline

On March 28, 2000, CCR filed suit on behalf of six East Timorese activists against Indonesia’s former Vice Chief of Staff Johny Lumintang. The defendant filed no response to the complaint.

On June 27, 2000, the U.S.District Court for the District of Columbia filed an entry of default.

In March 2001, the case went to trial before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan Kay.

On September 10, 2001, Judge Kay awarded the six plaintiffs compensatory damages totaling $6 million and punitive damages totaling $60 million.

On March 25, 2002, the defendant filed a motion to overturn the court’s judgment.

On May 7, 2002, the plaintiffs filed opposition to the defendant’s motion to overturn the court’s judgment.

On May 17, 2002, the defendant filed a reply to the plaintiff’s opposition to his motion to overturn the court’s judgment.

On March 4, 2004, Magistrate Judge Kay issued a report and recommendation to deny Lumintang’s motion to vacate the judgment.

On November 9, 2004, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Gladys Kessler ordered Judge Kay’s report and recommendation overruled and granted Lumintang’s motion to set aside the default judgment and order and judgment on damages against him.