Name: Sarwo Edhie Wibowo sarwo edhie b6a4083f8a

Date and place of birth: 25-07-1925, Purworejo - passed away 09-11-1989, Jakarta

Education: Mulo, SMA, PETA-training 


  • 1942 – 1945: PETA
  • 1945 – 1951: Battalion Commander in the Diponegoro Division (Central Java)
  • 1951 – 1953: Regiment Commander in the Diponegoro Division (Central Java)
  • 1959 – 1961: Deputy Regiment Commander in the National Military Academy
  • 1962 – 1964: Chief of Staff of the Army Paracommando Regiment (RPKAD).
  • 1964 – 1967: General Commander RPKAD (now Kopassus)
  • 1967 – 1968: Commander (Pangdam) of the Division II Bukit Barisan
  • 1968 – 1970: Commander (Pangdam) of Division XVII Cenderawasih
  • 1970 – 1973: Governor of the Military Academy AKABRI
  • 1973 – 1978: Ambassador for the RI in South Korea
  • 1978 – 1983: High official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

Trial procedures: none 

Involvement in human rights violations:

Chain of events:

G30S/PKI:(Source: Wikipedia:) The day [01-10-1965] started normally enough for Sarwo Edhie and his RPKAD troops and they spent their morning at the RPKAD headquarters at Cijantung in Jakarta. Then Colonel Herman Sarens Sudiro arrived. Sudiro announced that he was bringing message from the Kostrad headquarters and informed Sarwo Edhie of the situation in Jakarta. Sarwo Edhie was also informed by Sudiro that Major General Suharto, the Commander of Kostrad had for the moment assumed leadership of the Army. After giving it much thought, Sarwo Edhie sent Sudiro back with the message that he will side with Suharto.

Once Sudiro left, Sarwo Edhie was visited by Brigadier General Sabur, the Commander of the Cakrabirawa (Presidential Bodyguards), of which G30S member Lieutenant Colonel Untung belonged to. Sabur asked Sarwo Edhie to join the G30S Movement. Sarwo Edhie told Sabur flat out that he was going to side with Suharto. At 11 AM that day, Sarwo Edhie arrived at the Kostrad headquarters and received orders to retake the RRI and Telecommunication buildings at 6 PM (The deadline by which the unidentified troops were expected to surrender). When 6 PM arrived, Sarwo Edhie ordered his troops to retake the designated buildings. This was achieved without much resistance, as the troops there retreated to Halim and the buildings were taken by 6.30 PM.

With the situation at Jakarta secured, Suharto turned his eyes to Halim Air Base. The Air Base was the place which the kidnapped Generals were taken to and the base of the Air Force which had thrown its support behind the G30S movement. Suharto then ordered Sarwo Edhie to retake the Air Base. Starting their attack at 2 AM on 2 October, Sarwo Edhie and the RPKAD had the Air Base taken by 6 AM.After taking Halim Air Base, Sarwo Edhie joined Suharto as both of them were summoned to Bogor by President Sukarno. While Suharto found himself admonished by Sukarno for ignoring his orders, Sarwo Edhie found himself shocked by Sukarno's insensitivity to the death of the six Generals. To his question of "Where are the Generals?", Sukarno responded "Aren't these things a normality in a revolution?".

On 4 October 1965, Sarwo Edhie's troops would preside over the exhumation of the dead bodies of the Generals from the Lubang Buaya well.On 16 October 1965, Suharto was appointed Commander of the Army by Sukarno. By then, the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) had been accused as the culprits of the G30S and anti-Communist sentiments had built up sufficiently to gain momentum. Sarwo Edhie was given the task of eliminating PKI members in the Communist hotbeds in Central Java.

This would result in the infamous mass-killings in October–December 1965 across Java, Bali, and parts of Sumatra.There were numerous estimates as to the number of people killed during these months. Early estimates number between half a million at the very least and a million at the most (Hughes, John (2002). The End of Sukarno: A Coup That Misfired A Purge That Ran Wild. Singapore: Archipelago Press. p. 194. ISBN 981-4068-65-9).

In December 1965, the number given to Sukarno was 78,000 although after he fell, it was revised to 780,000. The 78,000 was a ploy to hide the number of people killed from Sukarno. Speculations continued throughout the years, ranging from 60,000 to 1,000,000 although the consensus seemed to have settled around 400,000.By the beginning of 1966, anti-Communist sentiments combined with the high rate of inflation caused Sukarno to begin losing his popularity in the eyes of the People. There were now anti-Sukarno protests, led by youth movements such as the Indonesian Student Action Front (KAMI). On 10 January 1966, KAMI issued three demands to Sukarno. They wanted PKI to be banned, for PKI sympathizers within the Cabinet to be arrested, and for the prices to be lowered.

Suharto realized the importance in aligning the Army with the protesters. During the first months of 1966, Sarwo Edhie together with Kostrad Chief of Staff, Kemal Idris actively organized and supported the protests whilst making a name for themselves among the KAMI protesters in the process. On 26 February 1966, KAMI was officially banned by Sukarno but with the encouragement of Sarwo Edhie and Kemal continued to protest. In a show of solidarity with the students, Sarwo Edhie enlisted at the University of Indonesia. Although he was growing to be Sukarno's biggest political opponent, Suharto, a strong Javanese traditionalist, was always careful to avoid challenging Sukarno directly. By March 1966 however, he was ready to force Sukarno's hand. At the beginning of the month, he ordered the RPKAD to arrest PKI sympathizers within Sukarno's Cabinet. Suharto changed his mind at the very last minute, thinking that Sukarno's security might be compromised. However, it was too late to withdraw the orders.

On the morning of 11 March 1966, during a Cabinet meeting in which Suharto was absent, Sarwo Edhie and his troops surrounded the Presidential Palace without any identification. Sukarno, fearing for his life evacuated to Bogor. Later in the day he would transfer executive powers to Suharto through a letter called Supersemar.In 1967, Sarwo Edhie was transferred to Sumatra and was made Commander of KODAM II/Bukit Barisan. In Sumatra, Sarwo Edhie further weakened Sukarno's powers by banning his Indonesian National Party (PNI) throughout the island.Sarwo Edhie's support was firmly with Suharto as the latter began making the moves to ascend to the Presidency. Factionally speaking however, Sarwo Edhie belonged to a faction dubbed by scholars as "New Order Radicals". Together with Kemal Idris and Kodam VI/Siliwangi Commander Hartono Rekso Dharsono, Sarwo Edhie wanted political parties to be dismantled and replaced with non-ideological groups which emphasized development and modernization.

For this, Sarwo Edhie was transferred to West Irian to become the Commander of KODAM XVII/Cendrawasih. In the lead up to the "Act of Free Choice", through which Indonesia annexed the territory without holding a full referendum, Sarwo Edhie played a leading role in crushing Papuan resistance.Like many who had supported Suharto to power, Sarwo Edhie grew increasingly dissatisfied with the new President. As the years went on, Suharto began to exclude supporters like Sarwo Edhie from the running of Indonesia, preferring instead to take the advice of colleagues who had gone up the ranks with him such as Ali Murtopo. Being a New Order radical also did not help Sarwo Edhie's case and like Kemal and Dharsono, Suharto grew suspicious of him.

The final straw came in 1970, when Sarwo Edhie brought up the issue of Government corruption in 1970. From that point on, Sarwo Edhie was given positions that still held stature but kept him away from the politics of the Central Government in Jakarta. Sarwo Edhie then served as ABRI Academy (AKABRI) Governor (1970–1973), Indonesian Ambassador to South Korea (1973–1978), and Inspector General of the Department of Foreign Affairs (1978–1983).

When Suharto established Pancasila as the National Ideology in 1984, Sarwo Edhie was put in charge of the indoctrination process by being appointed Chairman of the Supervisory Body for Implementation of Guidance for Comprehension and Practice of Pancasila (BP-7) He was elected to the People's Representative Council (DPR) in 1987 and resigned his position in 1988 in protest of Sudharmono's nomination to the Vice Presidency.

CIA involvement?

(Source: Inside Indonesia, Brad Simpson, 2010:) At the end of October [1965], reports of mass attacks against PKI supporters in East, Central and West Java reached the US embassy. A military advisor just returned from Bandung reported that villagers were handing over PKI members and those belonging to PKI affiliated organisations to the army for arrest or execution. On 4 November the embassy cabled the US State Department to say that the Army Paracommando Regiment (RPKAD) forces in Central Java under Sarwo Edhie's command were training and arming Muslim youth to attack the PKI. While army leaders arrested higher level PKI leaders for interrogation, the cable noted that 'smaller fry' were 'being systematically arrested and jailed or executed'. A few days later the US consulate in Medan reported 'wholesale killings' of alleged PKI supporters in North Sumatra and Aceh and the 'specific message' from the army that it was seeking to 'finish off' the PKI.On 13 November [1965], police information chief, Colonel Budi Juwono, reported that 'from 50-100 PKI members are being killed every night in east and central Java by civilian anti-Communist groups with [the] blessing of [the] Army'. Three days later 'bloodthirsty' Pemuda Pantjasila members informed the consulate in Medan that the organisation 'intends to kill every PKI member they can get their hands on'. Other sources told the consulate that 'much indiscriminate killing is taking place'.

Consular officials concluded that, even accounting for exaggerations, a 'real reign of terror' was underway. The CIA reported late in November that former PKI members in Central Java were being 'shot on sight' by the army, while western missionaries in East Java told the US Consulate in Surabaya that 15,000 communists had reportedly been killed in the East Javanese city of Tulungagung alone.

(Source Inside Indonesia, Greg Poulgrain, 1999:) The PKI, numbering 20 million, were mostly rice farmers. Accused en masse they became victims in one of the worst massacres this century. In the opinion of the author, many writers underestimated the death toll, which may be around one million persons. Another 700,000 were imprisoned without trial. The most notorious general involved, Sarwo Edhie, claimed not one but two million were killed. 'And we did a good job', he added.

(Source: John McBeth, a senior writer for The Straits Times News, August 2, 2007) Things have turned full circle for the family of the late Lieutenant-General Sarwo Edhie Wibowo. The notorious special forces commander had been cast aside by former president Suharto after playing a leading role in overthrowing president Sukarno and the bloody purge of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). Now, more than four decades on, one of Sarwo Edhie's daughters, Mrs Kristiani Herawati, is the wife of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, another is married to Army Strategic Reserve (Kostrad) commander Erwin Sudjono, and his eldest son, Brigadier-General Pramono Edhie Wibowo, has been appointed as Chief of Staff of the Army - by his brother-in-law, President Yudhoyono. Before that general Pramono was Commander of the Siliwangi division of the Army, Chief of Staff of the Diponegoro division and Commander of the Special Forces (Kopassus). A third daughter is the wife of retired army colonel Hadi Utomo, the chairman of Dr Yudhoyono’s Democrat Party. In fact, Dr Yudhoyono, Lt-Gen Sudjono and Col Utomo married the three sisters on the same day – July 30, 1976. The next morning, Dr Yudhoyono flew to East Timor to take up his new post as a Kostrad platoon commander.

Pramono Edhie Wibowo might continue the dynasty as rumour had it that he might run for president in 2014. In the end, he didn't nor did his sister. Politics in Indonesia is made by rumours and dynasties...

Komnas HAM report 2012

On 23 July 2012, after four years of investigation Komnas HAM has published its report with regard to the "events of 1965". In its conclusions it recommends that responsible military figures, a.o. from the Kopkamtib, but also regional military commanders (Pangdam) should be brought to trial. That report itself is available in a summary in Bahasa Indonesia here. The full report is still secret.