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Baharuddin Jusuf Habibie

The third President of the Republic of Indonesia, Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie was born in Pare-Pare, South Sulawesi, on 25 June, 1936. He is the forth son from eight, from a couple namely Alwi Abdul Jalil Habibie and RA. Tuti Marini Puspowardojo. Habibie married with Hasri Ainun Habibie on 12 May 1962 and they had two sons - Ilham Akbar and Thareq Kemal.

Habibie’s childhood was spent with his brother and sister in Pare-Pare, South Sulawesi. A firm characteristic to hold onto principles was shown by Habibie since he was a kid. Habibie lost his father, who died on 03 September 1950 of a heart attack. Not that long after his father died, Habibie moved to Bandung to enter Gouvernments Middlebare School. During in Senior High School, he was a preeminent student because of his achievement, particularly for physical sciences. Habibie became a favorite figure in his school. After graduating from Senior High School in Bandung in 1954, he entered into the University of Indonesia in Bandung (now called ITB). He received a Diploma predicate from Technische Hochschule, German in 1960 and then got his doctor from the same university in 1965. In 1967, he became the Honor Professor at the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB).

Habibie was just one year attending lectures at ITB Bandung, 10 years attending lecture and got his aircraft construction doctorate in German with predicate Summa Cum laude. He then worked at the famous aircraft industry MBB Gmbh German, before he came back to Indonesia to comply with President Soeharto’s request. He received the prestigious Theodore van Karman Award.

In Indonesia, Habibie for 20 years served as the State Minister of Research and Technology / Head of BPPT, chaired 10 state enterprises for Strategic Industry, selected by the Provisional People’s Consultative Assembly as the Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia.

Amid widespread civil unrest, Suharto resigned on May 21, 1998, 3 months after the MPR had selected him for a seventh term. Suharto's hand-picked Vice President, B.J. Habibie, became Indonesia's third President. President Habibie reestablished International Monetary Fund (IMF) and donor community support for an economic stabilization program. He released several prominent political and labor prisoners, initiated investigations into the unrest, and lifted controls on the press, political parties, and labor unions. In January 1999, Habibie and the Indonesian Government agreed to a process, with UN involvement, under which the people of East Timor would be allowed to choose between autonomy and independence through a direct ballot held on August 30, 1999. Some 98% of registered voters cast their ballots, and 78.5% of the voters chose independence over continued integration with Indonesia. Many people were killed by Indonesian military forces and military-backed militias in a wave of violence and destruction after the announcement of the pro-independence vote.

Many people admired as well as disagreed with actions taken by Habibie, as some of them are full with controversies. The collapse of Suharto’s military regime in May 1998 and the subsequent rise of a civilian regime under Baharuddin Jusuf Habibie was embraced as the beginning of a new era of reform (era reformasi) in Indonesia. It was hoped that Habibie would reform the country’s political system and initiate military reform, subjects which Soeharto had ignored for many decades. For this reason, radical students demanded that the new civilian regime consistently implement their demands, which included investigation and prosecution of Soeharto for his corruption, collusion, and nepotism, as well as the investigation and prosecution of the military on charges of human rights violations. They also called for peaceful solutions to be sought for separatist conflicts throughout the country.

The Habibie Government committed serious human rights abuses; while there was significant progress in institutionalizing democracy during the year, serious problems remained under the Wahid Government, although overall abuses decreased markedly. Security forces continued to commit extrajudicial killings. Elements of the security forces and prointegration militias, armed and largely supported by the military, were responsible for numerous extrajudicial killings in East Timor in the early months of 1999.

Prointegration militias in Suai also carried out numerous extrajudicial killings during the preconsultation period. In September at least many hundreds of persons were killed in a wave of violence and destruction after the announcement of the proindependence vote. Priests and displaced persons were massacred at a church in Suai.

There was evidence that many key militia members were, in fact, TNI intelligence personnel. There were numerous reports of disappearances in East Timor and from refugee camps in West Timor following the flight of over 250,000 East Timorese civilians in September 1999.

In Aceh the military forces and national police committed numerous extrajudicial killings and used excessive force to quell separatist movements. Military forces sometimes resorted to force in order to disrupt peaceful demonstrations. TNI personnel often responded with indiscriminate violence after physical attacks on soldiers. There continued to be credible reports of the disappearance of dozens of civilians, many of whom are believed to have been associated with separatist activities.

Security forces also were responsible for numerous instances of indiscriminate shooting of civilians, torture, rape, beatings and other abuse, and arbitrary detention in Jakarta, Irian Jaya, Maluku, and elsewhere in the country. Rapes by security forces continued to be a widespread problem throughout many of these areas, and security forces systematically employed arbitrary arrest and detention without trial in Aceh.

In East Timor, proindependence groups committed serious abuses, including killings of security personnel. In Aceh dozens of low-level civil servants, police, and military personnel were murdered and abducted over the course of the year. It generally is believed that separatists carried out many of these, and other, killings. In Irian Jaya armed insurgents also committed killings and kidnapings.

The withdrawal of military support from Habibie during the 1999 Presidential election and the transfer of its support to Abdurrahman Wahid through a decisive voting in the MPR (Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat -- People’s Consultative Assembly) revealed that the military was still an important actor influencing the country’s political system.

He then went back to being an ordinary person, and he also went back to stay in Germany.

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