Subject: TNI Should Be Prosecuted in Civilian Courts: Observers [+Kalla/Support Capacit

also: Indonesian vice-president to coordinate increase in TNI's support capacity [He also said that his frequent visits to the eastern regions of Indonesian, such as Papua, [formerly Irian Jaya] West Irian Jaya and North Maluku were because these regions were always linked to poor security]

The Jakarta Post Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Observers tell House to allow TNI to be prosecuted in civilian courts

Tiarma Siboro, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Observers demanded the House of Representatives on Monday to amend its bill on the military tribunal so as to pave the way for trials of soldiers in a civilian court for crimes they commit.

Hari T. Prihantono of the ProPatria think tank for military reforms said the bill should make it clear that soldiers would be court martialled for violations of the military's code of ethics, but they have to stand trial at a district court for criminal charges.

"The leadership of the Indonesian Military must allow soldiers to stand trial in civilian courts if they face criminal charges," Hari said.

He was responding to the bill proposed by a group of lawmakers to amend Law No. 31/1997 on military tribunals, which is supposed to bring it in line with the People's Consultative Assembly decree in 2000 to separate the police from the military.

The Assembly said in its decree that as a consequence of the separation, soldiers were subject to trial at the military tribunal for violations of the Military Law, and the public court for violations of the Criminal Code.

No radical changes, however, are found in the current bill of amendment to the military tribunal, as it authorizes the military tribunal to hear criminal cases involving soldiers or those considered servicemen. In its appendix, the bill states that military offenses are termed as all violations perpetrated by soldiers.

With public monitoring largely non-existent, military tribunals have been accused of providing protection for soldiers who commit serious crimes, thus maintaining the culture of impunity.

Without public scrutiny a few years ago, an officer, who is a son of a former Army general, got a light sentence and eventually had his jail term cut short despite being convicted of a drug crime -- one which carries a maximum sentence of death under the antinarcotics law.

Hari said military tribunals were commonly set up during periods of martial law, while during peace time it would hear violations of the military code of ethics, such as desertion and insubordination.

According to the draft amendment of the military tribunal law, civilian investigators can only intervene in the legal process against soldiers who are accused of committing crimes in collaboration with civilians.

"It should be the police who have to investigate such cases, unless when martial law is in effect," Hari said.

A joint military-civilian court was established in 2000 to try soldiers involved in the killings of Aceh Muslim cleric Tengku Bantaqiyah and dozens of his followers in November 1999.

Joint civilian-military investigation teams have also been set up to investigate retired military officers accused of involvement in crimes, in a move critics deemed as a compromise.

As part of general judicial reforms, the Indonesian Military (TNI) has surrendered the administration of the military court to the Supreme Court. But it will take years to place the military court under full supervision of the Supreme Court, due to the "unreadiness" of the investigators.

Ikrar Nusa Bhakti of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) urged the lawmakers to define a mechanism, which would enable civilian investigators to probe abuses against civilians involving military personnel while conducting operations.

He warned that the military had frequently covered up such violations in the name of state secrecy.

Ikrar, however, would not object if the soldiers were court martialled for abuses against civilians as long as the court handed down heavier punishments than civilian courts.

-----------------------------

BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific - Political June 20, 2005 Source: Kompas Cyber Media web site, Jakarta, in Indonesian 19 Jun 04

Indonesian vice-president to coordinate increase in TNI's support capacity

Excerpt from report attributed to Antara, carried by Indonesian newspaper Kompas Cyber Media web site (www.kompas.com) on 19 June

Makassar: President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has asked Vice-President Jusuf Kalla to coordinate the increase in TNI [Indonesian National Military Forces] operational support capacity, particularly in areas susceptible to conflict.

"Therefore I must see for myself their position (personnel and TNI headquarters), so that hopefully there is coordination from below," the vice-president told journalists at Sultan Hananuddin airport, Makassar, on Sunday (19 June). On Saturday (18 June) the vice-president inspected the headquarters of the TNI battalion in Manado.

According to the vice-president, up to now the problems with increasing TNI operational support capacity had always come from above. He gave the example of the purchase of the Sukhoi aircraft, worth 2 trillion rupiah. The vice-president said that an increase in TNI operational capacity such as at a regional battalion only required repairs such as to accommodation and vehicles, therefore it did not require trillions of Rupiah.

Of the three arms of TNI, the Army, Navy and Air Force, which would have priority, said the vice-president, all services had the same priority but the important issue was that it must be initiated from the bottom.

He also said that his frequent visits to the eastern regions of Indonesian, such as Papua, [formerly Irian Jaya] West Irian Jaya and North Maluku were because these regions were always linked to poor security.


Back to June menu 
May    
World Leaders Contact List
Main Postings Menu