|Subject: Munir and Intel Reform: Analysts
Say Case Underscores Need for Accountability
The Jakarta Post Friday, October 13, 2006
Analysts Urge Intelligence Reform
Ary Hermawan, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The failure to unravel the 2004 murder of human rights activist Munir highlights the need for speedy reform of the intelligence services, defense analysts said Thursday.
"The Munir case should be linked to the agenda of security reform," said defense analyst Edy Prihartono of the National Alliance for Intelligence Democratization (Sandi).
The alliance brings together 10 civil society organizations, including the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), Imparsial, the Institute for the Free Flow of Information (ISAI) and defense watchdog ProPatria.
Edy, an analyst for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), said the reforms were aimed at assuring citizens that what happened to Munir would not recur in the future.
"We demand the security apparatus be reformed so as to be controlled and accountable," he said. "If they are not reformed, we can't tell them from criminals."
ProPatria executive director T. Hari Prihartono said efforts to reform the security sector should now be focused on the state intelligence service.
Intelligence reform is "crucial", he told The Jakarta Post, saying intelligence was the "heart" of the nation's security sector.
He said over the last seven years the military and police had improved and shown openness to change, but this was not the case with the intelligence service.
"We have never had a law on intelligence, after more than 60 years of independence," he said. The intelligence units are currently regulated by presidential decrees and government regulations.
"Because intelligence is regulated by decrees lower than law, it has always become an instrument of power. For decades, intelligence has been a tool of power," Hari said.
The government submitted a bill on the intelligence service to the House of Representatives last month for deliberation. Civil organizations have been urged to get involved in the debate.
"We all bear the moral and political responsibility of watching over the deliberation," Edy said, adding that the Munir case was linked with the performance of the intelligence service.
Munir died from arsenic poisoning while traveling from Jakarta to Amsterdam on Garuda airline in 2004.
Courts found that off-duty Garuda pilot Pollycarpus, the sole suspect in the Munir case before he was exonerated by the Supreme Court, had frequent telephone contacts with agents from the State Intelligence Agency (BIN). BIN denied any involvement, but suspicion is rife that its members helped plot the killing.
A military analyst from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Ikrar Nusa Bhakti, urged the government to declassify state secrets related to cases of human rights violations.
He also urged the government to separate intelligence agents and the agencies they were worked for. "The acts made of National Intelligence Agency (BIN) agents cannot be categorized as the official acts of the agency," he said.
He therefore urged the government to disclose details of the phone calls between Pollycarpus and former top BIN official Muchdi PR to shed light on the alleged conspiracy behind Munir's killing.
Military analyst Andi Wijayanto said the Munir case showed that the state could stifle human rights cases on behalf of state secrecy.
"The government-sanctioned fact finding team has pointed to sources of information that could disclose the Munir case but they are blocked from acquiring the information by the government," he said.
US Hopes Indonesia Will Prosecute Killers Of Rights Activist
JAKARTA, October 11 (AP)--Indonesia should bring to justice the killers of its most prominent human rights activist after the acquittal by the Supreme Court last week of the only suspect in the case, the U.S. Embassy said Wednesday.
U.S. Ambassador B. Lynn Pascoe conveyed that message to Suciwati, the widow of slain activist Munir Thalib, in meetings Wednesday.
Munir, a human rights lawyer who often received death threats linked to his work exposing abuses at the hands of Indonesia's security forces, died of arsenic poisoning on a flight in September 2004 from Jakarta to Amsterdam.
"The United States regrets that there is currently no one who has been held accountable for that crime," the embassy said in a statement. Washington will "encourage Indonesia to vigorously pursue justice for the murder of Munir."
The statement came as Suciwati, who blames military intelligence agents for the murder and is suing the state for damages, prepares for a trip to the United States later this week where she will address the United Nation's Human Rights Commission.
On Oct. 4, the Supreme Court acquitted an off-duty pilot with the Garuda national carrier, saying there was insufficient evidence to prove he administered poison to Munir's food.
The Jakarta Post
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
'Unreasonable court verdicts could lead to the death of common sense'
The Supreme Court's split decision to quash the murder verdict of Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto, the sole defendant in the killing of rights activist Munir, is seen by some as a major blow to efforts to promote human rights and justice. The Jakarta Post's Ary Hermawan spoke with Justice Artidjo Alkostar, who offered the dissenting opinion in the Pollycarpus decision. The following are excerpts of the interview.
Question: Can you explain the legal reasoning behind your conviction that Pollycarpus was guilty?
Answer: First of all, I have to explain the position of the Supreme Court as a judex juris, the highest court whose verdicts are final and binding. The Supreme Court is not judex facti; the district courts and the high courts examine facts. The Supreme Court examines the enforcement of the law as stipulated in the Criminal Code.
Pollycarpus was convicted by a district court and the high court. And the two made a correct decision, although it may have lacked something if seen through conspiracy theory. Pollycarpus was found guilty of two crimes: using counterfeit documents and killing Munir. The conviction should be cumulative, which means the sentencing of the two crimes should be jointly imposed and added together. I agreed with the prosecutors' demand that Pollycarpus be sentenced to life.
I don't think there was anything wrong with the application of the law at the district and high court level, especially regarding the correlation between Polly and the death of Munir. I agree with the legal reasoning of the district court judges, who used a posteriori logic. They observed from consequences first and then causes. Usually the judges use a more conventional way of thinking, which is from cause to consequence.
This is the Munir case seen through a posteriori logic. We have the facts or consequences. Munir was known to have been poisoned to death. How did he die? It is impossible that he died because he fell or had a heart attack. So we have to look for the causes, which are very clear.
The clues are that Polly exchanged seats with Munir. Polly was wandering around the pantry. And he did those things for no reason. It's so strange. He was off duty but forced his way on duty. The trial revealed that Polly was off duty. And the document he used to fly to Singapore turned out to be counterfeited. It could only mean that he was forcing himself to do these things. Those clues are then corroborated by the fact that Polly phoned Munir before the flight.
These signs imply a causality between the consequence and its causes, between the death of Munir and the preceding actions of Pollycarpus. Remember, not merely an activity, but a set of activities. This set of activities correlated with the death of Munir.
The other two justices on the panel said there was no evidence Pollycarpus murdered Munir. Aren't these clues also considered evidence?
Those clues are definitely evidence. It is recognized in the law. Evidence cannot just fall from the sky. It comes out during trial. This is in line with the principle of criminal law, which is to seek material truth. In contrast to the principle of civil law, which is to find formal truth. In the case of Munir, what we're looking for is material truth.
The sense of justice of this nation will be hurt if law enforcers can be easily fooled by criminals and corrupt people. If we are defeated in terms of logic, this country will be broke. We have to be prudent. Law enforcers should be intelligent in dealing with the logic of those implicated in extraordinary crimes.
Can you describe the situation when you heard the Pollycarpus case?
We definitely had a heated debate and the trial was not like a normal one. We were at odds and our differences were so sharp. You see, the other two judges rejected the prosecution's argument and granted the appeal of the defense. The trial was so long that the judges hearing the next case had to wait for us.
Was there any pressure from outside the courtroom?
No. At least, I know there was no pressure put on me. I don't know about the other two justices. Go ask them.
What about the prosecution's plan to seek a review of the case? Is that legal and would it be useful?
That is one of the legal avenues that could be taken by the prosecutors. Pak Bagir (the Supreme Court chief) has set up a panel of judges for the planned review. It is a valid legal measure and there is a precedent when prosecutors sought a review of Muchtar Pakpahan's acquittal.
Are you suggesting that the prosecution file for a review?
No, I'm not in that position. I'm just saying that filing a review would be valid. I know that people have talked about it and I say this discourse is valid.
Anyway, that is not the only way. The public could conduct an examination and studies regarding the verdict, to clear up this case. Unreasonable verdicts could lead to the death of common sense. We have to do this to get rid of the dark side of the Indonesian judiciary. The case of Udin (a journalist at Yogyakarta daily Bernas who was beaten to death in 1996 after writing about corruption cases involving local government officials), for instance, is one of those dark sides. I hope that future generations will have a clearer and brighter history. So there are still many legal avenues available to respond to the verdict.
Munir's widow Suciwati has asked the Supreme Court to reopen the case. What do you think?
No, we can't do that. She has no competence to say so.
Aren't you afraid that people will lose trust in the Supreme Court because of controversial verdicts?
I'm not in a position to answer that question. Somebody else must answer that. If I were still the director of the Yogyakarta Legal Aid Institute, I would be happy to answer it. I think it's unethical for me to say anything about it.
------------------------------------------ Joyo Indonesia News Service