Subject: Govt Backs TNI: Civilian Court No Place for Military Personnel

Also Indonesia receives jetfighter after years held by US

The Jakarta Post Thursday, September 21, 2006

Civilian court no place for TNI: Govt

M. Taufiqurrahman, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The government balked Wednesday at a proposal to try military personnel in civilian court for misdemeanors, even though legislators argue it is a vital part of reforming the armed forces.

Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono said soldiers constituted an indispensable part of the country's defense system and that efforts to subject them to civilian laws would compromise the integrity of that system.

"We fear that if soldiers are tried in civilian court, judges at the courts will not take into account the interests of the military and the deployment of the country's defense system, because the judges are not given training about military affairs," Juwono told a hearing with the House special committee to amend the military tribunal law.

After a Sept. 6 hearing, Juwono said it would take up to three years to prepare for civilian court trials of soldiers, but reiterated that Indonesian Military (TNI) personnel would not be above the law.

But he said Wednesday that soldiers should be exempted from the principle of equality before the law.

"Soldiers should be treated differently from civilians, as they only subscribe to Military Court Procedures, the way civilians only subscribe to the Criminal Code Procedures."

To the chagrin of the special committee members, the government also rejected a three-year grace period proposed by the special committee to facilitate the handover of a military tribunal to a civilian court.

The government's refusal to put the military court under the civilian court system once again deadlocked the protracted discussion of the amendment of the 1997 law on military tribunal.

The amendment is in line with the 2000 decree issued by the People's Consultative Assembly, which separated the police and the military. Under the decree, soldiers must face trial in a military tribunal for violations of military regulations, and the civilian court for offenses under the Criminal Code.

Special committee chairman Andreas Parrera of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) reproved the government about no progress in the lengthy deliberations.

Permadi, also of the PDI-P faction, said the government lacked the political will to subject the military to civilian rule.

"The Defense Ministry is allowed to draw up a list of thousands of infractions by soldiers that could be subject to a military tribunal, but there are also hundreds of offenses that could be heard in the civilian court."

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Indonesia receives jetfighter after years held by US

JAKARTA, September 19 (Xinhua) -- The Indonesian Air Force said Tuesday the United States has returned an F-5 jetfighter after being grounded for several years to mark the end of military embargo imposed by Washington in 1999.

"The plane is now kept at the Iswahyudi Air Force base (in East Java) for reserved spare parts," Air Force Chief Air Marshall Herman Prayitno was quoted by the national Antara news agency as saying.

Prayitno said several planes belonging to the Air Force which were still detained at the United States will also be delivered back soon.

"We are still expecting several more aircraft. The U.S. government is currently preparing the export licenses with our logistical staff," he said.

The plane was sent to the United States for an overhaul almost 10 years ago.

Washington imposed military embargo on Indonesia in 1999 on accusation of human rights violations committed by the Indonesian officers in neighboring Timor Leste.

The embargo was lifted in February this year.

------------------------------------------ Joyo Indonesia News Service


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