Subject: TNI's Power: JP: Military and Election; Truth Commission

also: JP: House ends debate on truth commission Tempo Interview: Komnas HAM Chairman Abdul Hakim Garuda Nusantara: "The TNI still wields a lot of influence..."; and JP Opinion: TNI bill: Professionally or politically motivated?

The Jakarta Post Tuesday, August 31, 2004

'Whomever Becomes President, They Will Need the TNI'

Jun Honna, the author of the book Military Politics and Democratization in Indonesia (2003), and an associate professor at Ritsumeiken University in Japan, has been in Indonesia for about one year to observe the elections here. The political scientist shared his observations with The Jakarta Post's Kornelius Purba.

Question: There is an apparent rivalry between the Indonesian Police (Polri) and the Indonesian Military (TNI) to have an influence on the presidential election. Why has this occurred?

Answer: I think the support by the police for incumbent President Megawati Soekarnoputri is very institutional. Police tend to believe that if Gen. (ret) Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) becomes president, the police would be put under the Ministry of Home Affairs, while now they are under direct presidential control. The police fear that if Megawati fails, they will face great difficulty. And also the Megawati government has provided them with a lot of money. They bought motorcycles, cars and other things. Most police officers generally think that their condition has been much better during Megawati's administration. That is why the police tend to support her. They fear the military will come back (to power) again if Susilo wins. They will lose their power. Of course, officially they do not say that, they say they are neutral.

How about the TNI?

I don't think there is an institutional instruction from the Army chief or from the TNI commander to support SBY. There are a lot of TNI families that tend to believe that someone from the TNI should be the next president. That's why in many military housing complexes, there are many ballot stations which support SBY. However, if you see in other areas, Megawati also received a lot of support from the TNI families. So, I don't think there is an instruction from the top.


Whoever becomes president, he or she needs to rely on the TNI in conducting military policy and in managing national stability. The TNI is very confident that whomever will become the next president, that person will need to rely on the TNI, so they don't need to risk siding with one or the other. They have a very strong bargaining position.

In terms of government, what are the differences between Susilo and Megawati?

If Susilo becomes president there is hope that his leadership can provide a lot of results, because he promised to the public that if elected he would bring about a lot of changes. So there are a lot of expectations on him. He has a very good vision and he understands what is demanded by the international community. I think his vision is very good. However, there is some question as to whether he will be able to surround himself with people equally as good as him, when he is elected president

If you look at the people around his "success team" there are some questions about them, for instance, retired military officers. I don't believe they are reformists. Another question is, even if SBY himself has a good vision, will he be able to resist those within his own circle. Although he has strong leadership skills and seems intent on reforms, he'll have to deal with resistance from within his own circle of advisers.

Another concern is that because he is only supported by relatively small parties, like the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the Crescent Star PBB and his own Democratic Party. Many people are concerned that he will face resistance in the House of Representatives, which looks to be controlled by the new Nationhood Coalition (dominated by Golkar, PDI-P and PPP). Whether his government will be better or not, totally depends on his leadership.

Do you think Megawati can change?

If she wins the election, of course there is a possibility that she will carry out more reforms. But she is also surrounded by political party elites, and her next government would also be comprised after much horse-trading. I don't think that situation makes her able to have strong leadership. So without strong leadership, we can not expect drastic reforms, which are urgently required for economic recovery

From a foreign perspective, what are the differences between Megawati and Susilo?

Basically there is no difference for foreigners, including for foreign investors. The international community always demands that Indonesia establish a good investment climate, the eradication of corruption and judicial reforms. So the establishment of clean governance is a crucial issue for foreign countries. So, whoever becomes president, their demands would be the same. However, I am not quite sure, but I see the tendency that they (majority of foreigners) prefer SBY because he can communicate with the international community.

How about the Islam factor in the elections?

Islam, as a social value is penetrating Indonesia, and that tendency will continue. But Islam as a political tool in the formal institutions like the House or the president, I don't think the influence is growing stronger. In terms of formal politics, there will be no big change in the future. But the question is whether a Islam outside of this formal structure is growing, like the radicalization of some Islamic groups. As long as the economic condition of Indonesia fails to recover, more poor people will be motivated by radical values. The core of the problem is not radicalism, not the religion itself, but more the economic condition of this country.

What is your predicting about the direction of Indonesian democracy in the next five years?

I think the presidential election, this time, is a good experiment to consolidate democracy. Political leadership is based on the aspirations of people, and that will be a breakthrough to consolidate the democratic processes in this country. We will also witness the direct elections of regents, mayors and governors. This also promotes democratic values and democratic political orientation in the regions. That is one of the hopes. But on the other hand, if you look at the actual situation in the villages, there is some question about the direct elections, because there is a concern that the candidates will try to mobilize voters based on religious and ethnic lines.


The Jakarta Post Tuesday, August 31, 2004

House ends debate on truth commission

Kurniawan Hari, The Jakarta Post/Jakarta

The House of Representatives (DPR) and the government wrapped up on Monday their deliberations on the truth and reconciliation commission bill following a half-hour, closed-door meeting attended by faction leaders in the House.

"We shall submit a final draft to a plenary meeting scheduled for Sept. 7," committee deputy chairman M. Akil Mochtar of Golkar told the media after the meeting attended by 19 of 50 members of the House special committee deliberating the bill.

The closed-door meeting discussed conditions that must be met before the truth and reconciliation commission would recommend an amnesty for perpetrators of human rights abuses.

After a half-hour talk, the lawmakers agreed to insert some clauses into Article 29 of the bill.

As amended, it says that if victims of rights abuses refuse to forgive suspected violators, the commission may make a recommendation based on its own considerations.

In a situation where perpetrators refuse to admit their wrongdoing, they will not be given amnesty and will be brought before the ad hoc human right court.

Previously, the bill only provided a solution in a situation where victims forgave human rights violators.

Article 28 box below says 29 of the bill states that the truth commission can recommend amnesty only after human right abusers admit their wrongdoing and their victims forgive them.

However, the article does not offer a solution in a situation where victims refuse to forgive their abusers.

"This is the best outcome we can achieve," said Soewarno, spokesman of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) faction.

Soewarno added that his faction fully welcomed finalization of the long-awaited bill.

Meanwhile, Nyoman Suwisma, spokesman of the Indonesian Military/Police faction, said that the bill's endorsement would not create problems for the nation.

In addition, National Awakening Party (PKB) spokesman Muhidin suggested that the government would disseminate information on the bill before establishing the reconciliation commission.

"The selection of commission members should be carried out professionally," he said.

According to the bill, the President should form a selection committee consisting of five members, two of whom are government officials, with three others drawn from the public.

The committee then submits the names of 42 candidates to the President who later selects 21 and submits them to the House for approval.

The commission would work for five years with the possibility of a two-year extension.

Key Articles

Article 29:

(1) In a situation where human right violators and their victims forgive one another, the commission must recommend an amnesty.

(2) In a situation where human right violators admit facts and regret their wrongdoing but their victims refuse to forgive them, the commission can make recommendations based on its own considerations.

(3) In a situation where human right violators refuse to admit wrongdoing, they will not receive amnesty and will be brought before the ad hoc court.

Article 43: Gross human right violations settled by the commission cannot be brought before the ad hoc human rights court.

Source: House special committee


Tempo August 31 - Sept 06, 2004


Abdul Hakim Garuda Nusantara:

"The TNI still wields a lot of influence..."

IT was a bloody event that Abdul Hakim Garuda Nusantara, then a human rights activist and University of Indonesia law student working part-time at the Legal Aid Institute (LBH), can never forget. Even today, as Chairman of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), he can still recall the scent of death that day.

"There were clearly serious human rights violations in the Tanjung Priok case," said Abdul Hakim. With ease, Abdul Hakim named L.B. Moerdani (former defense and security minister, simultaneously Indonesian Armed Forces commander) and Try Sutrisno (former commander of the Jakarta Military Command) as the officials who should be made "accountable" for the tragedy that killed tens of demonstrators. (Abdul Qadir Djaelani, one of the men indicted in the Tanjung Priok case told TEMPO there were as many as 300 people killed.)

But Abdul Hakim feels let down. The ad hoc human rights tribunal in Jakarta two weeks ago acquitted Special Forces (Kopassus) Commander Maj. Gen. Sriyanto of any responsibility. Yet Sriyanto led the platoon of soldiers which shot at the protesters in Tanjung Priok. Then a captain, he became Chief of the North Jakarta Military District Operations. The tribunal also acquitted Maj. Gen. (ret) Pranowo, who was then POM commander in Jakarta, even though according to Abdul Hakim, "strong evidence points to the use of torture by POM members."

In order to get the views of Abdul Hakim, currently Chairman of Komnas HAM, on the ad hoc tribunals and other human rights cases in Indonesia, TEMPO reporter Setiyardi interviewed him two weeks ago. In a two-hour long interview, Abdul Hakim answered all questions "very slowly and carefully." Excerpts:

The panel of judges at the human rights tribunal acquitted the generals involved in the Tanjung Priok case. What are your thoughts on this?

Major-Generals Pranowo and Sriyanto were indeed acquitted. One of the judges' considerations was that peaceful settlement (islah) had been established between the perpetrators and the victims of the Tanjung Priok case. But this is not correct. According to national laws, an islah does not supersede a criminal indictment. I have asked the prosecutor about an appeal. We are now waiting because they have submitted an appeal.

Can't an islah be seen as a legal consideration?

It can be seen as a consideration towards reducing a sentence. But it can never be used to escape a legal sentencing. That's why, when a number of witnesses withdrew their testimonies because of the islah, that is totally wrong. The withdrawal of those testimonies must be set aside by the judges. The testimonies must still be used in court. The judges should examine further why the victims withdrew their testimonies. Are they being tortured, pressured or given money at all?

Are you disappointed with the court's verdict?

I cannot answer without revealing my personal feelings. Certainly, the formation of this ad hoc human rights tribunal was agreed by Komnas HAM, the Attorney General's Office, the House of Representatives (DPR) and the president, with the understanding that serious human rights violations had been committed. Otherwise, there would not be such a tribunal.

Many people are very unhappy with the tribunal's decision?

Indeed, there are voices from the public which doubt the credibility of the legal proceedings on the Tanjung Priok case. This is understandable if public accountability is to be achieved. The DPR should address those doubts by evaluating the performance of the human rights tribunal. What should be assessed is whether the tribunal acted fairly, objectively and fulfilled all international standards. Were there weaknesses in the laws which formed the basis of the trial itself? Did the prosecutor and the judges abuse their authority?

Why didn't Komnas HAM conduct such an evaluation?

In accordance with the laws on Komnas HAM, we cannot interfere in cases that are being legally processed. Furthermore, the task of the DPR is to control the government and institutions of justice.

Does our human rights tribunal meet international standards?

After Komnas HAM, the file on the Tanjung Priok case languished for three years at the AGO. It was during that time that all kinds of maneuvers took place, like getting the islah. This should be examined, whether there was an element of intent. Why for instance, did it take a year and a half to appoint a special prosecutor after the AGO decided to bring the case to trial?

About standards, we refer to similar human rights tribunals, such as those on Rwanda and Yugoslavia. But there are significant differences. In Yugoslavia, it is easy to test the evidence. Serbian leaders who egged on their people by radio to hate other ethnic groups have already been tried. The recordings of these announcements can become evidence of the existence of systematic planning. That's where we are weak, on our laws covering human rights justice, which still refers to the criminal code, whereas for serious human rights violation, we need a different set of laws. This should be re-examined.

Why weren't L.B. Moerdani and Try Sutrisno indicted?

Where the Tanjung Priok case is concerned, Komnas HAM identified 33 people who were to be made accountable for their actions, including Benny Moerdani and Try Sutrisno. Later, the attorney general indicted 14 of them, excluding those two generals. Attorney General M.A. Rachman should explain to the public the reasons for his decision. We just want a fair trial. Unfortunately, the process is not working well, because islah is being used as an excuse to acquit Pranowo and Sriyanto.

So how do you react to this?

After the attorney general announced the names of those indicted, we sent a letter to him, asking whether there would be other names aside from the selected 14. They replied there would be no other names. Komnas HAM could not explore any further, because we would be entering a technical area in which we could not interfere.

TEMPO found a radiogram from Try Sutrisno, the Regional Military commander then, instructing the Kodim (district military command) to take action against the protesters. Isn't that evidence of his involvement?

That question should be addressed to the AGO. I cannot answer it. People think Try Sutrisno and Benny Moerdani were involved. That is why Komnas HAM has stated those two generals must be made accountable for their actions. In what form, will be up to the prosecutor. Komnas HAM cannot push the prosecution to indict the two generals. The Law on Komnas HAM emphasizes that Komnas Ham cannot be involved in examinations conducted by the prosecutor.

Try Sutrisno is a signatory to the islah agreement. Would that be evidence of guilt?

I don't know. Only his conscience can answer that.

Do you see an abuse of authority by the Prosecutor's Office?

There could be abuse of authority. The one who should question and investigate this is the DPR. They are the controlling institution. I think the incoming DPR will be a lot more critical towards this legal case. Komnas HAM has no authority to pre-judge the prosecutor's office. The police can do this, even though they haven't done it so far because of a sense of `mutual support' (laughing).

Is the quality of the ad hoc tribunal judges still below standard?

Our judges are inexperienced in handling human rights cases. It's a fact. Besides, this tribunal is still very much influenced by politics. Right now, the TNI (Indonesian Military) still wields a lot influence over government affairs. Such influence is felt even inside the courtrooms, especially when the defendants are TNI officers.

Do you have proof of that?

The Kopassus commander, Maj. Gen. Sriyanto, for example, brought one platoon of uniformed Kopassus personnel each time he appeared in court. They filled all the seats. That shouldn't be allowed because it creates a psychological pressure on the judges. Within the justice bureaucracy, which has lived long under authoritarianism, that influence is still very strong. Our human rights justice system is still not independent. There is a psychological problem that remains very influential. We still have to fight for that independence.

On other human rights cases, why weren't there any TNI defendants in the East Timor case?

That is so illogical. In the East Timor case, it can be concluded that security personnel should be made accountable under the law. The East Timor case represents a human rights crime that has broad implications. So Komnas HAM recommended that even ABRI commander General Wiranto should also be made accountable. Strangely, why did the prosecutor acquit [former Regional Military commander] Adam Damiri? If the prosecution didn't have enough evidence on him, why indict him? It's the prosecutor's job to find evidence. The DPR must now investigate whether there is the possibility of abuse in this case.

What went wrong in the East Timor human rights trial?

There were doubts that the tribunal on East Timor did not meet international standards. That is why UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has proposed the formation of a commission of experts to study the case. This will be the basis of his report to the UN Security Council.

If the report is really bad, it would ruin Indonesia's image. There is the possibility, although a small one, that an international human rights tribunal on this will be formed. Right now our Foreign Affairs Department is working overtime to prevent the establishment of such a commission. The problem is, why didn't the DPR evaluate the performance of that ad hoc human rights tribunal? It's happening in our own backyard!

Truthfully, was our human rights tribunal formed in order to try those who violated human rights, or was it to prevent an international human rights tribunal from trying us?

That's a matter of interpretation. Certainly, the existence of such a tribunal indicates that Komnas HAM, the attorney general, the DPR and the president agree there has been serious violation of human rights. The fact that it is ad hoc is fair enough. That is what must be evaluated. There are opinions that favor trials being held in an Indonesian court than an international tribunal. But if domestic courts are unable to handle such trials, we cannot prevent international parties from coming in. Serious violations of human rights have become an international concern. So, it will always attract worldwide attention. Whether we agree or not with the establishment of a commission of experts, is a moot point. International sanctions, however, are not limited to an international human rights tribunal. Sanctions can come in other forms.

The Justice Department has just executed Ayodhya Prasad Chaubey. What is Komnas HAM's view on the death penalty?

International law does not actually forbid the death penalty. But there is a condition: that it should not be someone under 18 years nor a pregnant woman. But since the right to live is universally accepted, there is a recognition that the death penalty should be eliminated in stages. The philosophy behind this death penalty is revenge. Today, the concept of punishment is education. Besides, empirical data show that the death penalty does not reduce crime. If it does, it is only temporary. The root causes of crime are unemployment, poverty and social destruction.

Can it be said that the death penalty is a human rights violation?

From life's point of view, the death penalty contravenes human rights. So if Prof. Achmad Ali (Law professor of Hassanudin University and member of Komnas HAM-Ed.) says that the death penalty is still needed for special crimes, he is using the theory of revenge. But is it effective in suppressing crime? I don't think so.

The police are suspected of torturing Ustad (Islamic religious teacher) Syaifuddin in East Java. Is that how our police force operates?

There are many reports about the police committing human rights violations when handling cases. On Amrozi, there's a lawyer's report on torture by the police. So Komnas HAM has investigated and monitored such accusations, like the incidents at Bulukumba and Manggarai. The results of Komnas HAM's investigation are submitted to the necessary organizations so that improvements are made. I contacted the police chief to ensure that the Komnas HAM findings are not stored away. We will implement a note of agreement between Komnas HAM and the police on monitoring the work of the police. We will try this mechanism first.

Is the fact that the police are using torture an indication of their lack of professionalism?

That should be verified on a case-by-case basis. We have ratified international regulations regarding torture by public officials. So the police cannot use torture to obtain a confession. If that is still practiced, this system used by the police must be corrected. Komnas HAM is still investigating the police's use of violence. This also reflects the police's lack of professionalism. Even without the international ratification, the police can still be brought to court if torture is used. If public officials commit torture, the punishment should be heavier than normal.

By the way, how is Komnas HAM doing these days?

We are investigating many cases: the police shooting at Bulukumba, Manggarai and an old case in Buru Island. Most of the cases still deal with problems of land ownership and eviction. Komnas HAM is not a non-government organization, and it is neither a social organization. This is a state institution. Our budget comes from the National Budget. I receive a salary of Rp12 million a month. But compared to the Corruption Eradication Commission, we are nothing. Their director gets Rp25 million a month. That is why I still have my law practice. What is important is that there is no conflict of interest.

How does Komnas HAM compare with similar institutions in other countries?

In the whole world, there are 100 such human rights commissions. The latest one was formed last February in Saudi Arabia. Compared with such countries, including Malaysia and Thailand, we are in far better condition. They don't have pro-justisia authority like we do.

Abdul Hakim

(He added Garuda Nusantara to his name in his teens, "to sound more nationalist")

Place & Date of Birth:

Pekalongan, West Java, December 12, 1954


Faculty of Law, University of Indonesia (1978) LLM program at Washington University's Faculty of Law (1981-1982) Post-graduate studies on comparative judicial institutions, Political and Government Department, Washington University (1982)


Head, Human Rights Division, Legal Aid Institute (1979) Director, Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (1984-1987) Chairman, Board of Executives of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (1987-1993) Chairman of the Board, Indonesian Association of Advocates (1990-1999) Chairman of Komnas HAM (since 2002)


The Jakarta Post Tuesday, August 31, 2004


TNI bill: Professionally or politically motivated?

Imanuddin Razak, Jakarta

The ongoing deliberation of the Indonesian Military (TNI) bill at the House of Representatives (DPR) in the final days of the House members' terms in office has not only drawn widespread attention, but also strong criticism from related institutions and the public in general.

Both the decision to complete the deliberation before the House members' terms end and the content of the bill itself are equally controversial.

However, the decision to accelerate the deliberation of the bill cannot merely be blamed on the House itself. The outgoing House members likely want to leaving a positive legacy before ending their terms by completing the deliberation of such an important bill. But the government also played a part in pushing the House to finish it before their mandate ends.

The House has pledged to endorse the government-sponsored bill by the end of September. House members have said that they had to finish deliberating the bill this term to allow legislators from the military and the police to take part in the process as the appointed military/police faction will cease to exist in the House.

The Ministry of Defense had previously prepared a TNI bill and submitted it to the State Secretariat. Apparently not satisfied with the content, Cilangkap (TNI headquarters) went ahead and drafted its own bill.

The bill, which has aroused widespread opposition from the public, maintains the military's territorial role (active military posts in every village), which former strongman Soeharto used as a tool to maintain his power. It also allows serving military personnel to accept civilian posts -- as governors, regents and mayors -- without having to resign from the force, a common phenomenon during Soeharto's 32 years in power, known as dual function.

The bill contradicts a stipulation in a People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) decree issued in 2000 that requires military officers to retire before taking such positions.

Critics, including President Megawati Soekarnoputri and her Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) faction at the House, have urged the lawmakers to delay the deliberation of the bill and allow the matter to be taken up by the next House, which will be sworn in on Oct. 1.

Yet, the move by Megawati and PDI-P was indeed controversial as it was announced as Megawati is in a fight to win reelection.

It is difficult not to believe that the move, expected to gain support of "reformist" voters, has no connection with the upcoming Sept. 20 presidential election runoff.

The question is then why has Megawati not raised the issue earlier in her presidency after succeeding Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid in July 2001.

According to the 1945 Constitution, the military is responsible for defense, while the police, which used to be part of the then Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI), are responsible for internal security.

But, the TNI headquarters insisted that such reforms should be done in a gradual manner, while arguing that it would take time for the TNI to change itself after over three decades of enjoying privileges -- mainly in politics and the economy.

Learning from Abdurrahman's ouster in 2001 as well as from her father's (the late president Sukarno) in the mid 1960s, which were due to disharmony with the Army, Megawati has since taken a careful and amiable approach toward the TNI. Such a lenient attitude could be seen from her immediate approval of the TNI's proposal to impose martial law in Aceh last year. It was later downgraded to civilian emergency status earlier this year.

So critical was the opposition against the military bill, that while Megawati was attempting to lure popular votes by issuing such bold and "unusual" decisions, her rival and former Cabinet minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has chosen to remain quiet on the issue.

There has been no explanation for his silence, but it is likely because Susilo, who is a retired Army general, is in a difficult position to face the TNI.

Apparently realizing the public's strong opposition, surprisingly, the TNI headquarters eventually stated that it was not necessary to rush the bill through the House because the soldiers' activities would not be hampered by the absence of the regulation.

Most of us are aware that the country has not fully recovered from the political and economic crises, which began in 1997, so the main concern should not necessarily be whether to complete the deliberation of the bill before the end of next month or to let the new House complete the task.

The deliberation of the TNI bill is not about a "losing" or "winning" game. It is about establishing a legal-political umbrella, as well as guidelines, for the TNI in its attempt to become a professional institution as our founding fathers and all other Indonesians have yearned for.

We need a strong, but professional TNI to protect Indonesia's vast and archipelagic territory from outside threats and help establish a secure state that is conducive for investment and restart the development programs to catch up with the seven-year lapse of development due to the crises.

We cannot let past mistakes happen again, specifically we cannot let the TNI be misguided and stray from the right track.

So, the legal product should not satisfy only the TNI, nor the NGOs only, nor the public only, but should win the support and approval of the majority of the people.

That is what democracy means, does it not?

The author is a staff writer for The Jakarta Post. He can be reached at

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