Subject: Can Police Investigate TNI Soldiers?: Military Court Bill Stalemated

also: 2 JP reports: Terrorism drill for police, TNI; and Anti-terror drill jolts pedestrians

The Jakarta Post

December 20, 2008

Military court bill in stalemate

Irawaty Wardany, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The amendment of the military tribunal law has hit a deadlock at the House of Representatives with the government adamant that civilian police cannot be authorized to investigate soldiers accused of nonmilitary crimes.

The deliberations of the draft bill to amend the 1997 law have been stuck on this issue for the past three months, lawmaker Andreas H. Paraira told a press conference Friday.

"The government is yet to accept that the investigation process (of military personnel) shall be done according to the general court system," said Andreas, who chairs a House special committee to deliberate the bill.

However, he added that the government -- in this case the Defense Ministry -- had agreed with the House that soldiers should be tried by public courts, not military tribunals, for criminal charges.

After three years of discussing the bill, the House and the government are still divided over which authorities should investigate military officers involved in nonmilitary offenses, Andreas said.

"We are still debating whether police or military police investigators should be granted the right to investigate criminal cases involving military personnel," said deputy head of the special committee for the amendment Azis Syamsuddin.

He confirmed that the government refused to allow police to investigate nonmilitary charges against soldiers.

"We are facing difficulties with the government's stance, which does not seem to fully accept reforms in the military court system," said Aslaini Agus, another deputy head of the special committee.

She said that if the government agreed to allow public courts to try military personnel, it should also allow all mechanisms in the general court system to be applied for accused soldiers.

"That is where the core problem lies: The government agrees to let civilian courts deal with cases involving Army personnel but insists the investigation into them be handled by investigators from the military police," Aslaini said.

Doni Ardianto from the Democratic Education Association (P2D), speaking at the same press conference, said the amendment to the law was not only a matter of reforming the Indonesian Military (TNI) but also about giving greater protection to the rights of its personnel.

"We have seen many cases handled by the military court that neglected the rights of TNI members," he said.

Examples of these violations were that military suspects did not have the right to inform their families about their arrest, or to appoint their own lawyers.

"Most likely they will not be able to get these rights if they are tied to the military judicial system," Doni added.

Bhatara Ibnu Reza from human rights group Imparsial said that in investigating crimes based on the integrated criminal justice system, the civilian police, not the military police, should take charge.

"Putting the military police into this system will make it as though they have jurisdiction in the general court system, and this will lead to chaos in the implementation of the Criminal Code Procedures," he added.


The Jakarta Post December 20, 2008

Terrorism drill for police, TNI

Indah Setiawati, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar

People around Kuta, Uluwatu and Nusa Dua in Badung regency have been asked to stay calm Sunday morning, when Bali Police and Udayana Military Command will conduct joint drills in the areas in preparation for possible terrorist attacks.

The drills are planned in response to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's request to react to recent terrorism attacks, such as the well-coordinated one in Mumbai, India, in which 172 people died, Udayana Military Commander Maj. Gen. Hotmangaradja Pandjaitan said.

The police and military squads will execute simultaneous simulations in three hotels -- Hard Rock, Intercontinental and Westin.

"Bali is certainly a potential target for terrorism but I confirm that there is currently no real terror threat for Bali," Bali Police chief Insp. Gen. Teuku Ashikin Husein told reporters.

"We want people around the drill locations not to worry or be scared, because it is just for practice."

He said the drills would involve different kinds of terror scenarios that would involve cooperation between police, soldiers and officers of the Bali administration.

"If the terrorists carry heavy guns and bombs, the military will deploy an anti-terror squad to knock them down. The administration officers will call the firefighters and call the ambulances and send them to the hospitals, while the police will take care of the legal action," Husein said.

He said the police and military would each deploy a helicopter and anti-terror squads during the drill, during which there will be some explosions.

Police will temporarily close some streets heading to the three locations and redirect traffic to help the drill run smoothly.

The streets to be temporarily closed include Jl. Legian, Jl. Melasti, Jl. Tegal Wangi and Jl. Pantai Kuta, all near the Hard Rock Hotel.

The Uluwatu three-junction, Kedonganan market intersection, Four Season three-junction and Kali intersection, which lead to the Intercontinental Hotel on Jl. Uluwatu, will also be blocked.

Security at the Nusa Dua entrance will be tightened and the intersections near a roundabout that leads to the Westin Hotel will be closed.

Hotmangaradja said the simulation demonstrated the deep concern of the police and military about the overseas terrorism attacks and would not let it happen in Bali.

"Although the drill is taking place in only three places, we will maintain security around others, including religious sites, crowded areas and tourism sites," he said.

He said his intelligence officers were continuing to monitor and report on the situation in the island.

Such drills will become more frequent in 2009, with programs and funding currently in preparation, he added.


The Jakarta Post

December 20, 2008

Anti-terror drill jolts pedestrians

BANDUNG, W. Java: An anti-terror drill held by soldiers of the 300th Raider Banjar Kedaton Battalion in Preanger Hotel in Bandung on Thursday, jolted pedestrians who passed Jl. Asia Afrika, Jl. Tamblong and Jl. Naripan as they could hear loud bomb explosions and gun shots.

"I was surprised as I thought that it was a real bombing," said Yuniwati, 24, who passed Jl. Naripan from her office.

The Siliwangi Military Command chief, Maj. Gen. Rasyid Qurnuen Aquary, said the simulation was aimed at preparing the anti-terror battalion to face any possible terror threat, like what happened in Mumbai, India, recently.

The scenario was that 10 terrorists were holding West Java Governor Yusuf Macan Effendi, who was having a meeting with foreign investors, hostage with 100 soldiers being deployed.

"We cannot take the threat of terrorism lightly. We prepare ourselves by having this simulation," Rasyid said.

"The Siliwangi Military Command now has just one battalion of some 700 soldiers with anti-terrorism skills."

Meanwhile, West Java Police chief Insp. Gen. Timur Pradopo said the army could set cooperation with police to handle any forms of terror.

"We will deploy some 12,000 police officers to guard vital and public places during Christmas celebrations," he said.

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