Komnas HAM finds widespread torture, murder committed by TNI in Papua

Kompas – January 5, 2011
Komnas Ham commissioner Ridha Saleh (Merdeka)
Komnas Ham commissioner Ridha Saleh (Merdeka)

Jakarta – The National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) says human rights violations were committed in cases of torture and murder that took place in Puncak Jaya, Papua, although it is not recommending the formation of a human rights court.

“Reverend Kinderman Gire was murdered by TNI [Indonesian military] personnel. This was confirmed during the interrogations”, said Komnas HAM chairperson Ifdhal Kasim on Tuesday January 4. The head of the Acts of Violence Investigation and Monitoring Team in Puncak Jaya, Ridha Saleh emphasised that the findings are also a refutation of a TNI statement not long ago that the incident in Papua was a case of disobedience of a superior’s orders, not a human rights violation.

According to the account obtained by Komnas HAM, Reverend Kinderman Gire, who was a member of the Toragi Evangelical Church of Indonesia Synod in Tinggi Nambut district, was waiting for a vehicle that was to deliver fuel that he had ordered. When a group of TNI soldiers from Infantry Battalion 756 passed by going in the opposite direction Kinderman was tortured then taken away. Two weeks later his [decapitated] head was found on the banks of a river.

In relation to the violent incident recorded on video and later uploaded on YouTube, the torture and abuse depicted was also a form of human rights violations because it involved the depravation of physical liberty and torture by TNI soldiers..

Based on the results of this investigation, Komnas HAM will be submitting a recommendation that there be a change to the state’s security approach, improvements in the TNI’s professionalism and that an investigation and action be taken by law enforcement agencies.

“We are not recommending a human rights court because the [legal] framework we are using is Law Number 39/1999 [on basic human rights]”, said Ifdhal. Unlike Law Number 26/2000 on human rights courts, Law Number 39 does not cover the establishment of a human rights court. Although Ifdhal admitted there was a debate on the matter, Komnas HAM did not find that there were systematic human rights violations.

Stanley Adi Prasetyo from Komnas HAM said there were no systematic violations although they found more than 70 cases of torture in Papua between 2004 and 2010. “It wasn’t systematic, but widespread”, said Ifdhal. (EDN)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the report was Human rights: Komnas HAM finds violations.]