Anwar Khumaini, Jakarta – The raid by New South Wales police on Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso’s hotel room in Sydney, Australia, should be considered as a routine matter. In upholding cases of gross human rights violations, it is not just state officials that could be arrested but even the president can be arrested if he is involved in gross human rights violations.
“Alberto (sic) Pinochet (the former president of Chile) was able to be arrested”, said the coordinator of the Human Rights Working Group (HRWG), Rafendi Djamin during a press conference at the offices of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) on Jl. Borobudur in Central Jakarta on Thursday May 31.
Djamin said that even a president who has political immunity can be arrested let alone Sutiyoso who does not have any political immunity. “If [they] are involved in international crimes they can also still be arrested”, he said.
He said that Indonesia itself could in fact take similar actions to those taken by the Australian police. If there were a president or other state official that was involved in committing gross human rights violations, Indonesia would have the right to question them. “Indonesia has ratified the Convention on Torture, so it can also arrest government officials or other heads of state that have violated human rights”, he added.
Djamin added that it is not just Sutiyoso that could experience such a thing but former General Wiranto could also be arrested if he goes overseas because he has also been involved in cases of gross human rights violations in East Timor. “He could become a suspect based on international crimes and universal jurisdiction”, he said accusingly. (ziz/nrl)
According to United Nations police, who in 2000 began a formal investigation into the killing of five Australian-based journalists at Balibo, then Captain Sutiyoso was one of several officers involved in the attack and other clandestine operations against Portuguese East Timor in 1975. In October of that year, Sutiyoso led an assault by Indonesian troops on the sleepy coastal town of Batugade in Timor, the first time that Jakarta had occupied and held a foreign town and the precursor to the full-scale invasion of East Timor two months later.
[Translated by James Balowski.]