Bloody Paniai case likely to stall as AGO returns case dossier, yet again

CNN Indonesia – June 5, 2020
Mourners prepare Bloody Paniai victims for burial – December 2014 (berita55)

Jakarta – The National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) has picked up indications that the Bloody Paniai human rights case in Papua will stall like other human rights cases. The indications of this emerged after the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) again returned the investigation dossier and documents on the case to Komnas HAM.

“Komnas HAM completed the investigation and the investigation results were submitted to the Attorney General. The back and forth of the dossier has the potential for the case to stall, heading towards impunity”, said Komnas HAM investigator for the Paniai case, Munafrizal Manan during a press conference on Thursday June 4.

Rizal, as he is known, said that the AGO has twice returned the Paniai case dossier to Komnas HAM.

According to Rizal, the return of the dossier this time round was the fastest yet. He said that the case dossier was returned exactly 37 days after Komnas HAM sent it to the AGO on April 14.

“The return of the investigation dossier this second time was accompanied by arguments that were similar to when it was returned the first time. This represents a relatively quick return”, he said.

The AGO first returned the Paniai case dossier to Komnas HAM on March 20. The dossier was returned on the grounds that lacked evidence.

After making corrections, Komnas HAM then sent the dossier back to the AGO on April 14. Not long after this, on April 20, the dossier was sent back to Komnas HAM.

Komnas HAM Commissioner Ahmad Taufan Damanik believes that the return of the dossier indicates that the Paniai case will not be resolved.

He is therefore asking President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to follow five steps to resolve the human rights (HAM) violations in Paniai.

“This represents an opportunity for the president to live up to his promise for justice, there are five things which done by the president”, said Damanik during a video conference.

First, the president must ensure that the investigation goes ahead and is done independently and professionally in accordance with the principles of human rights.

Second, the president must order whoever is linked to the Paniai case to be cooperative and assert that obstruction of justice in the Paniai case will be acted on in accordance with prevailing laws.

Then, Komnas HAM is also asking the president to form an independent team of investigators and prosecutors if the criminal investigation by the AGO fails to produce a result.

“In accordance with the stipulations of Law Number 26/2000 on a Human Rights Court which is filled with credible figures, the president can order the formation of a special team of investigators”, said Damanik.

“The president could also augment Komnas HAM’s powers so it can conduct criminal investigations and prosecutors in cases of HAM violations”, he said.

According to Damanik, it would not be difficult to resolve the Paniai case because it occurred quite recently and there are no difficulties in gathering evidence. All that it needs is political will on the part of the president so the Paniai case can be resolved.

“Komnas HAM’s scope in accordance with regulations is discovering if there has been a gross HAM violation or not, then after proving it, we give the evidence along with the documents to the Attorney General. The follow up process simple and easy”, explained Damanik. (mln/wis)


On December 8, 2014, barely two months after Widodo was sworn in as president, five high-school students were killed and 17 others seriously injured when police and military opened fire on a group of protesters and local residents in the town of Enarotali, Paniai regency. Shortly after the incident Widodo personally pledged to resolve the case but six years into his presidency no one has been held accountable for the shootings.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Bolak-balik Berkas, Kasus Paniai Berdarah Berpotensi Mandek”.]