On TNI’s 75th anniversary, Kontras highlights stalled military justice reform

Kompas.com – October 5, 2020
TNI personnel face off against protesters in Jakarta – Undated (CNN)

Rakhmat Nur Hakim, Jakarta – The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) has highlighted stalled reform of military justice over the last decade. This was conveyed by Kontras researcher Danu Pratana during a virtual press conference marking the 75th anniversary of the TNI.

“Reform of military justice has never proceeded. It can be said that over the last decade it has been marking time and there has been almost no significant progress”, said Pratana.

He added that at the same time cases of violence committed by TNI members has continued to increase from year to year.

Pratana said that between October 2018 and September 2019 there were as many as 58 cases of violence involving TNI personnel and civilian victims. Meanwhile between October 2019 and September 2020 there were as many as 76 cases involving the TNI.

Despite this, cases of violence committed by the TNI are still dealt with in military courts, even though they are general crimes under civilian law.

Yet, continued Pratana, Article 65 of Law Number 34/2004 on the TNI states that TNI members who commit general crimes can be prosecuted and tried in civilian courts.

The fact is however, there are still many cases of general crimes involving TNI members which are tried by military courts. These cases cover drug related crimes, crimes against morality, fraud, commercial crimes and sexual violence.

“If you really want to adhere to Article 65 they should be tried in civilian courts. This is where the problem is, they’re still tried in military courts along with military crimes such as desertion”, said Pratana.

“Why is this so? Because we want transparency and equality so when there are soldiers who commit crimes they are treated the same as civilians when they commit a crime. So there is equality before the law”, he continued.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “75 Tahun TNI, Kontras Soroti Mandeknya Reformasi Peradilan Militer”.]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2020/10/05/06392871/75-tahun-tni-kontras-soroti-mandeknya-reformasi-peradilan-militer