Singgih Wiryono, Jakarta – Amnesty International Indonesia Executive Director Usman Hamid has refused an offer to become a member of the Munir Murder Case Ad Hoc Investigation Team being formed by the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM).
"Yes, that's correct (I refused to become a member of the ad hoc team)", said Hamid in an SMS message on Wednesday September 7.
Hamid refused to join the team because in his view the assassination of renowned human rights defender Munir Said Thalib was clearly a gross human rights violation.
Because of this, he believes that Komnas HAM does not need to form an ad hoc team to determine if the case is a gross human rights violation or not.
"I appreciate the trust given to me [in asking me] to become an ad hoc team member but I have refused the appointment. Komnas HAM must immediately declare the Munir assassination as a gross human rights violation. For us, there is no longer any doubt that this crime was a crime against humanity", said Hamid.
In addition to this, Hamid said that the work of the ad hoc team to be formed by Komnas HAM would be difficult to implement because its commissioners are due to be replaced in two months time.
On the other hand, Hamid also said that Komnas HAM already has all of the evidence needed to designate the case as a gross human rights violation.
"Komnas HAM must indeed immediately declare Munir's case as a gross human rights violation in the category of crimes against humanity, without delaying it further", he said.
Earlier, Komnas HAM appointed five members to the ad hoc team to investigate whether or not the Munir case is an alleged gross human rights violation. One of them was Hamid who was formerly the secretary of the Fact Finding Team (TPF) into the Munir murder case.
Komnas HAM Chairperson Ahmad Taufan Damanik explained that the commission appointed two Komnas HAM commissioners as internal representatives on the team, namely himself and research division commissioner Sandrayati Moniaga. The other three member of the team will be members of the public who are acquainted with the Munir case.
"One of the three has already been contacted and has declared their readiness [to join the team], namely Brother Usman Hamid. We are in the process of contacting the other two to ask if they are ready, but because there has not been any response yet, we can't mention their names today", said Damanik during a press conference at the Komnas HAM offices in Jakarta on Wednesday.
In the end however, Hamid refused to join the team after asking for time to make a decision.
On September 7 this year the Munir case reached its 18 year statute of limitations for a murder case, making it legally impossible for the state to reopen the case should it continue to treat it as an ordinary crime. Human rights groups have long been urging the Komnas HAM to declare Munir's assassination as a gross human rights violation, which has no statute of limitation. The commission, however, has been dragging its feet and was only able to form an ad hoc team to probe the case on Wednesday, the exact day the case expired.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Usman Hamid Tolak Jadi Anggota Tim Ad Hoc Kasus Pembunuhan Munir".]