Jakarta -- The Defense Department through the Directorate General of Defense Strategy has admitted that one of the intentions in revising Law Number 15/2003 on Anti-Terrorism is to increase the powers of the intelligence agencies. This revision would mean an increase in the power of intelligence agencies [giving them the authority] to hunt down and arrest those who are suspected of intending or planning to carry out an act of terrorism.
This issue was taken up by Major General Sudradjat from the department of defense’s Directorate General of Defense Strategy when asked for his views on the [proposed] revisions to the anti-terrorist law during the launch of the book “Hasnan Habib 75 Years: A Thinking General and Jakarta Diplomat” on Thursday (29/8).
“We need to carefully study and scrutinize Law Number 15/2003 in the framework of the national interest. In our view this legislation does not providing enough power to intelligence agencies to carry out their task in confronting terrorism. Intelligence personnel in the field need a stronger legal framework”, he said.
According to Sudradjat, in eliminating terrorism two operations need to be conducted, that is an anti-terrorist operation and an operation to combat terror. The anti-terrorist operation is related to making changes so that terrorist acts do not create a troubled atmosphere. Meanwhile the operation to combat terrorism is related to efforts to hunt down, arrest and defeat future terrorist acts.
In Sudradjat’s assessment, as a legal instrument to eliminate terrorism, Law Number 15/2003 does not give enough power to police intelligence. “Security personnel in the field need a legal framework to be able to hunt down and arrest those who intend and are planning to carry out acts of terrorism”, he explained.
According to Sudradjat, Law Number 15/2003 which is in the process of being reviewed does not give the power to intelligence agencies to hunt down and arrest those who intend and plan to carry out acts of terrorism. Law Number 15/2003 only provides a legal basis to hunt down and arrests the perpetrators after an act of terrorism has occurred.
Also at the book launch, political and military observer Salim Said saw the need for caution in revising Law Number 15/2003 and [said] that it would be extremely dangerous if the power of intelligence agencies were added to on the grounds of eliminating terrorism.
“The elimination of terrorism is not an issue of legislation or its legal framework, but an issue of the competency and capacity of our security forces. It would be extremely dangerous if the security forces power were added to without improving their competency and capacity [to deal with terrorism]. If you don’t like your reflection, don’t blame the mirror”, he said. (inu)
[Translated by James Balowski.]