Anti-terrorist law revisions to give greater role to TNI

Kompas – September 10, 2003
Justice and Human Rights Minister Yusril Ihza Mahendra (Tempo)
Justice and Human Rights Minister Yusril Ihza Mahendra (Tempo)

Jakarta – The government has acknowledged that one of the intentions of the revisions or amendments to Law Number 15/2003 on the Elimination of Criminal Acts of Terrorism is to give a role to the Indonesian armed forces (TNI). Giving this role to the TNI is not considered to be in contradiction with the decision to separate the national police from the TNI because the character of terrorism is transnational and can be categorised as a external threat to national sovereignty.

This issue was raised by the Coordinating Minister for Politics and Security, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the Minister for Justice and Human Rights, Yusril Ihza Mahendra, following a politics and security coordination meeting on Tuesday September 9. “Terrorism in its broader meaning touches on aspects of security and at the same time law”, said Yudhoyono.

In order to deal with terrorism in a complete and integrated manner, the police, judiciary, courts and intelligence institutions shall have respective roles and positions in combating terrorism. “Likewise the TNI [will have a role]. The TNI has the capacity, established units, they are trained and equipped to deal with acts of terror”, he said.

Yudhoyono said that the TNI’s role would be different from other security agencies and will be regulated under the revisions to Law Number 15/2003. “Some of this is already regulated under Law Number 15/2003. That which hasn’t will be sharpened up in the revisions to the law”, he said.

The old TNI

Yusril acknowledged that he has had extensive discussions [on the matter] with TNI chief General Endriartono Sutarto. With regard to the stipulations in MPR Decree Number VII/2000 on the [respective] roles of the TNI and police in which the roles of the TNI and police have been explicitly separated, he asked that this not been viewed to rigidly.

According to Yusril, terrorism can be viewed as one of the threats against the sovereignty of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia. The TNI therefore has a legal basis to take part in dealing with terrorism.

According to Yusril the revisions to Law Number 15/2003 will provide a clear legal basis on the TNI’s powers in dealing with terrorism, not just in terms of rescuing hostages. The TNI will also be able to carry out measures to combat, prevent and check acts of terrorism.

“Providing powers to the TNI will not result in, will not be as if the TNI will return to being the old TNI. Decree Number VII/2000 and VIII/2000 provide for this possibility”, he said.

Although the role and coordination of intelligence agencies will be added to, Yusril explained that the intelligence agencies will not be given powers to arrest or interrogate a person who is suspected to be planning an act of terrorism. (INU)

[Translated by James Balowski.]