Draft intelligence law – BIN could become supporter of state power

Kompas – October 16, 2004
Head of YLBHI board of directors Munarman pictured right (Viva)
Head of YLBHI board of directors Munarman pictured right (Viva)

Jakarta, Kompas – In examining the Draft Law on the Fundamentals of Intelligence, the National Intelligence Agency (BIN) has the potential to became a body which will be inseparable from the state. The stipulations in the law could turn BIN into a super-body, with excessive powers and a tendency to take over judicial functions. The law will also turn BIN into secret police rather than a secret agency as can be seen from the authority it gives BIN to carry out arrests which should only he held by judicial bodies.

This statement was made by the head of the board of directors of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI), Munarman, and the coordinator for the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), Usman Hamid, at a press conference at the YLBHI offices in Jakarta on Friday October 15.

From studies of the Draft Intelligence Law as it stood on September 5, 2003, it can be seen that there are a number of extremely dangerous articles which conflict with the principles of human rights and clean democratic government. “We therefore urge the new president [elect] and the DPR [People’s Representative Assembly] to take over the legal drafting [of the law] which is presently being done by BIN”, said Munarman.

Munarman pointed out that the stipulations in the law are such that it places BIN in a role where it only focuses on handling issues of terrorism. BIN is “reduced” into little more than a secret police who are merely charged with the duty of pursuing criminals. In reality BIN’s function should be to seek, find, manage and present information which is required by the political authorities to take decisions. With the limits which are setout in the draft law, BIN will become an agency which is inseparable from the regime and simply a supporter of state power.

Both YLBHI and Kontras are of the view if these articles get through it will be a huge catastrophe. The authority to arrest as given to BIN in the law clearly indicates that the intelligence body wants to take action on the information which it obtains and analyses when any action taken on the basis of intelligence information should be taken by the authorities with the appropriate jurisdiction.

Moreover, the stipulations that state that BIN’s funding will come from the state budget, a special presidential budget as well being able to seek its own funds could even open up the possibility of BIN taking part in illegal arms trade. (dik)

[Translated by James Balowski.]