Aceh rights violators from TNI to be tried in military court

Source – June 22, 2006
Interim Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation director Patra Zen (Tribune)
Interim Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation director Patra Zen (Tribune)

Ahmad Dani, Jakarta – Common crimes committed by members of the TNI (Indonesian military) in Aceh must be tried in civilian courts. Unfortunately, the Draft Law on Aceh Government (RUU-PA) in fact seeking the opposite. Common crimes by members of the TNI will still be processed in military courts.

This was conveyed by the ad interim director of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI), Patra Zen, during a press conference at his office on Jl. Borobudur in Jakarta on Tuesday June 22.

According to Zen, indications that general crimes by military personnel will be tried in a military court can be seen from Article 154 of the draft law. Within this article it states that crimes committed by TNI members in Aceh shall be tried in accordance with prevailing laws.

“There in explicit terms it is clear that they will be directed to military courts. If [the crime] is desertion it doesn’t matter, but these are common crimes”, said Zen.

Zen believes that this is an example of the inconsistencies by the members of the House of Representatives (DPR) in the deliberations on military courts. According to the Draft Law on the Military, they have rejected using the military courts to try military officers who commit common crimes. But in the case of the RUU-PA, the DPR members appear to be staying silent.

“It appears there are political interests. We are asking the RUU-PA Special Committee at the DPR to explicitly say that all common crimes committed by TNI personnel must be examined and tried in civil courts”, said Zen.

Aside form military courts, there are other suspicious things in the draft law. One of these is the whitewashing of past gross human rights crimes such as during the period Aceh was declared a military operational zone [between 1989 to 1998]. “Many things in the RUU-PA also go against the constitution and other laws”, said Zen.(djo)

[Translated by James Balowski.]