NGOs call for independent commission to investigate Munir assassination

Source – September 4, 2006
Protesters demand justice for murdered rights activist Munir (Kontan)
Protesters demand justice for murdered rights activist Munir (Kontan)

Arfi Bambani Amri, Jakarta – The investigation into the assassination of human rights defender Munir has reached a dead end even though former Garuda Airlines pilot Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto has been convicted for the murder.

Non-government organisations (NGOs) are therefore calling on the government to form an independent commission to investigate the Munir case. The commission must have broader powers than the Munir Fact Finding Team (TPF) that has already been disbanded.

The call was made by dozens of NGOs including the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), the Indonesian Environment Forum (Walhi), the Independent Journalist Association (AJI) and the Institute for Public Research and Advocacy (Elsam). The groups said that the investigation was never finished properly and many irregularities need to be straightened out.

“[What is needed is] An independent teams like the Corruption Eradication Team (Timtas Tipikor)”, said Kontras coordinator Usman Hamid at the Kontras offices on Jl. Borobudur, Jakarta, on Monday September 4.

Hamid explained that the independent team that they are proposing would follow up on the findings of the TPF. With broader powers it is hoped that the team will be able to force the police to investigate the Munir assassination in accordance with procedures.

“We want an audit of the police that were involved in the investigation. We suspect that the reassignment of the head of the team investigating the Munir assassination at national police headquarters [Brigadier General Marsudi Hanafi] was an attempt to weaken the investigation of the case”, said Hamid.


Hamid also raised questions about changes to the charges against Pollycarpus who was sentenced to 14 years for Munir’s murder. The changes referred to by Hamid was the charge of premeditated murder by use of falsified documents becoming a charge falsifying documents to commit premeditated murder.

According to Hamid, the change to the charges significantly influenced the follow up investigation into the Munir case. A charge of premeditated murder using falsified documents means there were other people that were responsible for falsifying the documents. A charge of falsifying documents to commit the murder meanwhile means that it was as if the only perpetrator of the crime was Pollycarpus.

“Given the irregularities in the uncovering of the Munir case, there is an obligation to form an independent team”, asserted Hamid. (djo)

[Translated by James Balowski.]