Concern Bloody Paniai case will stall after AGO returns investigation dossier

Source – March 20, 2020
Komnas HAM Commissioner M Choirul Anam speaks to reporters – Undated (Suara)

Chandra Iswinarno, Ria Rizki Nirmala Sari – The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) has return the investigation dossier on alleged gross human rights (HAM) violations during the bloody Paniai incident to the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM).

Responding to this, the Komnas HAM suspects that there is potential for the investigation into the case to come to a halt.

Komnas HAM Commissioner M Choirul Anam says that they have already received the dossier from the AGO. He has already read it and will send it back to the AGO again.

“We will prepare a response to send back with it. I myself have only given it a quick read”, said Anam when contacted on Friday March 20.

After reading the explanation from the AGO, Anam found the classic justifications, namely the AGO’s understanding of investigative powers into the Paniai incident which occurred in 2004.

Anam explained that the AGO has the power to investigate and take the case to trial.

“But what there was was the old understanding and old attitude which has consistently been pursued by the AGO. There’s nothing new although in legal terms the AGO could feasibly do it. Either as regulated under Law Number 26/2000 [on a Human Rights Court] or under the KUHAP [Criminal Procedural Code]”, he said.

Furthermore, he believes that if the investigation process into the Paniai incident only adheres to legal procedures then it will be understood as the political application of human rights which goes nowhere.

Anam said he deeply regrets this particularly as it is known that the gross human rights violations which occurred in Paniai are still recent. Yet the reality is that the AGO does not see that it has a commitment to resolve this case.

“It should be that in looking at an incident that occurred not long ago, this case can be taken over. It could be handled directly by the AGO which has the power to both investigate and prosecute. Not instead giving the impression of playing for time with an old narrative”, he said.

Furthermore, Anam also sees that there is the possibility that the investigation into the Paniai case will halt mid-way or stall because of the AGO’s justification which still adheres to legal mechanisms.

“In this context it can be said that it could potentially stall, because of the repetitive old narrative. Because of this a serious breakthrough is need on the question of authority. For example does Komnas HAM need to be given additional powers. So that the weak link in the chain which is obstructing the full resolution of HAM violations be quickly broken”, he said.

As reported earlier, the Paniai investigation dossier was returned after the AGO declared that the dossier had failed to meet the requirements and evidence to qualify as a gross human rights violation.

AGO Legal Information Centre head Hari Setiyono said that the Paniai investigation dossier was returned to Komnas HAM on Thursday March 19.

Based on the results of a study by the investigators at the AGO’s special crimes directorate, the investigation dossier was deemed to be incomplete or had not yet meet the requirements for an incident to be raised to the level of an investigation into a gross human rights violation.

“Both in terms of formal requirements as well as material requirements, and because of this the investigation dossier is declared to have inadequate evidence to fulfill the elements of a gross HAM violation”, said Setiyono in an official release received by on Friday.

Setiyono said that the quite significant inadequacies related to material evidence which failed to fulfill all of the stipulations of the relevant articles, namely Article 9 of Law Number 26/2000 on a Human Rights Court.

According to Setiyono advice on how to address the deficiencies in the investigation dossier have already been conveyed by the AGO’s investigative team in a letter which was signed by Attorney General ST Burhanuddin and dated March 13.


On December 8, 2014, barely two months after President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo was sworn in as president, five high-school students were killed and 17 others seriously injured when police and military opened fire on a group of protesters and local residents in the town of Enarotali, Paniai regency. Shortly after the incident Widodo personally pledged to resolve the case but four years into his presidency no one has been held accountable for the shootings.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Kejagung Kembalikan Berkas Kasus Paniai, Komnas HAM: Berpotensi Mandek”.]