Family of murdered Papuan pastor want killer tried in human rights court

CNN Indonesia – December 24, 2020
Indonesian soldiers conduct military operations in Papua – Undated (Antara)

Jakarta – The family of Pastor Yeremia Zanambani, who was shot dead in Hitadipa district, Intan Jaya regency, Papua, on September 19, are asking that the case be tried in a human rights court. They oppose having the trial being taken to a military tribunal.

"They (Yeremia's family) want the case to be heard in a human rights court, so that the perpetrator can be tried in accordance with his actions and there will be justice for the victim. The victim's family has no faith in the legal process of a military tribunal", said a member of the team of lawyers representing Zanambani's family, Yohanis Mambrasar, in a press release received by CNN Indonesia on Thursday December 24.

In early October the government formed the Intan Jaya Joint Fact Finding Team (TGPF) to investigate the case. The team found allegations of the involvement of security personnel in the murder of the religious figure.

In a press release on Wednesday meanwhile, the commander of the Army's Military Police Centre, Lieutenant General Dodik Widjanarko, said that the Army Headquarters Legal Process Reinforcement Team is in the process of attempting to question 21 personnel from the 400 Raider Military Battalion in relation to the shooting.

Aside from questioning the 21 personnel, Widjanarko said that they have also questioned 14 personnel from the Cendrawasih XVII Regional Military Command's (Kodam) Penebalan Apter Military Operational Unit Task Force.

Mambrasar further said that he deplored the legal handling of the case which should already be at a more advanced stage in the investigation.

"Like arresting and declaring suspects, because there's already enough evidence. There are many witnesses and the indicating evidence is already very strong [and enough] to explain the case and the perpetrator", he said.

He also said other such cases which have occurred in Papua recently such as the murder to two youths named Luter Zanambani and Apinus Zanambani on April 21, the torching of a healthcare office on September 19 and the shooting of Agus Duwitau on October 7 must also be resolved by a human rights court.

Mambrasar explained that as regulated under Article 9 in conjunction with Article 7(b) of Law Number 26/2000 on a Human Rights Court, the elements of a gross human rights violation in these cases – including Zanambani's shooting – have already been met.

"As referred to under Article 7, namely that there were acts of violent killing which took place in a systematic and broad manner", he said. (yoa/asr)


Although the government sanctioned TGPF only said that it found indications of the involvement of security personnel in Zanambani's murder, an investigation by the government's own National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) explicitly named Zanambani's murderer as being Hitadipa sub-district military commander Chief Sergeant Alpius Hasim Madi. Komnas HAM said that Zanambani was killed while being interrogated about the whereabouts of an Indonesian military assault rifle seized two days earlier during an exchange of fire with the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB).

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Keluarga Korban Minta Kasus Intan Jaya Diadili Pengadilan HAM".]