Frustration over Komnas HAM's failure to declare Munir murder gross rights violation

Source – September 7, 2023
Suciwati at commemoration of Munir's death at Komnas HAM offices in Central Jakarta – September 7, 2023 (Kompas)

Singgih Wiryono, Jakarta – Solidarity Action Committee for Munir (KASUM) Secretary General Bivitri Susanti has expressed frustration with the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), which has made no move to declare the assassination of renowned human rights activists Munir Said Talib a gross human rights violation.

This was conveyed by Susanti in a speech marking 19 years since Munir's death that was held in front of the Komnas HAM offices in Central Jakarta on Thursday September 7.

Susanti said that on dozens of occasions they have enquired about what steps Komnas HAM has made on Munir's assassination, but there has been no point of clarity on the case.

"KASUM, Cak [brother] Munir's family, Mbak [sister] Suci (Suciwati, Munir's wife) and all of us. We don't just stand here every September 7, we have met with Komnas HAM, who knows, dozens of times. Perhaps informally hundreds of times", she said.

And they have not just met with Komnas HAM. KASUM has also held audiences with the police and the Attorney General's Office in order to provide assurances to Komnas HAM.

The Jentera Legal Academy (STH) lecturer said that the fight has not just ended there. KASUM has also taken part in various court hearings into the Munir case which have never touched on the mastermind behind the assassination.

KASUM has even conducted a study so that Komnas HAM can work more easily to determine if the case is a gross human rights violation.

"Lacking a study, we conducted a study, we drafted a legal opinion, we brought in experts from outside, even to say that this it is clear, Cak Munir, on September 7, 19 years ago, was not only murdered, but also tortured", she said.

"This is because the poison that was administered into his body tortured him for hours and in the end Cak Munir left all of us. We are also talking about a figure who was very inspirational who became a motor for the fight for human rights in this country", concluded Susanti.

Munir's assassination

Munir died on September 7, 2004 on Garuda Indonesia flight GA-974 from Jakarta to Amsterdam via Singapore.

A report in the September 8, 2004 Kompas Daily said that Munir died around two hours before the flight landed at the Schipol Airport in Amsterdam, Holland, at 8.10 am local time.

The autopsy results showed that there was arsenic in the body of the former chairperson of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras).

Legal proceedings against the people involved in Munir's assassination have already been carried out. A court sentenced former Garuda Indonesia pilot Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto to 14 years in prison for the murder.

The courts also sentenced then Garuda Indonesia Executive Director Indra Setiawan to one year in prison for assigning Priyanto to the same flight as Munir.

A number of facts that came out in the court hearings even mentioned the alleged involvement of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) in the assassination.

However no senior BIN officials have ever been found guilty by the courts. On December 13, 2008, former BIN deputy Muchdi Purwoprandjono, a defendant in the case, was acquitted of all charges.


On September 7, 2022, the Munir case reached its 18 year statute of limitations for a murder case, making it legally impossible for the state to reopen the case should it continue to treat it as an ordinary crime. Human rights groups have long been urging the Komnas HAM to declare Munir's assassination as a gross human rights violation, which has no statute of limitation. It is widely suspected that Komnas HAM is reluctant to do this because of the alleged involvement powerful figures such as former BIN chief HM Hendropriyono in Munir's assassination.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Kekesalan Kasum Ratusan Kali Bertemu Komnas HAM Bahas Kasus Munir, Tak Ada Kemajuan".]