Submitted by the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), Hong Kong, October, 2007
To facilitate the analysis of the problem of torture in Indonesia, this report makes comments on the situation of torture in Indonesia, based on the list of recommendations by the UN Committee against Torture (CAT Committee) that was concluded in November 2002.
Recommendations made by the CAT Committee (Concluding Observations: Indonesia. 01/11/2002. A/57/44,paras.36-46. (Concluding Observations/Comments):
(a) Amend the penal legislation so that torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishments are offences strictly prohibited under criminal law, in terms fully consistent with the definition contained in article 1 of the Convention. Adequate penalties, reflecting the seriousness of the crime, should be adopted;
ALRC Comments: A revision of the Indonesian Penal Code is still being discussed in the House of Representatives. A timeframe for approval of the code has still not been set. The draft of the penal code has been discussed for over twenty years and there is no time frame set for its approval by the parliament and by the President. In the draft of the Penal Code, the definition of torture reflects largely that which is stipulated in the Convention against Torture (CAT). However there is a serious flaw due to the failure on the part of the state to affirm the uniqueness of torture. This is evident in the last Government report of 2005, submitted to the CAT Committee, whereby maltreatment or assault is confused with the act of torture.
Indonesia in its last report also mentions that
“…has also completed several other legislative measures in prohibiting torture. Among others are through the amendments of the 1945. Constitution (Article 28 I); promulgation of Law No. 39/1999 on Human Rights (Articles 33, 34, 67, 69, 71, 72, 74, 101, and 104); Law No. 26/2000 on Human Rights Courts; Law No. 3/1997 on Juvenile Justice, and Law No. 23/2004 on Domestic Violence.”
ALRC Comments: It seems that Indonesia is unable to differentiate between rights, obligation, and prohibition. The aforementioned laws are concerned with the rights and obligations of the citizens and the state. There is no single article in the above mentioned laws which state the prohibition with the attached sanction. There is no law that stipulates that torture (in general circumstances, not as a way of crimes against humanity) is punishable under existing Indonesian laws.
Despite repeated calls by the local and the international community to pass domestic laws that meet the requirements for such legislative provisions to be present, as a result of the ratification of CAT by the state, Indonesia has adamantly refused to comply. The state owes these legal amendments to its people and the international community. A few laws have been drawn up haphazardly with no proper procedure and in practice, have little efficacy. In the draft of the penal code, there is a recommendation for a minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years imprisonment for acts of torture, taking into account that for cases of premeditated murder, the punishment is much higher. Given the lack of understanding the state has regarding the crime of torture, there is no guarantee that the draft penal code will be approved by the parliament.
The deliberate refusal by the state to pass domestic legislation that corresponds to the exigencies of CAT has had the serious effect of denying justice to victims of torture, whilst granting impunity to the perpetrators. Over the years the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) and its sister organization the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), have been collecting information on numerous cases of torture inflicted both by members of the military and the police. Information concerning these cases have been sent to the Attorney General and the National Human Rights Commission of Indonesia (Komnas HAM) for immediate intervention. However, in none of these cases has there been any redress provided to the victims.
In the report submitted by Indonesia, a case of torture and the subsequent action by the Military Court was included, which raises more questions.
“During a military patrol on 27 May 2003, three military personnel i.e., First Sergeant Haryono of 29 years old, Private First Class (Pratu) Alfian of 28 years old, and Private Second Class (Prada) Sudaryanto of 29 years old, all members of Yonif 144 South Sumatera were accused of afflicting torture on three civilians. The victims are Mr. Harndani Yahya, a 54 year old, chief of Lawung village; and two other villagers Mr. Maimun Ahmad, 40 years old; and Mr. Rajali, 51 years old. After investigating the case, the Military Court concluded that the three officers were proven guilty, sentenced to four months imprisonment, and fined.”
ALRC Comments: The case mentioned in the report is of torture and the punishment meted out is thoroughly inadequate – 4 months of imprisonment. However, it is unclear under what law the case had been heard and the perpetrators convicted, as no law exists regarding torture. If Article 359 of the Penal Code regarding Maltreatment had been used in the case, it further confirms that the government of Indonesia is unaware of the gravity associated with the crime of torture. Alternatively, the government pretends to be ignorant for the purpose of granting immunity to the perpetrators, who happened to be state agents. In either case the victims are deprived of the opportunity to seek justice. It is obvious that despite the ratification of CAT, the government of Indonesia does not have a coherent and genuine interest in the abolishment of torture.
In Indonesia, torture is not only used as a punishment or to extract confessions, but is also often used for pecuniary gains. Most of the victims admit to having escaped torture or its continuation, after making substantial payments to the state agents, police or the military. Likewise, there have been indications that in some cases, torture has been stopped due to payments being made. There are first-hand accounts of open solicitation of money both to avoid illegal arrest, torture or even false charges being made. In these circumstances suspicion arises as to whether this type of corruption is permitted by the state, in order to compensate for the low salaries paid to the police.
Mechanism for Redress
(b) “Establish an effective, reliable and independent complaint system to undertake prompt, impartial and effective investigations into allegations of ill-treatment and torture by police and other officials and, where the findings so warrant, to prosecute and punish perpetrators, including senior officials”
ALRC Comments: There is no specific effective, reliable and independent complaint system to investigate allegations of torture by the police. In the internal system of the police there is PROPAM, a mechanism for reporting various kinds of abuses committed by members of the police. Cases can range from bribery to torture. An individual who wants to complain about such abuses can file a complaint to the PROPAM division, which exists in most police offices.
The deliberate confusion created by the misleading definition of torture has resulted in the non-establishment of a mechanism for reporting, investigation and punishment that reflects the gravity of the crime, thereby rendering it impossible to obtain redress for the victims. The PROPAM mechanism that is currently available is neither preventive nor remedial and is not specific to each case of torture.
The Asian Legal Resource Centre in collaboration with the help of lawyers in Jakarta, conducted research, utilising questionnaires, in the months of July and August, on the issue of torture. One of the questions in the questionnaire was related to the awareness of the people and lawyers on the availability of a mechanism for redress in cases of torture. When inquired, some of the lawyers in the country referred to PROPAM. But this mechanism is for all offences committed by the police and is not specifically aimed at addressing complaints of torture. Except for cases of criminal offences, which are referred to the Criminal Investigation Division, the questionnaires revealed a sense of obscurity about the precise method of the functioning of PROPAM or the punishment meted out to the perpetrators. One lawyer rightfully remarked “we make the complaint and we do not know what happens next”. Thus there is no transparency regarding the procedure or the outcome of the investigation by PROPAM. Obscurity regarding its scope or its procedures makes it impossible to make a proper assessment or for people to count on its effectiveness. According to the experience of many of the lawyers and human rights defenders, the punishments given often amounted to temporary dismissal, delaying promotions or other disciplinary measures which in no way reflect the gravity attached to the crime of torture.
Technically, hearings of cases where torture or other offences have been committed must take place in public. But de facto, either nobody is informed about the hearings or no one attends them, unless it concerns a high officer. The victims are not entitled to any compensation. Thus, to the ordinary citizens who have suffered torture at the hands of a state agent, the absurdity of going through this legal hassle, whereby the perpetrator is unlikely to be punished, the victim is not compensated or there is fear of further harassment by the perpetrator is apparent.
Even though there is provision for compensation, restitution and rehabilitation for the victims of gross human rights violations under Government Regulation No. 3 of 2002, it does not apply to individual cases of torture. Individual cases of torture as defined under Law No.26/2000, do not fall into the aforementioned category. On the other hand, if the use of torture can be proven to be widespread and systematic, then there is the possibility of Law No. 26/2000 being applied. But this possibility is vitiated by the absence of a mechanism that records and follows up on cases, from which emerging patterns can be traced.
Failure of the Human Rights Court Law as a mechanism for redress
In the Human Rights Court Law No. 26/2000, there is a provision to address torture, provided it can be shown to amount to a ‘gross human rights violation’. This literally means that there is no redress for individual cases of torture. Since the conditions and the process tied to a crime being declared a gross human rights violation are so cumbersome, it is almost impossible for a case to be heard in court. The Human Rights Court Law is mandated to hear only cases of gross human rights violations as defined in Law No. 26/2000. For torture to be declared a gross human rights violation, certain conditions (e.g. widespread and systematic use, etc) need to be met. It is very difficult to make an assessment of the actual situation, given the failure on the part of the state to make an accurate account of the number of cases or the methods used in torture. Furthermore, an accurate assessment is also hindered by the reluctance on the part of the victims to report cases of torture (due to a variety of reasons). The Human Rights Court Law is the only mechanism that can provide compensation, but it is yet to establish its credibility amongst the victims of gross human rights violations. This demonstrates that the existing laws and mechanisms are thoroughly inadequate with regard to the prosecution of cases of torture.
The absence of a proper mechanism keeps the doors open for the continuing widespread use of torture by state institutions such as the police or the military. The Indonesian state is allowing torture to take place and the attempted explanation and justification given by the state is that quick responses are required to prevent mounting crimes. The state has failed to recognize that the trend of mounting crimes is due to the breakdown of the rule of law. It is due to its inability to prosecute and punish the perpetrators, based on proper investigations, that criminality has increased. The state seems to be following a path of criminality to overcome mounting violence. Instead of employing well trained, skilled and qualified police officers to conduct investigations, the state is following the opposite path by allowing criminality within the forces that use torture to extract confessions. This form of investigation generates further violence and results in a distrust and fear of the state by its citizens.
(c) Ensure that all persons, including senior officials, who have sponsored, planned, incited, financed or participated in paramilitary operations using torture will be appropriately prosecuted;
ALRC Comments: This is publicly known to be the acid test for the prosecution. Senior ranking officers are untouchable by the judicial system since the days of Suharto and impunity reigns supreme. This situation is worsening day by day; it is no surprise that there is an idiom which says that: “if you have money you can buy the law”.
Case: Please see UA-228-2005, dated 6 December 2005. Army personnel attacked three hamlets, injuring five residents and destroying village property. However, only three soldiers received lenient sentences, whilst the other perpetrators are still at large. For further information regarding an attack on three hamlets in South Sulawesi, see UP-018-2006, dated 2 February 2006.
(d) Take immediate measures to strengthen the independence, objectivity, effectiveness and public accountability of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas-HAM), and ensure that all its reports to the Attorney-General are published in a timely fashion;
ALRC Comments: In Human Rights Court Law No. 36 Year 2000, the time frame for Komnas HAM to submit its reports to the Attorney General (AG) was indicated. The problem is not only whether Komnas HAM should submit its reports to the AG in a timely fashion, but rather concerns the inaction on the part of the AG to follow up on the investigations conducted by Komnas HAM. A few years ago, Komnas HAM submitted their findings regarding Trisakti, Semanggi I & II case to the AG, declaring them to be cases of gross human rights violations. But the AG declined to investigate on grounds that the House of Representatives should establish the ad-hoc Human Rights Tribunal first. The House disagreed and the dispute ended.
The role of Komnas HAM
The National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) is mandated in the country to conduct the necessary investigations in cases of alleged gross human rights violations. But the crux of the problem is that as Komnas HAM has not been able to address individual cases of torture or analysed the existing and emerging patterns, it is therefore unable to qualify its conditions of torture to be widespread and systematic, to be declared a gross human rights violation.
Thus how is Komnas HAM able to decide whether the use of torture is systematic and widespread, without recording individual cases of torture. This is found to be a useful tool by the state to deny its widespread use of torture and to then blatantly ignore the responsibility to address the issue, which results in the denial of a fair trial.
For want of an effective and accessible mechanism, victims of torture report cases to Komnas HAM, which are then apparently forwarded to the police. Amongst the cases that have been reported to the Asian Legal Resource Centre, no victims have to date received any redress from these institutions. While Komnas HAM is excused on the grounds that the lack of legislation or a special mandate prevents it from taking concrete action (such as determining compensation), it has failed in its major responsibility to intervene with the Attorney General to press for appropriate laws criminalizing torture. Additionally, it has failed to educate the community and the police in all aspects related to the use of torture.
ALRC Comments: The previous administration of Komnas HAM was divided into thematic issues (civil and political rights and economic social and cultural rights). But now, the new administration of Komnas HAM is separated into monitoring, research and mediation divisions, as mentioned in the Human Rights Law. Furthermore, the method by which Komnas HAM receives complaints has not yet been decided by the new commissioner. The limited resources it has at its disposal further compound these problems, making speedy and effective action rare.
(e) Ensure that crimes under international law such as torture and crimes against humanity committed in the past are investigated and, where appropriate, prosecuted in Indonesian courts;
ALRC Comments: From 1965 onwards, a large number of persons have either been killed extra-judicially or were forcibly disappeared. At present, the families of the victims are still seeking justice. Since the ’65 massacre, there have been a series of subsequent atrocities - in Talangsari, Trisakti I and II, Semangi, the May Riots of 1998, and the disappearance of democracy activists in ’97 and ’98 - are yet to be investigated and thus the perpetrators have not been prosecuted. Furthermore, some of the victims who survived the ’65 massacre have continued to experience persecution and discrimination as ex-political prisoners (bahasa: tahanan politik/tapol), with no hope of any restitution. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission established by the parliament was later discarded by the Constitutional Council for being unconstitutional, without proposing any other alternative. According to the provisions of the current legislation, either the Attorney General has the option of proceeding in many of the cases with investigation and/or the parliament can decide to set up an ad-hoc human rights court. For cases committed after 2000, such a parliamentary decree is not needed. Hence, if no further legislation is passed or existing legislation is amended, torture and crimes against humanity in the past will not be addressed in Indonesia, as political will is lacking and present leaders in power are not connected to past crimes.
(f) Continue measures of police reform to strengthen the independence of the police from the military, as an independent civilian law enforcement agency;
ALRC Comments: There is a de-jure separation of the two institutions. But de-facto in certain cases the police functions under the control of the military. Furthermore, it has become difficult for the police to overcome its militaristic culture. No serious effort has been made to reform the police despite the creation of the Police Reform Commission and the reform process that was started years ago has come to a halt. Furthermore, discussions on how the police must be reformed and identifying shortcomings in its operational procedures that allow human rights abuses such as torture to repeatedly take place, are not taking place publicly. Instead of engaging a wide range of civil society stake holders, such as NGOs, in the debate, the reform is left largely to the police itself. It can not be expected that under these circumstances, reforms will limit police power and add safeguards to protect the rights of suspects, perpetrators and other civilians from the police force. An open process that revives the police reform debate and action is strongly needed.
(g) Reduce the length of pre-trial detention, ensure adequate protection for witnesses and victims of torture and exclude any statement made under torture from consideration in any legal proceedings, except against the torturer;
Long periods of detention leading to severe abuses and torture
The existing law allows a person to be detained for 20 days with the possibility of a further 40 days. It is a blank cheque to the authorities. It permits all forms of abuses, including torture (both physical and psychological) and bribes. This period is so long that even scars caused as a result of torture can disappear. There have been reports of victims trying to commit suicide due to the unbearable situation of repeated torture.
This is evident in the case of Mr. Mas Udin, who was detained at the Cengkareng Police Precinct (Kepolisian RI, Sektor Cengkareng, Resort Jakarta Barat) since his arrest on May 28. There were several attempts by the staff of the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute to visit him at his detention cell but they were repeatedly denied entry by the police for various reasons. Their refusal is said to be due to an administration provision, which was not regulated in the Indonesian Criminal Procedure Law.
As the family and their appointed lawyer had been continuously denied access to see the victim, it became impossible for his condition to be ascertained. (See UA-243-2007: INDONESIA: Police deny visit of family members and legal access to arrestee). His family was not allowed to see the arrestee until he was eventually tortured to death. This further confirms the position that denial of access to members of the family or legal representation provides the space for torture. This is clearly evident in the following case.
Following Teguh Uripno's arrest at around 11:00 am on April 20, 2007, his family immediately went to the Serpong police station. When they arrived at the police station, they were prevented from seeing the victim so they returned the following morning, April 21. However, once again they were not allowed to see the victim. No sufficient reason was given to them by the police as to why they were not allowed to meet him.
At around 3:30 pm on April 21, police representatives went to the house of the victim’s family and informed them that he had died while being taken to a local hospital. The family immediately went to the hospital and upon arrival they found marks of severe beating on his body. Medical reports indicate his body showed several torture marks, his arm was broken, he had a fractured skull and severe bruising. (See UA-169-2007: INDONESIA: Man beaten to death by sector police in Tangerang).
Illegal arrest precedes torture
On 24 June 2007, the AHRC received information regarding the illegal arrest and torture of Hendrick Sikumbang by the police officers of Pekanbaru police office on 14 June 2007. The methods used in the arrest were more characteristic of abduction than an arrest. The police brutally tortured Mr. Sikumbang after putting him in a vehicle and drove around the city instead of going to the police station or the court. The membrane of his eardrum was cracked as a result of the torture and he still suffers from the severe injuries that he received to his body. Please see UA-205-2007 for more detailed information.
The available reports indicate a specific pattern whereby illegal arrests are followed by torture. In the afore-mentioned cases of torture, leading to the deaths of Teguh Uripno and Hendrik Sikumbang, it can be asserted that illegal arrests had been deliberately carried out with the intention of torturing either as a punishment, to extract confession or to get money from the suspects.
On April 11, 2007, at around 3:30 a.m., around 30 unidentified men claiming to be Medan District Police Officers forced their way into Ms. Supiah's (the victim's sister's) home, demanding to see Mr. Suherman, the victim. When Ms. Supiah replied that Mr. Suherman was not at home, the attackers held him and his family at gunpoint while they proceeded to ransack his home. They seized two mobile phones without producing a search warrant. They then forced Ms. Supiah to take them to her brother's home. Barging into Mr. Suherman's home, they promptly arrested him, and again without a search warrant, ransacked his home in a similar fashion.
Ms. Juliana, the victim’s wife, and their children were then taken to the Medan Sub-District Police Station where the Police questioned them. Mr. Suherman was taken in the opposite direction to a yet unknown location. At around 6 a.m, Juliana was informed that her husband's dead body had been found. Autopsy reports later showed that Mr. Suherman had been shot in the chest. He also suffered bullet wounds to the left side of the navel and hip. Shockingly, Juliana was not allowed to identify her husband's body, which is a standard police procedure.
It has also been noted that in some cases, illegal detention and torture are carried out in places other than at the official place of detention. This phenomenon lends support to the view that illegal arrests and detention are deliberately used to enable torture in unofficial places, in order to prevent the identification of the location when complaints are lodged.
(UA-146-2007: INDONESIA: Medan District Police again bring the Rule-of-Law into dispute with the brutal murder of an innocent man)
Witness and Victim Protection Laws
Even though the law on Victim and Witness Protection was passed in 2006, its effective implementation depends on the creation of the Witness Protection Agency and the appointment of its members. As is the case in many laws and their enforcement, it is hard to know when this will come into effect, despite the legal requirement in Article 45 of Law 13 of 2006. So far there have only been about one hundred member applications, yet the law requires that a minimum of 200 persons apply.
The reluctance on the part of victims and witnesses to come forward to make complaints of torture comes firstly from the fact that there is no law against which torture can be prosecuted and secondly the fear of further victimization, since there is no witness or victim protection law. Even though the law was passed a year ago, there is reluctance to appoint the committee that is responsible for its implementation. Every citizen must have the guarantee that when her/his rights are violated by the state, there is a mechanism for reporting them without any fear of threats from the alleged perpetrators.
This guarantee is quite important given the fact that in cases of violations of human rights by the state, for anyone who represents the state, the relationship is a-symmetrical. It is an individual vs. the state case. One is without any power whilst the other has absolute power. In such a relationship of inequality, the victim needs all the guarantees that a complaint is recognized, impartially investigated, the perpetrators are punished and the grieved party amply compensated/rehabilitated without any semblance of the grieved party discriminated or threatened. In the absence of such a guarantee, all credibility and trust in the institutions is lost and the justice system itself collapses, paving the way for anarchy.
ALRC Comments: In the event that a person has already given a testimony in the investigation phase, the person will be asked again at court and whether s/he wants to change their testimony or not. If the testimony which was testified at the court is different from that which was given at the investigation phase, the judge will use the one that was given at court. Sometimes, the judge may also ask why the testimony is different, and if s/he says that s/he is being pressured by the investigator, a cross examination will be conducted in the court between the witness and the investigator.
However the reality is in stark contrast to what has been explained above. When the case of the Fabianus Tibo (60), Dominggus Da Silva (42) and Don Marinus Riwu (48), who were later executed in 2006, was heard in Poso, Sulawesi, they complained to the judge of severe torture during the interrogation. This plea was not even heard by the presiding judge. Since there are hardly any instances of cases of torture being considered by the judges, victims actually refrain from making any complaints. This is as good as saying that the forced confessions produce the quickest and the cheapest results.
There are no regulations concerning medical reports: no rights and no obligations. Thus there is no person specially assigned or a specific procedure to deal with granting medical certificates in the case of torture, except in cases of cell deaths of suspicious deaths. In the case of the latter, a post mortem is requested by the police. Such reports can be used as evidence in the litigation.
In cases where family members of the victims would like the attention of a medical doctor, it is simply not possible, as access to places of detention is severely restricted. Restrictions applied to places of detention prevent the possibility of having an accurate picture of how widespread the practice is.
According to the information we have received, Mrs. Ni Ketut Suratni (57), was arrested by East Denpasar Police Sector in Bali on 3 January 2007 when she was shopping in market, suspected of counterfeiting money valued at Rp.50,000 (USD 6) that she paid at the market. The victim was severely hit and kicked by two police officers, Bripka I Made Wiguna and Brigadier Erwin Suprayoga during the police interrogation.
On the night of January 11, the victim was examined by public medical doctors at the police hospital for a “visum et repertum”, a medical report for an injury case, that was then issued by the public medical doctors. However, the medical report did not clearly identify the injuries on the victim as having been caused by beating.
The victim's lawyers then submitted a request for another medical examination for “visum et repertum” by independent doctors as the previous medical report had been issued by doctors from the police hospital. The second examination for the report has not been conducted yet. (UA-020-2007: INDONESIA: Woman severely injured by brutal assault while in detention by police in East Denpasar)
It has also been reported that in most of the cases of torture, when medical practitioners are approached for medical reports, there is a reluctance to produce accurate medical reports. Alternatively, issuing of the medical reports is purposely delayed, as was the case with Mr. Hendrik Sikumbang, who was illegally arrested and tortured by Yusril, a former member of West Sumatera Police Regional office, who is currently stationed at Pekanbaru police office. As a result of beating by the police, Sikumbang suffered severe bruises and scars on the head, face and neck. Moreover, Sikumbang's ear was bleeding so profusely that according to Dr. Yan Edward, an otologist, the membrane in Sikumbang’s ear had cracked, resulting in hearing loss. To date, the medical report on this case is still being processed.
On 15 June 2007, Sikumbang filed a formal complaint to the West Sumatera Regional Police office about the torture by the police. However no action has been taken by them. The delay in procuring the medical certificate constrains the victim from pressing for justice in this case. (UA-205-2007: INDONESIA: Man illegally arrested and tortured by Pekanbaru police)
Most of the lawyers acknowledge that their clients are tortured or induced to pay money to escape torture, but are unable to assert with certainty the gravity of the problem.
Besides, being aware of the long incarceration of 20 days or a possible maximum of another 40 days with their torturers, the suspects tend to succumb to torture as something inevitable. When they are released after one or two months, due to a sense of shame, many of the victims do not want their situation to be divulged. They tend to suffer silently. This is particular the case when the victim of torture has broken the law, for example, by an act of theft, the sense of guilt makes most victims accept their treatment and such frequent cases are hardly reported to any institution.
(h) Ensure that human rights defenders are protected from harassment, threats and other attacks;
ALRC Comments: There have been a series of attacks and threats on the lives of human rights defenders from West Papua who have met with the UN Human Rights Defenders Special Representative (see the appeal that was issued by us: UA-209-2007 and the update on this case). The last reported attack was on the Chairperson of the Papuan Representative office of the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), Mr. Albert Rumbekwan on 24th of September 2007 and the Catholic priest Catholic Priest Yohanes Djonga Pr a few days earlier.
On November 2005, several human rights activists and supporters, who held demonstrations at the Central Jakarta District Court, before the scheduled court hearing into the murder of human rights activist Munir Said Thalib were attacked by at least 10 hired thugs, in a larger group of around 50 persons (UP-139-2005).
On May 2003, the office of KontraS (Commission for the Victim of Disappearances and Violence) and their staff were attacked again by militias with military backing (UA-15-2003). These cases reported to the AHRC are just a few examples showing the stress and harassment human rights defenders that are operating in the country undergo. Ms. Suciwati, the widow of late human rights defender Munir has experienced severe harassment and has had no protection provided to her, despite numerous promises made by the government.
There is a new threat to the human rights defenders: they are labeled as “new communist activists” reminiscent of the ’65 massacre.
Despite the enormous pressure exerted by the local and international civil society organizations, the prosecution is dragging its feet regarding the murder of Munir. Judging from the various reports that are emerging, despite the secrecy surrounding the legal procedures, it is becoming clear that the highest intelligence bodies are involved in the murder of Munir.
(i) Reinforce human rights education to provide guidelines and training, regarding in particular the prohibition of torture, for law enforcement officials, judges, and medical personnel;
ALRC Comments: Live cases of torture on TV channels
With the ratification of the Convention Against Torture, the state is under obligation to have its citizens educated on the crime of torture. Surprisingly, quite contrary to the requirements of the Convention, a number of people claim to have seen torture inflicted by the police on some of the TV channels. Apparently, due to complaints made by the people, broadcasts of violent scenes and torture have decreased.
This has never been identified as a serious offence by any of the state organs or institutions or even by Komnas HAM. How can a state apparatus such as the police publicly commit an act of torture and have it publicized over the TV, when it has given a commitment to the international community to stop torture and precisely to refrain from using it as a punishment or drive fear into the minds of its citizens, particularly the children. By portraying police practice with the use of torture on popular TV shows, a moral legitimization is granted and the social acceptance of the practice is reinforced.
Komnas HAM in its report of 2006 admits a large scale use of torture by the members of the armed forces despite the various dissemination sessions conducted into them during the year. The report adds that it is the lack of understanding of Indonesia’s obligation to apply the Convention which has been ratified by the Law No 5 Year 1998.
(j) Take immediate steps to address the urgent need for rehabilitation of the large number of victims of torture and ill-treatment in the country;
ALRC Comments: Trauma Centre and Social Protection Houses exist in Indonesia. The Government has established Trauma Centers in many regions. However, they are not designated specifically for victims of torture. They are designated for victims of violence, sexual harassment, victims of rape, domestic violence, and child abuses.
(q) Widely disseminate the Committee's conclusions and recommendations throughout the country, in all appropriate languages.
ALRC Comments: The government does not disseminate the Committee’s conclusions and recommendations to its citizens. Even if they do, the conclusions and recommendations are not widely known. Based on the questionnaire conducted by the AHRC, 5 out of 20 lawyers said that the punishments are not made transparently. They responded that they themselves must closely monitor the progress of cases, instead of being publicly told.
Access to places of detention or even prison
ALRC Comments: There is no law regulating provision in which everyone has access to the places of detention or even prison, but according to Indonesian Procedure Code and Law No. 12 Year 1995 regarding Correctional Institution, a prisoner has the right to be visited by his/her family, lawyer, and other persons. However, this right also remains without clear enforcement regulations and practice.
- Domestic laws with an appropriate definition of torture, a mechanism for redress, adequate punishment and compensation for victims to be passed as quickly as possible.
- Creation of a special mechanism for complaints of torture.
- The system of prolonged detention must be discontinued and instead a period that is in line with the international laws must be fixed,
- Lawyers and members of recognized NGOs must be allowed access to detainees,
- The commissioners of Komnas HAM must be authorized to visit places of detention so as to record cases of torture and as a preventive measure
- Medical examinations are to be conducted in places of detention without the presence of the authorities and in cases of serious torture, medical treatment must be provided by the authorities
Posted on 2008-01-11