Press Release
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Report on Torture Practices in Indonesia
International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

To commemorate International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (26 June), Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) publish an annual report titled, “Torture: Cruel Acts That Are Not Taken Seriously”. This report is a summary of several torture incidents that receive broad public attention (both nationally or internationally) throughout July 2010 - June 2011, especially elaboration from various reports of complaint on torture cases, which were handled directly by KontraS.

The report checks how far the state implements human rights standards in their policies and national regulations product.

Advocacy agenda done by KontraS regarding torture case are still become the main agenda that needs to be mainstreamed to the public. Those agenda besides pressuring the state to pro-actively delivering positive efforts in human rights protection through policies and regulations, also to provide education to the public that keep claiming promises of maximum protection on non-derogable rights on all spheres of life.

State stuttering in responding torture incidents can be seen from the cancelation of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visit to The Netherlands on the end of last year. The cancelation related to a legal suit submission on a local tribunal in the Netherlands by activists of South Maluku Republic (RMS) residing in the Netherlands. Legal suit became a legal-political option, when Indonesian National Police officers tortured those alleged as RMS activists after a Cakalele dance performed in front of SBY with many foreign diplomats and guests during their visit to Maluku on 2007.

Next failure continues in the end of 2010. Two torture videos circulated freely and widely in Youtube website. In the short picture taken, were shown several people in military uniform committing brutal and inhuman treatment followed by intimidating interrogation questions. SBY regime responded swiftly, affirming torture practice in Tinggi Nambut, Puncak Jaya District, Papua Province. Although in the end, military tribunal III-9 Military Command District Cenderawasih, Jayapura, Papua fall short by giving only light sentences to the 7 defendants which all have military background.

Beside two case exposed above, KontraS documented at least 28 cases of torture done by Indonesian military and police. Quantitatively, we believe torture practices happened even more. Difficulties in monitoring torture acts because often it occurs inside the military and police compound – and lack of victim’s courage to report any torture case because the perpetrators are the law enforcer itself. Cases directly handled by KontraS, among others are:

(1) Torture case of RMS activists in Ambon,
(2) Torture of Hermanus in Maluku,
(3) Torture lead to fatal casualties of Charles Mali in NTT,
(4) Engineered case of Aan Susandhi in Artha Graha.

KontraS also highlight other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment including caning punishment in Aceh.

In particular, KontraS highlight Komnas HAM capabilities to investigate and uncover the patterns and causal roots of torture, especially on torture cases in conflict area such as Papua. The degree of seriousness in torture cases often require the pattern of widespread and systematic, but in several case, (such as on the torture video and violence upon Reverand Kinderman Gire cases), torture in the frame a torture as an individual case is still a serious violation of human rights which is part of an international law norm ‘Jus Cogens’.

Komnas HAM slackness in resolving torture cases pave way for further impunity and lack of fulfillments of victims’ rights. From various complaint reports sent by KontraS along with victims of victims’ family, not a single case ends up with justice where the perpetrators are given a fair punishment. These made worse by the absence of reparation toward victims of torture and their families. Those conditions are in line with the small numbers of torture cases resolved fully in trial. Torture in Indonesia is a typical practice of crime with impunity.

Criminalization of torture perpetrators must be done in legal framework, respect of human rights, and ensuring prevention that similar case will not repeat in the future. Therefore, KontraS urge the state to highlight recommendations below:

1. Fasten criminalization of torture act, Indonesian government, especially Ministry of Law and Human Rights must draft a special legislation on effort in preventing and punishing torture act. Criminalization of torture will be an important key for Indonesia in fighting future torture practices. This effort will become an alternative step when effort to enact a new Criminal Code procedure is yet to be fulfilled;

2. Indonesian Police and Military must have a vetting mechanism in their file and rank process which consider their officers track record who had committed torture, in order to further their members professionalism.

3. Police must increase their personnel capacity in conducting investigation and probe also maximizing effective and deterrent punishment for torture perpetrators. Torture cases occurred due to lack of adequate investigation technique capacity of the investigator thus they resort to a short cut in gathering evidence and confession by torturing;

4. Indonesian military must improve their internal accountability mechanism by revising Military Tribunal Bill to ensure torture act incorporated as part of criminal act and receive maximum punishment.

5. National Commission of Human Rights must be able to resolve patterns and causal roots of torture practices, especially committed by security forces, so they can provide adequate recommendations for relevant state institution to take strategic policies in effort of combating torture practices;

6. The government must implement recommendations from UN’ Committee Against Torture; country visit follow up results from the Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak in 2007; and Universal Periodical Review (UPR) of 2008.

With the election of Indonesia on United Nations Human Rights Council for the second time, thus implementing those recommendations became indicator of Indonesia’s seriousness human rights enforcement.


Jakarta, 26 June 2011

Executive Board

Haris  Azhar