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Cebongan Case Becoming More Unclear

 

The Commission for The Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) believes the legal proceedings of the Cebongancase, thus far, have proved to be unenlightening and are becoming increasingly less clear. While we believe that both the military and police played a role in the executions of the four prisoners at Cebongan prison, the fact that their roles are being investigated separately, and the further fact that they are not both being prosecuted for their role, is troubling to say the least. The following points list some of our concerns:

  1. There has been no significant progress in the military criminal case. Theinvestigation visit to the headquarters of Group II Special Forces (hereinafter referred to as Kopassus) appears not to have affected the fact finding. It can be assumed thatthe investigation process in the coming weeks seeks only to demonstrate a number of feeble attempts to fill theinvestigative dossier.We question two points;first, whether the witnesses questioned during the investigation processes included military commanders; and second, whether the police knew of acts of intimidation committed by Special Forces shortly after the Hugo's Café incident and up until the executions took place.

To our knowledge, there has been no reconstruction of the facts leading up to and including the executions of the prisoners at LapasCebongan. This case reconstruction is critical in assessing the accuracy of the statements made by the elevenKopassussoldiers charged with this crime.Equally critical is the continued assessment of information obtained from 56 witnesses examined by military investigators. The failure of authorities to collectcomplete evidence during the investigation process will certainly have an impact on the outcome at trial. The investigators can either be the key to a successful prosecution of criminals/human rights violators or they can be the shield that protects wrongdoers and ensures a culture of impunity in Indonesia.

  1. As to the police investigation, there has been no transparent legal action aimed at assessing thecomplicity of the Yogyakarta police in actively failing to prevent the execution of four prisoners. Should this be true, as our investigation suggests, that the police attempted to wash their hands of this murder despite their foreknowledge of the attack, the implications would be widespread. Instead, it appears that the National Police Commission has become involved in the cover-up of the Yogyakarta Police’s failure to prevent or stop the attacks. Critical to this assessment would be a deeper investigation into Juan Mambait’sdismissal from the police force by expedited trial the very morning he and the three other suspects were executed. In our perspective, based on the results of the investigations over the last two weeks,it is clear that the Yogyakarta Police have failed to take responsibility for failing to protect the suspects held within their custody and control.

The legal process, as it currently stands, does not address the wider culpability of state agents in this crime. More specifically, only the alleged executioners are charged. Yet the Military Area Command C-in-C (Pangdam), the Commander of Kopassus members and the Yogyakarta chief of police remain untouched. We fear that the process of law and the military courts will only be show trials put on to assuage the public and protect the military and the police command. But the fact is, justice for the civilians and the victims will not be fulfilled under these circumstances. Moreover, this allows the executioners to stand as scapegoats while the real masterminds go unpunished.

We also suspect that the military justice process will not be applying restorative justice principles, whereby the rights of victims and their families and witnesses must be accommodated and be part of the decision of the military court’s subsequent findings.

We further deplore the failure of government institutions to handle this tragedy effectively. First, the police have failed to clarify the facts surrounding the handing over of the investigative files to the military investigators. Second, the Witness and Victim Protection Agency (LPSK)has not provided answers to requests for protection by the victims’ families. Third, the LPSK is not informative in ensuring the safety of witnesses in giving testimony. Fourth, we are concerned by the behavior of the Yogyakarta Police and their refusal to provide the obligatory benefits to the family (especially, children) of former police officer Juan Mambaitas guaranteed by Government Regulation No. 42/2010 on the Rights of Members of the Police Republic of Indonesia.

Thus we urge the following:

First, that the military investigator with the military justice mechanisms act courageously and conduct a thorough and independent investigation. He should: a) not limit himself to the witness controlled by the Indonesian military, and should instead seek a wide variety of outside, knowledgeable sources, and subsequentlyb) reconstruct the events of the case before the commencement of the trial process. It is important to obtain clues on how the perpetrators committed this criminal act and determineexactly the number of actors as well as theirindividual roles in the act, especially determining the main actors, the secondary actors/participants, and the tertiary actors/people who assisted with the planning and support aspects of the execution scheme.

Second, for the police to immediately take legal action toinvestigate the failure to prevent the killing of the four detainees. This is necessary to determine what role, if any, the police had in the executions.

Third, we underline the importance of thorough examinations in the courtroom to implement restorative justice for the victims, families and witnesses.We also want to emphasize the need of human rights protection for the suspects. We expect the LPSK to make a bold indictment to the Court of Military intervention later during the trial with the basic information and the interests of witnesses and victims. Obviously, LPSK needs to conduct an in-depth examination of the conditions, identification of witnesses, and victims rights.

Fourth, we call upon the Court to order the military to immediately ensure openness of information regarding the trial process. It would be inappropriate for uniformed soldiers and officers to attend the trial en masse as this would create an intimidating environment for members of civil society, victims’ families, and trial witnesses.

Last but not least, we congratulate Mr. Moeldoko - the newly appointed Chief of the Army. This case will prove aserious test of his obligation to foster a professional army committed to orderly and respectable national defense.

 

Jakarta, May 21, 2013
Executive Committee of KontraS,
HarisAzhar
Coordinator