Call For Legal Action AgainstTrigger-Happy Soldier in Papua

Call For Legal Action AgainstTrigger-Happy Soldier in Papua

By Eliswan Azly

News Focus: Call For Legal Action Against
Trigger-happy Soldier In Papua

Jakarta - The military ranger who reportedly shot a Papua
teenager, Isak Psakor (13), near the Papua New Guinea (PNG)
border causing the boy to suffer serious injury should be
prosecuted legally based on existing laws in Indonesia.

The demand was voiced by a spokesman of the National Commission
for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) in
Jayapura, Papua`s provincial capital, on Tuesday (June 23).

"Clear legal action must be taken against violators of the law
indiscriminately. As a matter of principle, if a shooting is
committed by a soldier in violation of standard procedure, he
cannot escape legal prosecution," Harry Maturbongs, coordinator
of Kontras` Papua chapter, said.

He said Indonesia already had a law on the military which
provided for legal sanctions and disciplinary measures against
servicemen who had violated military standard procedures.
"Hence, there is no reason for failure to take legal action
against militaryman who has broken the law, " he said.

Harry also regretted the incident which had really tarnished the
image of the military in general just because of a mistake
committed by one of its members.

"The most effective way to settle the case is through the
existing legal mechanism whereas there is a statement from the
military top brass on the mistake made by his subordinate in the
field and hope that such incident will not recur in the future,"
Harry said.

Isak Psakor, an inhabitant of Kibai, Arso Timur, Keerom
District, Papua, on Monday at 2 pm local time was shot by a
military ranger who was patrolling the border shared by
Indonesia and PNG on Monday at about 14:00 local time.

The victim was still in critical condition and receiving
intensive medical treatment at Jayapura`s Dok 2 General
Hospital, a doctor, who refused to be identified, said at the
hospital here on Wednesday.

Isak was shot on his way from Kofiau to Arso, Keerom District,
Papua Province. The shooting incident happened near the
Indonesian-PNG border at Bewain Patrol Post which was manned by
eight members of the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI). The
shooting started after a sniffer dog at the border patrol post
barked at Isak, and later someone shot him.

Police are still investigating the incident to see whether it
was on purpose or by accident.

Lt Col Susilo, a spokesman of the Cendrawasih Military District
XII, said an investigation was still underway to find out about
the incident`s chronology.

"The victim`s condition is also being checked to find out about
the cause of his wound," he said.

Jack Mekawa, a prominent figure of Tibai Kampong, said the
gunshot by a border post soldier was a violation of the border

According to the existing agreement, if a border post soldier
sees a border crosser, he should ask for his/her identity card
first, or call a kampong chief to confirm whether he or she is
his people, Mekawa said.

Many people earn their living in the border area therefore many
of them have to cross the border area, he said.

Meanwhile, Father John Jonga, head of the Keerom Catholic
Church, apologized to the public for having earlier stated
wrongly that Isak had died.

"I apologize for having given the information that Isak died
from the gunshot. I got the information from Kibai kampong
residents who thought the victim was dead because he did not
move," Father Jonga said.

In fact, Isak was still alive but in critical condition and
hospitalized in Jayapura for intensive medical treatment he said
on Tuesday.

According to Anton Psakor, the victim`s father, his three
children, namely Isak, Wens and John Psakor, were walking from
Skowt Jauh kampong to Air Asin kampong in East Arso which
borders on PNG territory on Monday (June 22).

On their way, they encountered a dog who kept barking at them.
Scared of the dog, they then ran and climbed into trees in the
middle of a jungle at East Arso. Suddenly, there was a gunshot
and then Wens and John Psakor saw their brother, Isak, fall down
to the ground.

In response to a legal mechanism to be taken against the guilty,
Dr Sofyan Siregar, an expert on international law at the
European Islamic University in Rotterdam, in an e-mailed message
said the effort to settle the incident through the existing
legal mechanism was regarded as the best choice to improve the
military image and consistency to improve the country`s image in
international eyes.

"Whoever found to have violated the military standard procedure
deserved a legal sanction. The military has already had
sanctions in place," he said, adding that the most important the
military had to do was seriousness to take such a sanction
against the soldier proven to be guilty.

Such mistakes made by militarymen are no longer a public
secrecy. In fact, the American and Israeli troops were learned
to have made many blatant mistakes in carrying out the military
standard procedures.

"We can see how the military troops killed civilians in Gaza
region and American troops in killing the civilian in Pakistan
recently. They really had made blatant mistakes in implementing
the military standard procedure," Sofyan said.

What happened two days ago in Keerom, Papua, was a trivial
incident which could happen anywhere in many country. But an
effort to minimize such similar incident was good to do, he said.

Many members and sympathizers of the Free Papua Movement (OPM)
living in the Netherland were trying to blow up this kind of the
shooting incident in Keerom in their activity in their mission
to attract international sympathy on their struggle.

But their struggle to get international support could be
aborted, if the military took a military sanction or whatever
legal mechanism against the violator, Sofyan said.