Joint statement rejecting US military training of Kopassus

Four of Indonesia's leading human rights organisations have issued a Joint Statement today rejecting US military training for members of Kopassus.
Jakarta, March 18th 2010


Mugiyanto, IKOHI - the Families of the Disappeared.
Usman Hami, KontraS
Poengky Indarti, Imparsial
Atnike Nova Sigiro, ELHAM

In their Joint Statement, they said:

Since 1997, the Leahy Law in the US has prohibited military assistance to military units which have been involved in human rights violations. By virtue of the Leahy Law, the US government in 1997 halted training for members of Kopassus because of their involvement in a number of incidents of human rights violations such as the forced disappearance of Indonesian activists in 1997-98, acts of violence in East Timor and the murder of the Papuan leader Theys Hiyo Eluay in November 2001.

The Leahy Law states that the Indonesian government must first take effective legal action against the members of Kopassus who were involved in these human rights violations if it wishes to restore joint military training, including providing assistance to Kopassus. This is clearly a sign that the US intends to uphold respect for human rights and comply with the demands for justice from the victims of these incidents.

But now, with the forthcoming visit to Indonesia of US President Barack Obama, there have been calls for joint training programmes for Kopassus to be resumed. Yet, as we know, the incidents of human rights violations involving Kopassus have not yet been dealt with by the Indonesian government (the names of the officers are given below). The case of the disappeared in 1997-98 is still in limbo with no clarity on what will happen although a plenary session of the Indonesian Parliament
(DPR) adopted four recommendations for implementation by the Indonesian government. (See below)

There has been talk recently about ending the ban on joint military programmes with the Indonesian military following the visit to Washington of four Indonesian generals including General Lodewijk Paulus, commander of Kopassus, to lobby the US government. The Indonesian minister of defence Purnomo Yusgiantoro has said that he feels very optimistic that US collaboration with Kopassus will be resumed, after speaking to the US Pacific Region commander, Marshall Robert F Willard during his visit to Jakarta in February this year.

All this discussion about ending the ban on programmes of joint collaboration is a sign that the government regards these past incidents as having been resolved, while nothing has been done to restore the rights of the victims or punish those who were responsible.

Another example is the Mawar Team composed of eleven Kopassus officers who kidnapped and caused the disappearance of activists in 1997-98. Although the Mawar Team case was dealt with by a court in 1999, the fact is that the seven Kopassus officers are still on active service and all have been promoted.

In view of the above, we reject the proposal to end the ban on giving training to members of Kopassus, an elite military force in Indonesia. On the other hand, we would have no objection to ending the ban on the following conditions:

Firstly, that the Indonesian government resolves the cases of humn rights violations which involved Kopassus and other units of the security forces, and secondly, that the government take action to ensure that similar human rights violations do not occur.

We also call on the Indonesian government to implement the recommendations of the DPR on 28 September 2009 regarding the disappearance of activists in 1997-98. The Indonesian President, SBY, must take urgent action by issuing a presidential decree to set up a team to investigate the disappearance of the activists in 1997-97, as well as restoring the rights of the victims and families of those who disappeared in 1997-98.

Jakarta, 18 March 2010

Mugiyanto, IKOHI - the Families of the Disappeared.
Usman Hami, KontraS
Poengky Indarti, Imparsial
Atnike Nova Sigiro, ELHAM

Punishment of officers who were members of the Team Mawar:

1. Major Bambang Kristiano, sentenced to 22 months, and dismissed. 2. Captain F. Musthazar, sentenced tp 20 months, and dismissed. 3. Captain Nugroho Sulistyo, sentenced to 20 months and dismissed. 4. Captain Yulius Selvanus,sentenced to 20 months and dismissed. 5. Captain Untung Budi, sentenced to 20 months and dismissed. 6. Captain Dadang Hendra, sentenced to 16 months 7. Captain Djaka Budi Utama, sentenced to 16 months 8. Captain Fauka Noor Farid, sentenced to 16 months 9. Sergeant Sunarsyo, sentenced to 12 months 10. Sergeant Sigit Sunaryo, sentenced to 12 months 11 Sergeant Sukadi, sentenced to 12 months.

[We presume that the latter six are the ones still on active service, although a figure of seven in mentioned in the statement.)

Recommendations of the DPR:

1. That the President should set up an ad hoc Human Rights Court 2. That the President and all relevant state institutions should conduct a search for the 13 disappeared activists. 3. That the government should rehabilitate and grant compensation to the families of the disappeared. 4. That the government should without delay ratify the International Covenant Against Enforced Disappearances as a sign of its commitment to and support for action against the practice of enforced disappearances in Indonesia

Posters displaying the face of Wiji Thukul, one of the disappeared, thought to have been a victim of Kopassus actions.and posters of the faces of the other disappeared are regularly displayed at demonstrations.