Military members shot civilians and burned their properties in Wamena, West Papua

AHRC

 

According to local activists, on 6 June 2012 at around 10am, Pratu. Sahlan and Prada Parloi Pardede who were the members of Batallion 756 Wimane Sili were riding a motorcycle at high speed to Wamena. As they were riding the motorcycle, they hit a 10 year old boy named Kevin Wanimbo who was instantly taken to the emergency room of the nearby hospital. This has caused the anger amongst the local residents who later attacked the two members of Battalion 756 Wimane Sili that Pratu. Sahlan died while Prada Parloi Pardede was severely injured.

(Photo: houses burned in Kampung Honai Lama. Source: local activists)

 

At around 12pm on the same day, the other members of Batallion 756 Wimane Sili came to Kampung Honai Lama and opened fire at the civilians. Local villagers were beaten up with wood blocks and stabbed by the military members. A witness reported that the military members burned the villagers’ houses and smashed the glasses of the windows. Vehicles parked in front of the houses were also burned and some public facilities were destroyed, including an electricity pole located in Potikelek Market. Reports received by the AHRC mentioned that the military members arrived in two trucks but the total number of officers who came to the village is unconfirmed. The attack took place on Irian Street, Yos Sudarso Street, Trikora Street and Sinakma Kimbim Street. It resulted in the death of Elinus Yoman who was shot to death and the injury of 13 others. Eight of them are severely injured as they were stabbed about their heads, backs, knees, arms, thighs, necks and other part of their bodies. The victims have been taken to Wamena Hospital to receive medical treatment.

(Photo: one of the victims being treated in the hospital. Source: local activists)

 

The arson of houses committed by the military members has left some of the local residents homeless who fled to other villages to save themselves. Villagers are afraid to return as they continue to be afraid of retaliation actions.

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
Crimes committed by security officers in Papua provinces are hardly punished. In cases where the perpetrators are brought to the court, the punishments imposed on them are mostly disproportionate and do not reflect the gravity of their crime. For this reason, in the latest UN Universal Periodic Review on Indonesia, the representatives of Germany specifically raised the issue of impunity for security officers in Papua. The impunity has led to the disappointments and distrust of the local people towards the criminal justice system.

According to the Indonesian Penal Code, the killing, arson of houses and properties destruction conducted by the members of Batallion 756 Wimane Sili amounted to crimes that should be punishable. Article 338 of the Penal Code, for instance, prohibits murder carries a maximum punishment of 15 years imprisonment. Arson is a crime under Article 187 of the Penal Code and those who responsible for such act might be punishable for maximum 12 years of imprisonment if the arson posed threats to properties. If it posed threats to the life of individuals, the perpetrators might be sent to a maximum punishment of 15 years imprisonment. Several articles of the Penal Code criminalise properties destruction, for instance, Article 191bis that specifically prohibits the destruction of electronic pole.

However, under Article 9 paragraph (1) of Indonesian Law No. 31 Year 1997 on the Military Court, military members who commit crimes should be brought to the Military Court instead of the Criminal Court. Military members who committed crimes, therefore, are subject only to an investigation and trial by an internal mechanism therefore often criticised for its lack of transparency and accountability.

According to the 8th Principle of the Principles Governing the Administration of Justice through Military Tribunals, ‘the jurisdiction of military courts should be limited to offences of a strictly military nature committed by military personnel.’ The commentary of the principle further explains that ‘the jurisdiction of military tribunals to try military personnel or personnel treated as military personnel should not constitute a derogation in principle from ordinary law, corresponding to a jurisdictional privilege or a form of justice by one’s peers. Such jurisdiction should remain exceptional and only to the requirements of military service.’


SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write to the authorities listed below urging them to ensure the investigation and the trial of those who responsible for the attacks against civilians in this matter. Please call them to try the military officers involved in this case in an open and independent court that applies criminal law. The punishment imposed to them should be proportionate thus reflects the gravity of the crimes they committed. Equally important, please call for the revision of the Military Court Law so that military officers who commit ordinary crimes to be punished in a criminal court.

The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, and the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions asking for their intervention in this case.

 

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ___________,

Re: INDONESIA: Military members shot civilians and burned their properties in Wamena, West Papua

Name of victims: Elinus Yoman, Epinus Kenelak, Yeremia Kogoya, Pikenus Wenda, Lenius Wenda, Otniel Krebea, Yuri Bugi, Dapus Nirigi, Pianus Nirigi, Enos Lokmbere, Elianus Kalolik, Tius Hilapok, Perius Seleken, Jekson Gwijangge
Numbers of properties destructed: 3 cars, 8 motorcycles, 87 premises including shops and houses, 2 pigs
Names of alleged perpetrators: Military officers of Batallion 756 Wimane Sili
Date of incident: 6 June 2012
Place of incident: Kampung Honai Lama, Wamena, West Papua

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the attacks conducted by military officers of Battalion 756 Wimane Sili towards the residents of Kampung Honai Lama, Wamena, West Papua. I was informed that the officers came to the village on 6 June 2012 after learned that two of their colleagues named Pratu Sahlan and Prada Parloi Pardede were assaulted by the local residents at around 10am on the same day. The residents got angry and attacked the two officers because they had hit a 10 year old boy while driving their motorcycle in high speed which resulted in the injury of the boy. Due to the assault by the villagers, Pratu Sahlan was died and Prada Parloi Pardede was severely injured.

Officers of Battalion 756 Wimane Sili came to Kampung Honai Lama to ‘have revenge’ at 12pm on the same day. A witness contacted by the local activists reported that the officers shortly opened fired towards the civilians, stabbed them with military knives, and burned the villagers’ houses. It is reported that the officers also smashed the windows and burned the vehicles parked in front the houses. Some public properties were also destroyed, including an electric pole located in the local market.

The attacks by the military officers have resulted in the death of a villager, Elinus Yoman, and the injuries of thirteen others. Eight of the injured persons suffer severe injuries as they were stabbed on their head, neck, back, knees, arms and other parts of the bodies. An investigation and fact finding conducted by the local activists revealed that at least 3 cars, 8 motorcycles and 87 premises were burned and destroyed. It is also reported that two pigs were burned by the military officers.

I am aware that what the military officers conducted in this case amount to crimes as prohibited under the Indonesian Penal Code. Murder, for instance, is prohibited under Article 338 of the Penal Code which carries a maximum punishment of 15 years imprisonment. Similarly, I am aware that arson is a crime under Article 187 of the Penal Code and the destruction of properties is punishable as stipulated in various provisions in the Penal Code.

I am also aware that under the current Indonesian Law on the Military Court, Law No. 31 Year 1997, the military court has the jurisdiction over crimes committed by military officials although such crimes do not have any military nature. In this occasion, I would like to bring your attention to one of the principles enshrined under Principles Governing the Administration of Justice through Military Tribunals, which read: ‘the jurisdiction of military courts should be limited to offences of a strictly military nature committed by military personnel. Military courts may try persons treated as military personnel for infractions strictly related to their military status.’

Based on such principle, I am urging you to revise the current Indonesian Law on the Military Court that the Military Court will not have any jurisdiction over ‘ordinary’ crimes conducted by military personnel. Crimes which do not have military characteristics should be tried by a criminal court that the impartiality of the judges in such cases can be ensured.

I am also calling you to ensure that the attacks towards civilians in Kampung Honai Lama to be impartially and effectively investigated. Those who are responsible for it should be tried in an open and independent court that applies criminal law. The punishment imposed to them should be proportionate and reflect the gravity of the crimes they have committed. The victims in this case should be given adequate reparation and those who have lost their homes due to the attacks should be provided with shelters that are not less adequate than what they used to have.

Your swift and effective responses in this matter are highly expected.


Yours sincerely,

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PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
President of Republic of Indonesia
Jl. Veteran No. 16
Jakarta Pusat
INDONESIA
Tel: +62 21 345 8595
Fax: +62 21 3483 4759

2. Ms. Harkristuti Harkrisnowo
General Director of Human Rights
Ministry of Law and Human Rights
Jl. HR Rasuna Said Kav. 6-7
Kuningan, Jakarta 12940
INDONESIA
Tel: +62 21 525 3006, 525 3889
Fax: +62 21 525 3095

3. Gen. Timur Pradopo
Chief of the Indonesian National Police
Jl. Trunojoyo No. 3
Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta Selatan 12110
INDONESIA
Tel: +62 21 384 8537, 726 0306
Fax: +62 21 7220 669

4. Laksamana Agus Suhartono
Military Commander in Chief
Mabes TNI, Cilangkap
Jakarta 13870
INDONESIA
Tel: +62 21 8459 1244, 8459 1243
Fax: +62 21 845 6805

5. Mr. Ifdhal Kasim
Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission
Jl. Latuharhary No. 4-B
Jakarta 10310
INDONESIA
Tel: +62 21 392 5227
Fax: +62 21 392 5227


Thank you.