Minister: soldiers acting excessively to be courtmartialed

Minister: soldiers acting excessively to be courtmartialed

ANTARA News, 22 October 2010


Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said soldiers found to have acted excessively in interrogating prisoners could be tried in a court martial.

"If they are really wrong they can just be arraigned in a court martial," he said after attending a limited cabinet meeting on political, security and legal affairs at the president`s office in response to an indication that TNI (Indonesian Defense Forces) members had maltreated prisoners in Papua.

Purnomo said President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was very concerned about the case.
"There was indeed a firefight at the time. But those questioned were detainees. But it is not impossible that our soldiers behaved excessively. That will be dealt with. Well, the President mentioned the words `court martial`," he said.

He said President Yudhoyono had stated that interrogation of suspected violators of the law may not be done excessively. But if it was done, the rule applies, namely the violators will be court martialed. It will be dealt with according to the rules," he said.

In a press conference Coordinating Minister for Political, Security and Legal Affairs Djoko Suyanto said he along with the defense minister and the TNI commander had ordered an investigation and information gathering with regard to a video footage showing a group of men in military uniforms acting excessively against a group of civilians in Papua.

According to reports from the field, he said, there were indications that TNI individuals had acted excessively in Papua, adding that further investigation was still being done while the President had also called for a thorough investigation of the case.

Djoko said since 2005 the government had stopped using the security approach in Papua and had instead switched to the welfare and economic development approaches.

He said in case of a security disruption it would be settled according to the existing law.

The meeting was attended by Vice President Boediono, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Hatta Radjasa, Coordinating Minister for People`s Welfare Agung Laksono, National Police Chief General Bambang Hendarso Danuri, Commissioner General Timur Pradopo, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, Djoko Suyanto and Purnomo Yusgiantoro.