Bintang Papua, 3 January 2011
Is violence against Papuans not an abuse of human rights?
Jakarta: The TNI (armed forces) has denied that violence perpetrated by army officers which resulted in the deaths of some Papuans can be
regarded as human rights violations. This relates to an incident in
Puncak Jaya in March 2010, which became public when a video of the
incident was circulated widely on the internet.
‘When this was investigated, it was not regarded as a violation of human rights but of acting against orders and not within the methods of interrogating detainees,’ said Lieut.General M Noer Muis, during his
reflections at the end of the year. Muis said that in order to investigate whether human rights violations had occurred, the TNI set
up an investigation team.
‘After we investigated the actions of the officers on that occasion, we
saw that they were on duty at the time, and made clear their position
towards the people involved.’
Four members of the armed forces faced charges of using violence, and the four men were tried before a military tribunal in Jayapura.
They were acting in violation of their orders and taking actions that
were unacceptable such as beating, kicking and so on when dealing with members of an armed gang known as the OPM.
The four men were under orders from the regional government to restore peace to the area which is indeed an area of many disturbances and armed gangs. ‘We were informed that the men were members of armed gangs. At the start,’ he said, ‘the four officers conducted the interrogation in accordance with procedures, such as separating the men from the women, and interrogating separately those who were bearing arms.’
‘They were properly treated using methods of persuasion and we even gave them food, but nothing was achieved, even though according to
information, they were members of an armed gang.’
Eventually, the four officers used more violent methods , with the
result that the detainees confessed that they were members of an armed gang and weapons were discovered.
All these actions had been recorded on video as evidence to prove that the interrogation was conducted in accordance with armed forces operational procedures. However, unfortunately the video that was only intended for internal purposes was leaked, and was circulated widely on the internet.’When this happened it was interpreted as being inhumane treatment and was said to be a violation of human rights.’
Muis said that investigations were now under way to find out how this
leak had occurred. There are many possibilities about how this might
have happened, he said and the military commander of the Cenderawasih military command had been instructed to coordinate with the police and in the intelligence agency Bais to discover who it was who had circulated the video, because this was very damaging to the armed forces.
He said they had also consulted with Komnas HAM, the National Human
Rights Commission in the hope that Komnas HAM would explain the matter to the general public.