Appeal against Papuan Congress treason convictions launched

From West Papua Media sources in Jayapura
March 19, 2012
After an Indonesian court on March 16 sentenced  five Congress leaders guilty of Makar (treason) three years in prison each, lawyers for the men have today launched a formal appeal against the sentences in the Jayapura Class 1a district court.
The five defendants, Forkorus Yaboisembut, Edison Waromi, Selfius Bobii, Dominikus Sorabut, and Agus Kraar, were leaders and organisers of the Third Papuan People’s Congress held on October 19 2011, which was brutally broken up by Indonesian security forces after Forkorus  – the Chairman of the Papuan Tribal Council elected as President of the Federated Republic of West Papua – unilaterally reaffirmed West Papua’s independence from Indonesia.
An SMS just sent to West Papua Media from the legal team defending the five men said “promptly at 15:00 (West Papua time), our team of legal advisors has stated appeals in Class IA Jayapura District Court in connection with the Makar case on behalf Forkorus, et al, against 3 year prison sentence imposed by the judges of  (the)  Court, for being convicted of a crime of attempted treason”.
The SMS stated that the crimes the men were convicted under “also referred to in Article 106 of the Criminal Code,  Article 55 paragraph (1) of the  Criminal Code, together with Article 53 paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code, (we have lodged) a statement of appeal of the verdict of Class IA Jayapura District Court”
“This judgement does not have the force of law, then the case must be reviewed by the Jayapura High Court Judge,” according to the SMS.
“The reason we (have) appealed the decision of the Court of Jayapura (is because it is) essentially inconsistent with the facts of the trial, both from witnesses, evidence and the testimony of the defendant,” the legal team said.  “Also it is not in agreement with the Book of the Law of Criminal Procedure.”
The date that the appeal is set down to be heard is not known at the time of publication, as the lodged appeal had yet to be processed by the court.

Papuan Leaders Jailed For Speaking Out

with New Matilda

By Alex Rayfield

Five West Papuans were given jail terms on Friday for peaceful expressions of political opinion. Alex Rayfield reports on a trial that will only amplify calls for independence.

Last Friday presiding Judge Jack Johanis Oktavianus sentenced the men known as the Jayapura Five to three years in prison. The Five — Forkorus Yaboisembut (the president-elect of an independent West Papua), Edison Waromi (prime minister-elect), Dominikus Surabut, Agus Krar and Selphius Bobii — were charged with treason for their role in organising the peaceful Third Papuan People’s Congress which took place in October 2011.

Forkorus Yaboisembut outside court. Photo: West Papua Media

The Five’s legal team immediately declared they would appeal to Indonesia’s High Court in Jakarta. Outside the packed District Court in Jayapura hundreds of Papuan protesters sang, danced and prayed. Many carried banners calling for a referendum. Ringed around the Papuan crowd were Indonesian riot police, military personnel and a fleet of armed troop carriers, army assault vehicles and water cannons.

The Third Papuan People’s Congress, a three-day open air gathering that was attended by thousands of Papuans last year, ended with Forkorus Yaboisembut reading a declaration of independence from Indonesia. After he had finished the 74-year old tribal leader thanked the police and military for allowing the Congress to take place and retired to a nearby monastery.

Forty minutes later — and for no apparent reason — the police and military opened fire with live ammunition. Five Papuans were killed by the Indonesian security forces. Witnesses told New Matilda that some of the police who opened fire on the unarmed crowd were members of the Australian and US-funded, armed and trained Detachment 88.

But rather than the Indonesian police being arrested and charged with murder, Forkorus and his colleagues were the ones dragged before the court. The police and military officers that opened fire last October were given a slap on the wrist. Seventeen police officers received little more than a written warning.

The Jayapura Five were charged under antiquated sections of Indonesia’s Criminal Code that date back to the Suharto era and before that to Dutch colonial times. But given the fact that treason can fetch life imprisonment in Indonesia, the three-year sentences handed down last Friday were much less than many people expected.

When New Matilda asked Gustaf Kawer, the senior legal counsel for the men, whether the three-year sentence could be read as a signal that the Indonesian legal system was asserting more judicial independence his response was an emphatic “no”.

“The Five invited the Coordinating Minister for Political and Legal Security and the Minister for Home Affairs to attend the Congress. The gathering was held in the open and everyone was welcome to attend. It would be much better if the court and police did not attempt to obstruct their democratic right of freedom of expression,” Kawer said.

Kawer and other members of the legal team told New Matilda that the trial was marked by irregularities, interference and intimidation. There was a heavy presence of armed members of the security forces at all 15 court hearings — inside and outside. Question marks also hang over the extent to which the court acted independently. Immediately prior to sentencing the judges met with senior military commanders, police and government officials for a one-hour closed meeting, according to Tapol. Kawer has also been threatened with prosecution by the police for defending the Five.

In an interview with the Jakarta Globe, Indonesian presidential spokesperson, Teuku Faizasyah, asserted that the court did act independently. “Our political system today fully respects trias politica and the ongoing legal process.”

Faizasyah went on to say that the right to freedom of speech in Indonesia does not extend to separatist activities. According to Faizasyah, declaring independence from Indonesia is separatism and the European Union classifies separatism as a form of terrorism. “Any expression of separatism in the EU is thus considered an act of terrorism” said Faizasyah.

In the case of the Jayapura Five the men operated openly. They were unarmed and behaved in a disciplined and non-violent manner. They may be revolutionaries — but they are not violent.

In an SMS from prison a defiant Selphius Bobii told New Matilda that sentencing the Five to prison sends a message to Papuan activists that Indonesian law is incapable of delivering justice for the Papuan people.

“The police, Attorney General, and Indonesian judges … cannot deliver justice for the people of West Papua. They cannot imprison democracy and they cannot imprison the peaceful struggle for a free West Papua. It is the Papuans who possess sovereignty over our land … and the Papuan people will continue to struggle,” wrote Bobii.

Dominikus Surabut, another member of the Five, told New Matilda that it was illogical to accuse West Papuans of wanting to separate from Indonesia when it was Indonesia that invaded and annexed West Papua. Surabut argues that the invasion and continued occupation of West Papua by the Indonesian state is in violation of the right to “free choice” that the United Nations guaranteed West Papuans but failed to deliver.

For people like Surabut and Bobii and their three jailed colleagues, and for the Papuans who watched the treason trial unfold, state repression in West Papua is evidence that Indonesia can never lay claim to being a democracy while West Papuans are denied the chance to freely and fairly determine their future.

The jailing of the Jayapura Five pushes West Papuans further down the path of insurrection. The denial of free speech invites the international community to join Papuans on that journey.

“Holland didn’t fall over when Indonesia became independent, and neither will Indonesia when we do,” says Herman Wainggai, a West Papuan independence leader and former political prisoner living in the United States. “Bali principles, Lombok treaties, peace centres in West Java … these are all meaningless while Indonesia continues to escalate its troops and its judiciaries against us”.

With West Papua Media.

Open Letter from Forkorus and Edison Waromi to International Community

Open Letter


Forkorus Yaboisembut and Edison Waromi, in their own name and on behalf of the West Papuan people.


the Secretary-General United Nations Mr. Ban Ki-moon,

the EU high representative for foreign affairs Catherine Ashton,

former US president Bill Clinton,

the UN under-secretary general and emergency relief coordinator at UN OCHA Valerie Amos,

the US director if national intelligence James Clapper,

the Interpol president Khoo Boon Hui,

the US homeland security secretary Janet Napollitano,

former Filipno president Fidel Valdez Ramos, and

former prime minister Tony Blair.



18 March, 2012

Dear Madam,

Dear Sirs,

It is with great expectation that we learn that a most distinguished delegation where under your selves will visit Jakarta from March 19 until March 21 at the occasion of the next coming Jakarta International Defense Dialog.

The undersigned Forkorus Yaboisembut and Edison Waromi take the opportunity of this next coming visit to address in their personal name as well as on behalf of the West Papuan people the present Open Letter to the World leaders.

Both undersigned are presently under illegal detention in Jayapura in West Papua for no other reasons than making continuous efforts for human rights, democracy and self-determination for West Papua.  They are individually victims of violations of Human Rights, such as the people of West Papua are collectively victims of violations of Human Rights.

The undersigned both being in jail, they address by this Open Letter a cry for obtaining the so-needed special attention of the world leaders, especially since instructions were given by the Indonesian authorities (on the date of 9 February, 2012, at 10am, in the Ashton Hotel Papua in Jayapura, in the presence of Indonesian Army chiefs, Police chiefs, the Governor of Papua, Policy Information Services, BIN, BAIS, BMP and others), in order not to refrain from violating Human Rights in the framework of the ongoing process for treason against both undersigned. Also, the message was given by officials to the judges present at that meeting of 9 February, 2012, to give no room for any defense to the defendants and lawyers of the undersigned for the defense of their case.

Being without any normal legal defense as should be allowed, this Open Letter goes beyond the only matter of Human Rights and self-determination for the West-Papuan people.

It is the very hope of the West Papuan people and the undersigned that the honorable delegation at the Jakarta International Defense Dialog will not turn around and no longer ignore the major problems West Papua is facing due to the absence since decennia of a fair and democratic approach of handling Human Rights and rights to self-determination towards West Papua, as well as a fair repartition of wealth towards West Papua (see infra).

It must unfortunately be said that the successive Indonesian regimes and their successive Governments have never been politically prepared to give fair chances for introducing human rights, democracy and self-determination to West Papua.

The Indonesian regimes and their successive Governments have totally neglected and continue to neglect the under the rules of international public law most respectable and fundamental aspirations of the West Papuan people to their basic rights which are fully consistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other applicable instruments in the field of Human Rights law.

The political motivations of the undersigned are only those directly related to basic Human Rights and those protected by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly held in New York on 16 December 1966 which became into force on 23 March 1976, and to which the Republic of Indonesia acceded on 23 February 2006.

The undersigned act in good faith in accordance with the principles of Human Rights, and nothing in the present Open Letter stands contrary to the provisions of the United Nations Charter.

Hereunder follows a non-exhaustive list of several aspects of violations of Human Rights occurred, ongoing and/or with a high risk of re-occurring:

  1. the denial of the right of self-determination,
  2. the rights of indigenous people,
  3. the rights of minorities,
  4. arbitrary detention,
  5. enforced and involuntary disappearances,
  6. extrajudicial summary or arbitrary executions,
  7. torture and other crual or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,
  8. the right to food,
  9. the freedom of peaceful assembly,
  10. the freedom of opinion and expression,
  11. the right of access to the territory for journalists,
  12. the right to environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and waste,
  13. the right to safe drinking water,
  14. violence against women

For the sake of good order and comprehension follows here a recapitulation of the history and situation of generalized violations of Human Rights by Indonesia towards West Papua, and the denial of self-determination for West Papua by Indonesia.

  1. In 1969 the Indonesian government, after having received from the United Nations the provisional administration over West Papua, organizes the so-called “Act of Choice”;
  2. The “Act of Choice” took place under conditions totally the opposite of the right to self-determination;
  3. The conditions under which the “Act of Choice”  took place were totally the opposite of those decided by the UN for letting the people of West Papua freely express themselves on their future political regime;
  4. During the years after the “Act of Choice” and up to now  the West Papuan population has on a continued basis reminded that the “Act of Choice” has taken place under falsified and non-democratic conditions;
  5. The procedure for determining the future of West Papua therefore never took place under conditions which may make expire the basic civil and political rights of the West Papuan indigenous people;
  6. The West Papuan indigenous people still have their rights to decide on the way they choose for self-determination;
  7. The United Nations General Assembly has in 1969 acted the result of the” Act of Free Choice” and has given execution to that result;
  8. This meant that West Papua became annexed to the Republic of Indonesia as an integral part of Indonesia;
  9. West Papua therefore was forced to stay in a colonial system;
  10. Only the Rule was substituted;
  11. What happened to be the Dutch Rule was substituted or exchanged into an Indonesian Rule;
  12. The legal result in terms of International Public Law is that West Papua never lost its rights to step out of the colonial system;
  13. The West Papuan people under the present system being  annexed and fully integrated in the Republic of Indonesia still has its full rights for self-determination, as well as its civil and political rights;
  14. Those rights for self-determination follow the particularities of the West Papuan people;
  15. It is not contested that the West Papuan people is distinguished from Indonesia;
  16. The West Papuan region is by geography totally separated from Indonesia;
  17. The ethnic origins of the West Papuan people are Melanesian, and not Indonesian;
  18. The language spoken is also from origins totally different from the official Indonesian language;
  19. On the religious side, 80 % of the West Papuan people are Christian, the same percentage is trough for the Islamic people of the total of Indonesia;
  20. The fundamental differences with Indonesia were already recognized by the former Dutch colonizer;
  21. The former Dutch colonizer therefore organized its administration over West Papua totally separated from its administration over Indonesia;
  22. Indonesia obtained independence in 1949;
  23. This independence took place without any link to a possible annexation of West Papua to Indonesia;
  24. This independence also happened without any demand or claim from Indonesia for an annexation of West Papua;
  25. At the moment of the preparation of Indonesia’s independence there was also no demand neither a suggestion from The Netherlands to annex West Papua to Indonesia at the occasion of the independence of Indonesia;
  26. West Papua then stayed without any change under the Dutch Rule;
  27. West Papua came only in 1963 under certain and by the United Nations well defined conditions temporarily under the administration of Indonesia;
  28. No decision by the United Nations General Assembly can take away from any people its basic rights for self-determination, as well as its civil and political rights;
  29. The people of West Papua therefore never have lost their rights for self-determination, civil and political rights, neither to free themselves from colonialism;
  30. The fault for that infringement to non-contested rights and principles of Human Rights is the non-contestable falsification by the Republic of Indonesia of the conditions imposed for a fair and democratic organization of the ”Act of Free Choice”;
  31. The Republic of Indonesia is fully responsible for the situation whereby West Papua has never had the occasion to make use under fair circumstances, and following  a democratic way, of its fundamental rights for leaving the colonial system;
  32. The fact that the United Nations General Assembly in 1969 has not refused the results of the “Act of Free Choice” as presented to the General Assembly can in no way do expire the basic Human Rights of the people of West Papua;
  33. The fact that the United Nations General Assembly of 1969 has given the administration of West Papua to Indonesia, West Papua becoming by this an integral part of Indonesia does in no way do expire West Papua’s rights to self-determination and  come out from a colonial system;
  34. The West Papuan people did never lose and can never lose their internal rights for self-determination;
  35. The internal right to self-determination is a non-contested right of International Public Law;
  36. West Papua moreover also fulfills the conditions for external rights to independence following the United Nations Resolution 2625 of 1970.
  37. Protection to territorial integrity of a State then indeed became conditioned by the state’s behavior in conformity with the principle of equal rights and self-determination, and governance by a Government representing the whole of the State’s population without discrimination on grounds such as race, religion or color.
  38. Indonesia has at the occasion of its accession to the so-called BUPO Covenant  (see below) made most clear that it indeed fails to respect the conditions imposed for making use or benefitting  of the protection of territorial integrity;
  39. In no way one may ascertain or accept that the West Papuan people has been in the situation to participate actively and effectively to its self-determination, as well as to the decision making on the way it would be administered;
  40. The opposite has happened;
  41. The by Indonesia in 2001installed Autonomy Act can under International Public Law never be a substitute to the basic Human Right of self-determination, neither a substitute to basic Civil and Political rights;
  42. The Autonomy Act moreover was used by the Indonesian Government as an instrument for further administering the West Papuan people in a way that is not corresponding to comply with effective Human Rights;
  43. This became very soon clear and the Autonomy Act was refused by the West Papuan Congress after 4 years of giving it a fair chance;
  44. It cannot be denied that infringements against Human Rights occurred in various domains;
  45. These domains are mentioned here above;
  46. Infringements against Human Rights are still ongoing or present a high risk of re-occurring;
  47. Moreover, Indonesia has effectively shown that its administering of the West Papuan people and way of internal and international law making process is one of window dressing and lacks any legal ground;
  48. Indonesia has acceded to the so-called BUPO Covenant on 23 February 2006;
  49. Indonesia has however at the occasion of its accession to the BUPO Covenant excluded article one of the effects of its accession;
  50. Article one of the BUPO Covenant read as follows:

50.1.     1. All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

50.2.     2. All peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic co-operation, based upon the principle of mutual benefit, and international law. In no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence.

50.3.     3. The States Parties to the present Covenant, including those having responsibility for the administration of Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories, shall promote the realization of the right of self-determination, and shall respect that right, in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.

51.  Indonesia has however made the following Declaration at the occasion of its accession to the BUPO Covenant :”With reference to Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Government of the Republic of Indonesia declares that, consistent with the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, and the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation Among States, and the relevant paragraph of the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action of 1993, the words “the right of self-determination” appearing in this article do not apply to a section of people within a sovereign independent state and cannot be construed as authorizing or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent states.”

  1. Indonesia has by acting in this way put itself aside and above basic Human Rights;
  2. Indonesia has by such exclusion clearly showed its way of administering the West Papuan people, i.e. by excluding  them from basic Human Rights;
  3. One must even recognize that Indonesia’s Declaration excluding the full application of article one of the BUPO Covenant is without any legal effect since such Declaration totally brings to zero a most substantial part of the covenant;
  4. Also, the wording used by Indonesia in its Declaration at the occasion of its accession to the BUPO Covenant would imply all of the states having ratified or accessed to the BUPO Covenant (see last word “states”), what of course makes null the total of its Declaration, and therefore leaves without any legal incidence or impact its Declaration.
  5. The conclusion of the foregoing is that Indonesia, even while accessing to international  treaties relating to Human Rights, takes the occasion to exclude the West Papuan people from basic Human Rights such as the right to self-determination, as well as Civil and Political rights;
  6. This state comportment of Indonesia is an infringement of basic articles of the United Nations Charter, and for membership-conditions of the United Nations Organization.

The undersigned apply for all appropriate further actions by the world leaders at the occasion of the from March 19 until March 21 Jakarta International Defense Dialog, and their recognition that the West Papuan situation must be resolved in accordance with all the West Papuan rights to self-determination as well as Human Rights, without any exception whatsoever.

The undersigned confirm their wish to re-establish normal speaking terms with Indonesia, and make workable a new modus vivendi for the future and welfare of West Papua and its people, as well as all of the stakeholders of its economic actors.

In this framework the undersigned aim to be directly involved in the announced renegotiations of mine-, gas-, and oil contracts recently cited as political priority by the competent Minister of Energy, his Excellency Jero Wacik.

For the whole of this subject of renegotiations of mine-, gas-, and oil contracts, the undersigned aim for starting urgently a neutral audit by a reputed international audit firm they will choice for an examination in depth of the application that was given regarding the 70 to 80% repartition of wealth as part of the Autonomy Act since 2001.

The undersigned do hope that indeed their action may lead to a better re-distribution of wealth, and more prosperity to all stakeholders, at all levels, in total conformity with international private and public law.

In that sense the undersigned have asked to the ILO in Geneva for assisting them in order to establish well regulated labor organizations under UN norms.

Also, the undersigned are delighted to learn about a revival of economic interest in the region, and the visit of entrepreneurs of the private sector. The undersigned aim to be associated and to actively take part to the discussions in that matter.

The undersigned do hope that in agreement with the World leaders, the Presidency, Vice-Presidency, and the entire Government of Indonesia, one may enter into most prosperous relations between parties for all of the issues mentioned above.

Sincerely yours,

Forkorus Yaboisembut, and

Edison Waromi.

18 March, 2012

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