Monthly Archives: September 2012

Buchtar Tabuni sentenced to eight months; tight security round the courthouse.

 

 

Bintang Papua
24 September 2012
The former chairman of the KNPB – National Committee for West Papua – was sentenced to eight months in prison, having been charged with inflicting damage on the prison where he was held. The sentence was  less than the demand of the prosecutor who wanted the accused to be sentenced to one year. The eight month sentence will be reduced by the time the accused has already spent behind bars.Aggravating circumstances were that he had previously  been sentenced and that his actions caused anxiety among the people, while the mitigating factor was that he had behaved politely in court.

Following the announcement of the verdict, the defence team said that they had not yet decided whether to launch an appeal against the sentence. ‘We are still thinking about how we will respond,’ said Gustav Kawar.

The defence team said that the sentence was light and the accused should have been released. However, according to Gustav Kawar. the panel of judges had  given him a sentence as the result of external interference.
———————

Bintang Papua, 25 September 2012

After further consideration, the defence team said that the verdict had not been decided independently and had been seriously influenced by the authorities, Gustav Kawar told  journalists. This influence had come from the security forces, that is to say the army and the police This was the factor that had caused the judges to hesitate before reaching their verdict. There were also doubts because of the fact that the testimony from several of the witnesses was contradictory. Nor had it been proven that the accused had been acting  in consort with others.

According to Gustav Kawar, the Criminal Procedural Code (KUHP) stipulates that  if  any element in the charge has been proven to be invalid, the entire charge must be declared invalid. The accused as well as his defence team said that they would consider what to do in the coming seven days.

Security measures round  the court

On the day the verdict was announced, around 230 security forces from the local and district forces, including personnel  from the police intelligence unit, Brimob  were among those standing guard.

The chief of police said that several  elements of the security forces had taken part in security at the time of the various hearings.  He asserted that  they had discovered sharp weapons among the crowd of people outside the courthouse following the earlier hearings but after measures had been taken, this did not occur during the latter hearings.

[Translated by TAPOL]

 

WEST PAPUA: NZ Super Fund ends investment in Freeport mine over human rights breaches

 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Item: 8112

WELLINGTON (Radio NZ International / Pacific Media Watch): Human rights breaches have prompted the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to end its investment in the huge Freeport McMoRan copper and gold mine in Indonesia’s West Papua region.

Until now, the fund, of just over US$15 billion, has had just over a US$1 million directly invested in the Grasberg mine, and had rejected calls that this was an inappropriate investment of public money.

But the manager for responsible investment, Ann-Maree O’Connor says the fund has become concerned at a recurrence of security issues at the mine and she says human rights breaches are a key factor.

“The context is such that there have been fatalities at the mine, that there have been reports by MSCI and other sources of information that these have breached human rights standards so we believe that the situation is one that could continue well into the future, and those are the standards that we look at when we considering reviewing the behaviour of companies.”

– The New Zealand Superannunation Fund’s manager for responsible investment, Ann-Maree O’Connor.

The NZ Green Party co-leader, Russel Norman said this was a very positive development.

“The people of West Papua will, I think, receive the information very gratefully, the fact that the New Zealand government, the New Zealand Super Fund is taking a stand against the terrible practices at this mine. I think it’s great news.”

Dr Russel Norman said it was “great” that the Super Fund was taking a stronger ethical stance.

PMW editor: The NZ Superannuation Fund’s involvement in the controversial Freeport mine was challenged in a major investigative article in Metro magazine last December.

The article, written by AUT communication studies student and photojournalist Karen Abplanalp, featured a long-running strike at the mine and the shooting of miners in “suspicious circumstances”.

The allegations were widely reported by Pacific Media Watch.

PMW article on the Super Fund issue

 

http://www.pmc.aut.ac.nz/pacific-media-watch/west-papua-nz-super-fund-ends-investment-freeport-mine-over-human-rights-breache

 

All the ingredients for genocide: is West Papua the next East Timor?

 

By Jim Elmslie, University of Sydney

September 21, 2012

Allegations that Australia is funding death squads in West Papua have brought the troubled province back to Australian attention.

Blanket denials by both Indonesian and Australian governments – standard policy for such reports in the past, no longer cut the mustard.

The players respond

The killing of Papuan activist Mako Tabuni by Indonesian police was for Jakarta a legitimate operation against a violent criminal shot while evading arrest. That Tabuni bled to death from his untreated wounds while in police custody did not rate a mention.

The Australian response was more measured. Foreign Minister Bob Carr took the allegation that Tabuni had been assassinated seriously because the partially Australian funded and trained elite anti-terrorist organisation, Densus 88, was accused of playing a role in the killing.

Bob Carr raised the issue of human rights with foreign minister Marty Natalegawa in June this year in his first official visit to Indonesia EPA/Adi Weda

For once there was a direct Australian connection to the human rights abuses that have been happening in West Papua for decades. Australian taxpayers may indeed be helping to fund Indonesian death squads. Carr called on the Indonesians to make a full enquiry into the affair.

The Indonesian response was to appoint Brigadier General Tito Karnavian as Papua’s new Police Chief. This sends the clearest possible message that Jakarta intends to deal with the Papuan separatists’ insurgency with lethal force, rather than diplomacy and negotiation.

Many activists have been arrested and a concerted effort is underway to break the back of the urban based, non-violent Papuan rights organisations, such as Tabuni’s KNPB (Komite Nasional Papua Barat).

Independence

Most Papuans would favour independence over Indonesian occupation. This is a recipe for ongoing military operations, repression and human rights abuse as the Indonesian military and police hunt down “separatists”.

This seems to suit most players. West Papua is the Indonesian military’s last zone of exclusive control after the loss of Aceh and East Timor. It’s a fabulous prize to control as extensive (legal and illegal) logging, huge mining projects and massive development funds provide rich pickings for those in control, while incoming migrants are drawn in by economic opportunities unavailable elsewhere. It is really only the Papuans who are suffering in this massive free-for-all.

The plight of the Papuans is slowly but surely seeping into the global consciousness. While modern technology allows West Papua’s riches to now be exploited, it also allows the stories and images of Papuan suffering to emerge. Increased Indonesian militarisation and repression only exacerbate this trend.

A new East Timor?

This is the same trajectory that East Timor’s long struggle for freedom followed: an overwhelmingly dominant military on the ground but a growing sense of outrage within the international community, especially in the Western nations. This led Indonesia to be treated almost as a pariah nation and underpinned East Timor’s rapid shift to independence in the wake of Suharto’s fall.

While no other nation supports West Papuan independence, except Vanuatu sporadically, and the rule of the Indonesian state appears unassailable, a dangerous dynamic is developing.

As the situation in West Papua deteriorates, human rights abuses will continue, with the very real prospect of a dramatic increase in violence to genocidal levels.

The ingredients are there: stark racial, religious and ideological differences coalescing around a desire for Papuan resources and Papuans’ land, on one hand, and independence on the other. Indeed many Indonesians, as well as the Indonesian state, already view Papuan separatists as traitors.

This should rightly concern Australians: we are in a quasi-military alliance with Indonesia through the 2006 Lombok Treaty. We are a player, albeit minor, in these events. When there is a divide in the opinion of the political, military and bureaucratic elite, and that of the wider population, as occurred in Australia over Indonesia’s occupation of East Timor, the majority view tends to eventually prevail. And the majority view, formed by such programmes as the ABC 7.30 report, is moving to one of sympathy for the Papuans and antipathy towards Indonesia for what many see as a re-run of East Timor’s disastrous occupation. This does not bode well for relations between the two countries.

Words or bullets?

Indonesia runs the risk of having its widely heralded democratisation process stained by the Papuan conflict. There is also the fact that while West Papua remains a military zone the Indonesian army will continue to be unaccountable and largely outside of civilian control, stymieing anti-corruption efforts not just in Papua but through out the country. The consequences for the Papuans are abundantly clear: no basic rights and a life lived in fear.

While there are no quick or easy solutions to this conundrum, one choice is manifestly clear: does the answer lie in more words or more bullets?

Jakarta has so far rejected meaningful dialogue in favour of a beefed up security approach. Australia, and Australians, should forcefully criticise this as being against our own, and Indonesia’s (let alone the Papuans’) long-term interests.

If the West Papuan conflict continues to follow the East Timor trajectory this problem will continue to grow, relations will become strained and tensions rise. It’s worth remembering that Australia and Indonesia very nearly came to blows over East Timor. Let’s learn from the past and encourage, and promote, meaningful dialogue between all parties.

Jim Elmslie does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

The Conversation

This article was originally published at The Conversation.
Read the original article.

 

No witnesses appear at the trial of Buchtar Tabuni

 

 

Bintang Papua
13 September 2012Jayapura: A hearing in the trial of Buchtar Tabuni took place today in the Jayapura district court, without the presence of any witnesses  who might have been able to testify in court in support of the charge that the defendant had damaged Abepura Prison where he was being held.at the time.

One of his team of lawyers, Gustaf Kawer, said that there were a number of people who the prosecutor could have summoned to appear in court during the trial but he had not done anything to call these witnesses

Kawer said this was already clear at the earlier hearing on 10 September when the prosecutor  said that Matius Murib would be called to testify, but at the following hearing,  Murib did not attend as a result of which the presiding judge suspended. the hearing.

At the next hearing, it was the defendant, Buchtar Tabuni who was questioned. The presiding judge, Haris Munandar, asked Buchtar to tell the court  what he had done on 3 December 2010 when the prison was damaged.

Buchtar told the court that he had done everything he possibly could to prevent a crowd of people from inflicting damage in the prison.

‘I shouted to a crowd of people, calling on them not to enter the prison and start damaging it.’

This is the same as what Buchtar Tabuni told the court at the beginning of the trial.

[Translated by Carmel Budiardjo]

 

Lawyer calls on judges to release Buchtar after all witnesses fail to appear

 

Bintang Papua,
11 September 2012
Jayapura: Gustaf Kawer, one of the lawyers defending the former chairman of the KNPB – National Committee of West Papua – said that the judges hearing the case of Buchtar Tabuni should have the courage to release the defendant  in the absence of any witnesses to testify against him. The lawyer said this followed the decision yesterday to postpone a further hearing in the trial.He said that from the start, he had commented that the the prosecutor in the case had shown no seriousness in handling the case against Buchtar. This is evident from the fact that none of the witnesses he had wanted to testify at the trial had appeared although several hearings had been held.

‘In the latest instance, the witness Matius Murib was to have appeared but he didn’t appear, even though he is known to be in Jayapura and his home address in known, so why  did he not appear?’

The lawyer   said Matius Murib is known to be well acquainted with the case and the judges should consider that if there is no evidence to prove that Buchter was responsible for damaging the  prison in any way, which was to have been proven by the witnesses all of whom had failed to appear, then the judges should take the bold  step of simply  releasing the man who is now on trial.

The lawyer also spoke about the many shootings  that have been occurring in the city of Jayapura  which have been linked to Buchtar, which was nothing more than a set-up. He said that Buchtar had been linked to the shooting of Miron Wetipo but that case has already been solved, so it was clear that the authorities were trying to make a scapegoat of Buchtar. Buchtar was arrested on 6 June 2012 which was just at the time when some shootings occurred in Jayapura which was followed by the arrest of Buchtar, whereas Buchtar was not in any way connected with those shootings. So instead of being charged with the shootings, he now faces the charge  of inflicting damage on the Abepura Prison in 2010, which means that he should have been arrested in 2010.

At the time, it was said that there were plenty of witnesses and now they were not even able to call Matius Murib as a witness.

The lawyer said that  the panel of judges should postpone further hearings until Matius Murib could be called as his testimony would be crucial for this trial. Gustaf insisted that there were plenty of witnesses who could give testimony regarding the damage inflicted on the prison, yet the prosecutors were not able to  get any of these witnesses to appear.

As is known, the hearing on 10 September was again postponed .

At the hearing held yesterday, the prosecutors were still not able to bring any witnesses to court.who would be able to testify about Buchtar’s alleged damage to the prison. The prosecutors has also been unable to summon Liberty Sitinjak who would have been a key witness  about the incident on 3 December 2010.

The prosecutor announced that Liberty was unable to appear to testify, even though he has been summoned three times. And now, the hearing held on 10 September was also suspended until 13 September while it was being said that Matius Murib, who was formerly and member of the National Human Rights Commission, would also not be able to  appear.

It has now been announced that the hearing that is due to take place on 13 September which was originally intended  to hear testimony from witnesses would now be devoted to questioning the defendant, Buchtar Tabuni.

[Translated by Carmel Budiardjo]