The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) supports the Commission for the Disappearances and Victim of Violence (KontraS) highlighting several things about the beginning of an investigation of serious human rights violations in Paniai, Papua that occurred on 7 – 8 December 2014 by the Attorney General’s Office.
Previously, the AHRC has issued an urgent appeal to urge an investigation into this case. The Urgent Appeal is Available HERE.
The Attorney General of the Republic of Indonesia, Mr. Sanitiar Burhanuddin, as the Investigator of Serious Human Rights Violations, has signed the Attorney General’s Decree Number 267 of 2021 concerning the Establishment of a Team to Investigate Allegations of Serious Human Rights Violations in Paniai, the Papua Province, in 2014. This step is also based on an Investigation Order No: Print-79/A/JA/12/2021 dated December 3, 2021. This team consists of 22 senior prosecutors and is chaired by the Deputy Attorney General for Special Crimes which was specially formed by taking into account the Letter of the Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Number 153/PM. 03/0.1.0/IX/2021 dated 27 September 2021 regarding the response to the return of the case files on the results of the investigation of serious human rights violations in the 2014 Paniai Incident in Papua.
Based on the results of the National Human Rights Commission investigation, it was concluded that members of the TNI who served in the middle of the incident, both in the command structure of the military area command (Kodam) XVII/Cenderawasih to the field command in Enarotali, were suspected to be the responsible doers. The actions taken by members of the TNI during the Paniai incident caused 11 people to become victims of persecution on December 7, 2014 and then 4 people died and 10 people were injured the following day. In addition, the National Human Rights Commission also noted that there had been violations of children’s rights, women’s rights, the right to security and the right to life that occurred in this incident. Moreover, as the 7th anniversary of the Paniai Incident has passed, the public and especially the victims continue to inquire about the continuation of the Paniai incident’s completion.
The completion of the Paniai incident is important as an indicator of the nation’s alignment with human rights and democracy in the Papua region. The sequence of human rights violations in the form of violence by national officials against Papuans occurred on a horrific scale from period to period, including the conflict that continues today. President Jokowi has repeatedly claimed that the humanist approach to the Papua issue is also shared by the TNI Commander, Andika Perkasa. The legal process that favours the victim and the public interest in terms of revealing the truth, the embodiment of a sense of justice, the fulfillment of rights and remedies to guarantees of non-repetition must be the objectives of this investigation agenda.
Considering the above mentioned statement, we urge:
First, this Investigative Team must work professionally, transparently and independently and accelerate the fulfilment of the rights to truth, justice and reparation for victims in the Paniai case. In addition, the composition of the investigative team also needs to involve elements of the civil society who have been proven to work and have human rights concerns so that the independence of the investigation is maintained, as stated in Article 21 Paragraph (3) of the Law on Human Rights Courts. The reason is that the Paniai incident which occurred on 7-8 December 2014 involved a lot of joint military/police officers.
Second, the Investigative Team must examine the TNI Commander and the National Police Chief, as well as the Papuan Police and the XVII/Cenderawasih Military Command who are suspected of having been involved in the Paniai Incident of 7 – 8 December 2014. Article 42 of Law 26/2000 concerning the Human Rights Court has regulated command responsibility. It should be underlined that the Paniai incident took place under the TNI Commander Moeldoko. However, President Jokowi has instead appointed Moeldoko as the Chief of Presidential Staff (KSP) since January 17, 2018, even though the Paniai incident occurred when Jokowi was not even two months into being the President.
Third, the Attorney General’s Office needs to make an open periodic report on the activities carried out by the Investigation Team to ensure that the team’s work is transparent and accountable, as well as in the investigation process. The Investigation Team of the Attorney General’s Office must also involve the participation of victims in the search for evidence to ensure that the process is carried out in a transparent, accountable and fair manner.
Fourth, the Attorney General’s Office did not stop investigating the Paniai case, but immediately investigated the Wasior-Wamena case and other cases of serious human rights violations in Papua and other areas. The Attorney General’s Office has stronger authority to complete the lack of results from the National Human Rights Commission investigation report. There is no reason for the Attorney General’s Office to continuously return reports to the National Human Rights Commission. Investigative actions by the Attorney General’s Office and the legal process at the Human Rights Court are indicators to prove the commitment of the Government of Indonesia.