INDONESIA: No witness protection in Indonesia despite new law

(Hong Kong, July 11, 2007) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) on Wednesday published an analysis on the shortcomings of the new Witness Protection Law in Indonesia.

The Indonesian law was promulgated on August 11, 2006, as the first legislation of this nature in the history of the country. It establishes the Witnesses and Victims Protection Agency.

“Despite the long drafting process, the law still has serious loopholes,” said Basil Fernando, AHRC executive director, in Hong Kong.

“In particular, human rights abuses committed by the police or military are not effectively addressed,” he explained.

“The law also does not protect all people who come forward to report a crime or can provide evidence,” an AHRC analyst added.

Even after eleven months the financial resources for the new Witnesses and Victims Protection Agency (LPSK) have not been clarified, and hence, no members have been selected.

“Looking at past examples, like the Indonesian Corruption Court, the sufficient provision of resources for the new witness protection agency is highly questionable,” Fernando warned.

In the law, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is granted extensive power to control the selection process for members of the new agency.

“The law avoids any clarification of the procedures for choosing members of the new institution created by the law, thus creating uncertainties about protecting people under the programme,” the AHRC analyst noted.

“Hence, the law does not yet ensure equal and qualitative access to protection and assistance for victims and witnesses,” he continued.

The full text of the law is available online, and an analysis of the law is provided on the AHRC web site. See AS-161-2007.

Document Type : Press Release
Document ID : AHRC-PL-026-2007
Countries : Indonesia,
Issues : Victims assistance & protection,