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International Forum for Aceh (IFA)
5002, 47 Street, 2nd floor Woodside, New York
Tel.: (718) 937-0510 Fax. 786-2935
IFA POSITION STATEMENT ON: The Teupin Raya and the Matangkuli Incident, The Formation of the Komnas-Ham on Investigation Team on the Matangkuli Incident and The Koneksitas Court
IFA (International Forum for Aceh) strongly condemns the atrocities perpetrated by the Rajawali Detachment of the Indonesian Army at the villages of Alue Lhok, Bukit Pidie and Seuneubok Aceh, in the District of Matangkuli, North Aceh.
While all civilized and concerned people in the international community are trying hard to find a formula for a dialogue towards a peaceful solution in Aceh, the Indonesian military continue to challenge such efforts. President Gus Dur seems to be playing a double-edged sword, sending his representative to talk to GAM commander, Abdullah Syafii, while allowing the military to continue with the repressive actions against the innocent civilians. The
Indonesian State Secretary, Bondan Gunawan, was still at the airport on his way back to Jakarta after the historic meeting, when the Indonesian army launched a massive operation in three villages surrounding the place of the meeting at Teupin Raya, in the District of Pidie, hoping to capture Abdullah Syafiee. Unsuccessful, they ransacked the villages and brutalized the villagers instead.
IFA demands that such blatant disregard of human decency be stopped immediately and that those responsible for it be punished.
In another and more recent incident, IFA learned from the ICRC office in Lhok Seumawe that two housewives from Alue Lhok and Seuneubok Aceh villages have officially lodged complaints on 22/03 that they had been raped. These women, with the initials Lt (30) and Nur (32) alleged that they had been raped by soldiers of the 0103 Infantry Unit of TNI based in Lhok Seumawe, at dawn on 17/3. Mrs. Lt said her husband was tied down when she was raped.
According to her dozens of other women in the said villages had been molested, but were too afraid to report because they were warned that they would be shot if they reported the matter.
The villagers of these villages also alleged to a reporter of the local newspaper, SERAMBI that the soldiers had robbed them. Mr. M. Jamaluddin (30) said he was robbed of 3.4 million rupiahs in cash as well as 12 grams of gold jewelries belonging to his wife. According to Mr. Marhaban (50) of Matangkuli, as quoted by this reporter, the number of women raped may be more than 12, six of them young unmarried girls. One Mrs. Aisyah (45) said her door was kicked open by the soldiers at about 2 am., her husband was tied up and kicked. They took 1.5 million rupiahs from him and 6 grams of gold jewelries from her. Eight month pregnant, Mrs Marliah (30) said she was molested. Her husband Ishak (38) was kicked and beaten and his hands were tied behind his back. They were robbed of 15 grams of gold jewelries and 1
million Rupiah. Rubiah (19), an orphan girl of the Teungku Muhammad Bade Orphanage at the village of Alue Lhok, said five soldiers in camouflage uniforms, forced her to undress and molested her. Other women who claimed to have been robbed by the soldiers are Fatimah Hanafiah (50), Rp 1 million and 9 grams of gold jewelries; Fatimah A Rahman (40), 15 grams of gold jewelries and Rp 2 million; the wife of the Imam (priest) M.Yahya: Rp 5 million and gold jewelries worth Rp 5,5 million.
Battalion Commander Lt.Col Suyatno said only that he would investigate the allegations, but until now there is not word from him on the result of his investigation.
THE FORMATION OF THE KOMNAS-HAM INVESTIGATING TEAM ON THE MATANGKULI INCIDENT.
IFA notes with satisfaction the formation of this team. It wishes to congratulate its chairman, deputy chairman and members and wishes them success. They are all
honorable and capable people who have cooperated closely with IFA in human rights matters.
IN THE MATTER OF THE 'KONEKSITAS' COURT
The International Forum for Aceh wishes to state firmly and categorically that it rejects the convention of the so-called Koneksitas Court to try persons, mostly from the military, who are suspected of grave human rights violations in Aceh. It calls instead for the creation of an ad-hoc human rights court, as such courts would have powers to consider charges of violations of crimes against humanity, which are not included in the Indonesian Criminal Code.
IFA agrees fully with TAPOL that has written to the Indonesian Government on this matter that (quote): 'In addition to being restricted to trying only ordinary crimes, a koneksitas court has the added disadvantage of including military judges on the panel as well as military personnel in pre-trial investigations. Such officers cannot be relied on to be independent and impartial towards those in the dock who are also military.'
'The trial of persons suspected of direct involvement in the killing last July of
Teungku Bantaqiah, a Muslim teacher, his wife and dozens of his pupils, has been postponed a number of times and is gravely compromised by the unexplained disappearance of the chief suspect, Lieutenant-Colonel Sudjono, who is believed to have led the attack. In his absence, it may be impossible to expose the role of more senior army officers who ordered the attack. Sudjono's disappearance is itself indication of army machinations as he was at the time under pre-trial investigation, as his superiors certainly knew.
Persons suspected of gross human rights abuses or crimes against humanity cannot be tried in courts that are only empowered to try persons for ordinary crimes under Indonesia's Criminal Code. A properly constituted ad hoc human rights court would have powers to try suspects for a much broader range of crimes in accordance with international humanitarian law. Properly
constituted ad hoc human rights courts would ensure the appointment of respected judges whose integrity with regard to human rights is unimpeachable and would be served by prosecutors and pre-trial investigators of similarly unimpeachable
integrity. The use of properly constituted ad hoc human rights courts would show that the Indonesian government will act without discrimination towards the Acehnese people by afforded them the same consideration as is to be afforded with regard to crimes against humanity committed in East Timor' (end quote)
IFA calls on the international community to move quickly in the matters cited above as a delay might give the impression to the Indonesian Government, especially to its military authorities, that they are immune to all pressures and that they are free to do whatever they please and with impunity.
Aceh, on the western tip of Sumatra island, has been wracked by clashes between Indonesian troops and Free Aceh Movement (GAM) who have been fighting for an independent state since 1976.
Perceived injustices by the central government and a decade-long brutal Indonesian military operations have sparked popular resentment and calls for a democratic referendum on independence. The violence has already cost more than 400 lives this year and more than 30,000 lives since 1976. International community so far has mostly ignored the attrocities committed by Indonesian Army in Aceh.