In this section I will posting news related to Indonesian
Army and Police, especially concerning human right and criminal activities that
they involve all over Indonesia.
For an immediate concern, I post a letter from NGO's to
Madeleine Albright (US Secretary
3 March 2000
The Honorable Madeleine Albright
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Albright,
We are writing to express our strong opposition to any U.S. Government efforts to re-engage with the Indonesian military. This is a sensitive moment in Indonesia's history with much pressure and high expectations being placed on the shoulders of the recently elected government. The leaders of the new democratic government of Indonesia are seeking to respond to widespread public demands for justice and accountability. Given the fragile coalition of power that now governs Indonesia, the U.S. Government should avoid sending any messages of support to those institutions that are hindering the processes of democratization and respect for human rights. A resumption of military engagement at any level will send a signal to the Indonesian armed forces that the U.S. government believes they have been rehabilitated, legitimizing the repression they continue to practice in the internal governance of Indonesia.
Perhaps more importantly, there is little evidence to show that previous years of U.S. military engagement with Indonesia, including training in human rights, did anything to prevent gross human rights violations by the Indonesian military. The U.S. has been training the Indonesian military since the late 1950s. During the last several decades, the people of East Timor and of Aceh, West Papua, and other provinces have been subjected to torture, disappearance,
extra judicial executions, rape, and even massacres carried out by the Indonesian military, particularly members of the elite special forces unit Kopassus. These military abuses have led hundreds of thousands of Indonesians to flee their homes and become internally displaced persons.
Those ultimately responsible for these human rights violations include several military leaders who have had close ties with the U.S., including Generals Prabowo Subianto and Zacky Anwar Mukarin who received U.S. military training and General Wiranto who has made several official visits to the U.S. Generals Anwar Mukarin and Wiranto are among those named by Indonesia's National Commission of Inquiry report on gross human rights abuses and crimes against humanity in East Timor. Lt. General Prabowo, former head of Kopassus, has admitted responsibility in a military disciplinary tribunal for the kidnapping and torture of two dozen activists.
As long as the "dual function" structure of the military places troops and officers at every level of society in a policing capacity, it cannot be claimed that civilian control has been asserted over the armed forces. The military is still a systematically repressive force in Indonesia. Even today, its troops continue to kill civilians in Aceh and are accused of inflaming the communal violence in the Molucca Islands and of forming "East Timor-like" militias in West Papua. President Wahid's appointment of a civilian as the Minister of Defense, the firing of the former military spokesman Major General Sudrajat, and the suspension of General Wiranto are all positive steps. But these steps are not sufficient evidence of fundamental reforms in the military's behavior or its basic structure.
This is clearly not the time for U.S. military re-engagement with the Indonesian military (TNI). Before any such efforts are undertaken, we believe that, as a minimum, the following benchmarks must be met.
1. Immediate reforms to reduce the military's presence and influence over local and provincial government structures with the long-term goal of the full termination of the "dual function" structure. The complete termination would require the removal of military officers from civil service posts as well as from their 38 reserved parliamentary seats.
2. Full cooperation by the military with both domestic and international investigations of human rights abuses that have occurred over the last forty years.
3. The creation of a permanent national human rights court to handle cases of past human rights abuses by the military and to prohibit further impunity for military officers.
4. The disbanding and disarming of all paramilitary militias, and the prosecution of militia members who have violated human rights.
5. The disbanding of both Kopassus, responsible for some of the most egregious human rights violations, and BAIS, the army's intelligence agency which spies on Indonesian citizens in order to halt "undesirable" political activities.
6. An immediate cessation of military and military-sponsored militia violence against the peoples of Aceh, West Papua, Lombok, the Molucca Islands, and East Timorese in West Timor.
Many of these benchmarks have already been called for either by the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) or by reform-minded leaders of the Indonesian military. The U.S. Government should actively support the reform efforts initiated by Indonesian civilian leaders as a minimum requirement before any re-engagement.
Rather than the U.S. Government focusing support and resources on military relations, a more constructive approach would be to strengthen the elected government of President Abdurrahman Wahid and the civilian institutions of governance. Technical assistance and funding is needed for the judicial system and the prosecution of those accused of human rights violations. Financial support and capacity-building for civil society groups, particularly human rights organizations, should be increased. Greater assistance to grassroots-initiated economic development programs will contribute to Indonesia's recovery from the economic crisis. In addition, increased humanitarian assistance to the refugees and internally displaced persons throughout Indonesia should be a high priority.
We understand the State Department is currently promoting training for the Indonesian police under non-military programs. Because of the historical relationship between the military and the police in Indonesia, we would discourage this initiative in favor of other important civil society building measures. Until the military control of the Indonesian police has fully ended, we strongly oppose all combat and anti-riot training for the police.
We appreciate your attention to this serious matter, and we look forward to receiving a reply.
(webmaster note; signed by 33 NGO all over the world)
check others stories about Indonesian army brutality
Killers (from The Nation March 30,
Under A Microscope (from The Christian
Science Monitor, December 01, 1999)
The Military Should Not Profit From The Aceh Problem (from
Kompas 29 November 1999)
Brutal Exit: Battalion 745 (from The Christian
Science Monitor )