Victims families and NGOs: US military must not train members of Kopassus

Four of Indonesia’s leading human rights organisations have issued a
Joint Statement today rejecting US military training for members of
Kopassus.

In their Joint Statement, they said:

Since 1997, the Leahy Law in the US has prohibited military
assistance to military units which have been involved in human rights
violations. By virtue of the Leahy Law, the US government in 1997
halted training for members of Kopassus because of their involvement
in a number of incidents of human rights violations such as the
forced disappearance of Indonesian activists in 1997-98, acts of
violence in East Timor and the murder of the Papuan leader Theys Hiyo
Eluay in November 2001.

The Leahy Law states that the Indonesian government must first take
effective legal action against the members of Kopassus who were
involved in these human rights violations if it wishes to restore
joint military training, including providing assistance to Kopassus.
This is clearly a sign that the US intends to uphold respect for
human rights and comply with the demands for justice from the victims
of these incidents.

But now, with the forthcoming visit to Indonesia of US President
Barack Obama, there have been calls for joint training programmes for
Kopassus to be resumed. Yet, as we know, the incidents of human
rights violations involving Kopassus have not yet been dealt with by
the Indonesian government (the names of the officers are given
below). The case of the disappeared in 1997-98 is still in limbo with
no clarity on what will happen although a plenary session of the
Indonesian Parliament (DPR) adopted four recommendations for
implementation by the Indonesian government. (See below)

There has been talk recently about ending the ban on joint military
programmes with the Indonesian military following the visit to
Washington of four Indonesian generals including General Lodewijk
Paulus, commander of Kopassus, to lobby the US government. The
Indonesian minister of defence Purnomo Yusgiantoro has said that he
feels very optimistic that US collaboration with Kopassus will be
resumed, after speaking to the US Pacific Region commander, Marshall
Robert F Willard during his visit to Jakarta in February this year.

All this discussion about ending the ban on programmes of joint
collaboration is a sign that the government regards these past
incidents as having been resolved, while nothing has been done to
restore the rights of the victims or punish those who were responsible.

Another example is the Mawar Team composed of eleven Kopassus
officers who kidnapped and caused the disappearance of activists in
1997-98. Although the Mawar Team case was dealt with by a court in
1999, the fact is that the seven Kopassus officers are still on
active service and all have been promoted.

In view of the above, we reject the proposal to end the ban on giving
training to members of Kopassus, an elite military force in
Indonesia. On the other hand, we would have no objection to ending
the ban on the following conditions:

Firstly, that the Indonesian government resolves the cases of humn
rights violations which involved Kopassus and other units of the
security forces, and secondly, that the government take action to
ensure that similar human rights violations do not occur.

We also call on the Indonesian government to implement the
recommendations of the DPR on 28 September 2009 regarding the
disappearance of activists in 1997-98. The Indonesian President, SBY,
must take urgent action by issuing a presidential decree to set up a
team to investigate the disappearance of the activists in 1997-97, as
well as restoring the rights of the victims and families of those who
disappeared in 1997-98.

Jakarta, 18 March 2010

Mugiyanto, IKOHI – the Families of the Disappeared.
Usman Hami, KontraS
Poengky Indarti, Imparsial
Atnike Nova Sigiro, ELHAM

Punishment of officers who were members of the Team Mawar:

1. Major Bambang Kristiano, sentenced to 22 months, and dismissed.
2. Captain F. Musthazar, sentenced tp 20 months, and dismissed.
3. Captain Nugroho Sulistyo, sentenced to 20 months and dismissed.
4. Captain Yulius Selvanus,sentenced to 20 months and dismissed.
5. Captain Untung Budi, sentenced to 20 months and dismissed.
6. Captain Dadang Hendra, sentenced to 16 months
7. Captain Djaka Budi Utama, sentenced to 16 months
8. Captain Fauka Noor Farid, sentenced to 16 months
9. Sergeant Sunarsyo, sentenced to 12 months
10. Sergeant Sigit Sunaryo, sentenced to 12 months
11 Sergeant Sukadi, sentenced to 12 months.

[We presume that the latter six are the ones still on active service,
although a figure of seven in mentioned in the statement.)

Recommendations of the DPR:

1. That the President should set up an ad hoc Human Rights Court
2. That the President and all relevant state institutions should
conduct a search for the 13 disappeared activists.
3. That the government should rehabilitate and grant compensation to
the families of the disappeared.
4. That the government should without delay ratify the International
Covenant Against Enforced Disappearances as a sign of its commitment
to and support for action against the practice of enforced
disappearances in Indonesia

Posters displaying the face of Wiji Thukul, one of the disappeared,
thought to have been a victim of Kopassus actions.and posters of the
faces of the other disappeared are regularly displayed at
demonstrations.

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