Page of Indonesia 2002 D. O. S. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices


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Page of

Indonesia 2002

D.O.S. Country Reports

on Human Rights Practices


Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - 2002
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

U.S. Department of State

Washington, D.C. 20520
March 31, 2003

[1] Indonesia is a republic. The country has a presidential system with three branches of government. The President is the Head of State and serves a 5-year term for a maximum of two terms. In July 2001, Vice President Megawati Soekarnoputri succeeded President Abdurrahman Wahid after he was impeached. The Cabinet consists of 30 Ministers. The People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) is the supreme legislative body and has the power to amend the Constitution. The MPR includes the entire 500 member House of Representatives (DPR), which enacted legislation and appointed regional members. The Government continued to make progress in its transition to a more pluralistic and representative democracy during the year. Since 1999 the MPR has adopted four major constitutional amendments. The Third Amendment was passed in 2001, and the Fourth Amendment, which was passed during the year, provide for direct election of the President and Vice President; create a new legislative body to be made up of regional representatives; and abolish all appointed seats in the legislature, including those for the military (TNI) and the police, known together as the security forces. Some implementing legislation pertaining to these two amendments still was pending at year's end. The amendments established the executive as a separate branch of the Government answerable to the country's citizens rather than to the MPR. During the year, a major decentralization program continued to empower district governments. The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary; however, in practice the courts remained subordinate to the executive.

[2] The TNI is responsible for external defense and the police are responsible for internal security. However, in practice, the division of responsibilities continued to be unclear, with the military playing an overlapping role in internal security matters, particularly in conflict areas such as Aceh, the Moluccas, Central Sulawesi, and Papua (formerly known as Irian Jaya). A civilian defense minister supervises the military, but in practice only exercises limited control over military policy and operations. The TNI continued to wield significant political influence and occupied 38 appointed seats in the DPR. Police and soldiers occasionally clashed, sometimes resulting in the deaths of security force members as well as civilians. Members of the security forces, particularly the Army’s Special Forces (Kopassus) and the Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob), committed many serious human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, torture, rape, and arbitrary detention.

[3] During the year, the economy, which increasingly was market-driven, grew from 3 percent to 3.5 percent; the Government stabilized the country’s currency, the rupiah, and reduced annual inflation to 10 percent. A more stable currency encouraged trade, while lower inflation boosted consumption. Government statistics, however, reported 8 million persons unemployed and another 30 million persons under-employed out of a total population of approximately 230 million persons. Per capita gross domestic product (GDP) was $688 in 2001. Large disparities in the distribution of wealth and political power contributed to social tensions and continued to create demands for greater regional autonomy.

[4] The government’s human rights record remained poor, and it continued to commit serious abuses. Soldiers and police murdered, tortured, raped, beat, and arbitrarily detained both civilians and members of separatist movements. These abuses were most apparent in Aceh Province, on the northwest tip of Sumatra, where members of an ongoing separatist movement killed at least 898 persons, both combatants and non-combatants, during the year. Human rights violations in Aceh were frequent and severe during the year. On December 9, in Geneva, the Government and the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM) signed a Framework Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities. Security force members also committed severe abuses in other conflict zones such as Papua, the Moluccas, and Central Sulawesi, but at reduced levels compared with the previous year. In Papua members of the TNI and the Brimob committed assaults, rapes, and supported militias, which raised fears of interreligious conflict. During the year, the Government detained and named as suspects seven soldiers for the killing of Papuan pro-independence leader Theys Hiyo Eluay. The Government also arrested seven men, including GAM member Tengku Don, in connection with the killings of prominent Acehnese.

[5] Retired and active duty military officers who were known to have committed serious human rights violations occupied or were promoted to senior positions in both the Government and the TNI. By year’s end, the East Timor Ad Hoc Tribunal on Human Rights had found only one member of the security forces–-Army Lt. Col. Soedjarwo-–guilty of crimes against humanity. Soedjarwo was convicted and sentenced to 5 years in prison for failing to prevent attacks by anti-independence militiamen against the Dili residence and office of Archbishop Carlos Belo in September 1999, which killed at least 13 civilians (see: Section 1.e.). During the year, the tribunal completed 14 out of 18 trials and convicted only 3 defendants--Soedjarwo, former East Timor Governor Abilio Soares, who was sentenced to 3 years in prison, and fellow ethnic East Timorese Eurico Guterres, former leader of the Aitarak militia, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison. All three remained free pending appeals at year's end. The tribunal’s performance reinforced the impression that impunity would continue for soldiers and police who committed human rights abuses.

[6] Terrorists, civilians, and armed groups also committed serious human rights abuses. On October 12, two bombs exploded in the Bali tourist enclave of Kuta, killing 186 and injuring 328 persons. The government subsequently issued a regulation that expanded the government’s power to detain and prosecute suspected terrorists. A government investigation resulted in the arrest of 15 suspects in the Bali attack. On August 31, in Papua, unidentified gunmen killed 3 persons, including 2 foreigners, and injured 12 others when they ambushed a civilian convoy near the Freeport mine. In resource rich Aceh, Gam rebels killed, tortured, raped, beat, and illegally detained civilians and members of the security forces.

[7] The eastern part of the country experienced widespread abuses, particularly in the Moluccas and in central Sulawesi, where ongoing conflicts between Muslims and Christians resulted in violence, segregation, and displacement. The number of serious abuses there, however, declined sharply from the previous year. During the year, conflicts in the provinces of Maluku and North Maluku killed an estimated 75 persons and prevented at least 300,000 displaced persons from returning home. In central Sulawesi, violence resulted in the deaths of dozens of persons and kept approximately 70,000 displaced persons from returning home. In Kalimantan occasional killings occurred during clashes between indigenous Dayaks and ethnic Madurese migrants, although the overall level of violence fell sharply from the previous year.

[8] Despite the reduced death toll in most conflict zones, the Government largely failed to deter social, interethnic, and interreligious violence. Mob vigilante action and religious groups purporting to uphold public morality continued to dispense "street justice." Meanwhile, extremist groups increasingly limited freedom of expression by intimidating or attacking news organizations whose content they found objectionable. The DPR passed a restrictive Broadcasting Bill, which alarmed journalists and activists who called it a major threat to press freedom. During the year, the Government strengthened its legal framework to protect children by passing the Child Protection Act and other related forms of legislation; however, child labor and sexual abuse remained major problems, and implementation of the law remained weak. The Government continued to allow new trade unions to form and to operate, but it frequently failed to enforce labor standards or address violations of worker rights. Trafficking, particularly for prostitution, remained a significant problem. Indonesia was invited by the Community of Democracies' (CD) Convening Group to attend the November 2002 second CD Ministerial Meeting in Seoul, Republic of Korea, as a participant.


Section 1: Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:

Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life

[9] The security forces continued to employ harsh measures against rebels and civilians in separatist zones where most politically motivated extrajudicial killings occurred. The security forces also committed numerous extrajudicial killings that were not politically motivated. The Government largely failed to hold soldiers and police accountable for such killings and other serious human rights abuses.

[10] In Aceh, where separatist GAM rebels remained active, military and police personnel committed many extrajudicial killings and used excessive force against non-combatants as well as combatants; at least 898 persons were killed during the year. This figure included civilians, rebels, and security force members, with civilians accounting for most of the fatalities. However, security forces and rebels gave conflicting information on victims’ identities, making it difficult to determine the breakdown of civilian, rebel, and security force deaths. Many of the killings appeared to be executions. The Government and the GAM accused each other of killing captured combatants, and there was evidence to support such claims. Press reports undercounted the number of casualties, and some deaths never appeared in the newspapers. Police rarely investigated extrajudicial killings and almost never publicized such investigations.

[11] On June 7, on Kayee Ciret Mountain in Aceh, TNI soldiers shot and killed two farmers and wounded five others in a raid on a hut in an area suspected as a hideout for GAM rebels. The attack occurred at dawn, while the farmers slept. On August 3, in the north Aceh village of Kandang, six gunmen stormed into a number of houses and shot and killed three local women. The GAM accused the Brimob of carrying out the attack because relatives of the victims had links to the GAM. The security forces rejected this allegation, but the NGO Central Information for Aceh Referendum (SIRA) reported that a group of Brimob visited the village on the night in question. Village witnesses identified the gunmen as police and recognized the group’s leader, Syarifuddin, a sergeant feared for his alleged brutality. On December 1, in Banda Aceh, a group of unidentified men kidnaped a 26-year-old human rights activist of the Coalition for West Aceh Students Movement (Kagempar). Three days later, villagers found his mutilated body face-down in the water underneath a bridge. Reliable sources said the young man’s skull had been penetrated repeatedly with a screwdriver.

[12] Police in Aceh did not announce the results of any investigations into extrajudicial killings carried out by the security forces in previous years. In addition, the Government released soldiers suspected of involvement in the December 2000 slaying of three NGO workers in North Aceh because the suspects already had served the maximum period of detention before trial. During the year, credible sources in North Aceh spotted civilian suspects in the same case who had disappeared from police custody in 2001.

[13] Numerous killings that occurred in Aceh during the year could not be clearly attributed to either the security forces or the GAM rebels. For instance, on March 16, unidentified assailants shot and killed six persons in the town of Lombaro Angan, Aceh Besar district, after 30 police were ambushed while searching for GAM rebels. Local residents said the victims all were politically inactive farmers who were killed while working in a rice field. GAM spokesman Ayah Sofyan later indicated that one of the six persons killed was a GAM member. On September 4, in the village of Gumpueng Tiro, Pidie regency, unidentified persons stopped a public minivan, abducted two high school girls, took them to a nearby forest, and fatally shot them. According to the local press, unidentified gunmen also shot and killed 14 teachers during the year; it was unclear who was responsible for killing schoolteachers in the province.

[14] Investigation continued into the August 2001 massacre of 31 persons at a palm oil plantation run by PT Bumi Flora in Idi Rayeuk, East Aceh. The National Commission on Human Rights (KOMNASHAM) formed an investigation team (KPP HAM), whose members visited the site in July. The team examined evidence, spoke with local residents and met with officials. However, the team did not announce the results of the investigation. Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report containing the text of interviews with witnesses to the slaughter and noted that "all of the witnesses believed that the Indonesian Army was responsible for the killings."

[15] During the year, GAM members killed many police, soldiers, civil servants, politicians, and other Aceh residents. Although many Acehnese feared and resented the security forces because of their involvement in human rights abuses, local support for the GAM declined during the year, according to neutral Aceh-based observers. The GAM alienated large segments of Acehnese society through a campaign of extortion and kidnaping for profit. On January 31, in Lhokseumawe, suspected GAM members shot and killed Dr. Murdan, as he headed to work at a hospital in the community of Cut Meutia. The killing had a ripple effect, as it discouraged paramedics from providing services to that area. On March 6, at a coffee plantation in the central Aceh town of Linge, GAM rebels apprehended, questioned, and killed Sarifuji, an ethnic Javanese. The GAM subsequently claimed responsibility. The GAM acknowledged that on April 9, its forces shot and killed two soldiers as they traveled by motorbike near the north Aceh town of Kuala Meuraksa. The soldiers’ two rifles were captured in the raid, which the GAM acknowledged carrying out. During the year, police made progress in investigating some killings allegedly committed by the GAM. However, the overall amount of progress disappointed NGOs and legal experts. GAM leaders accused the security forces of executing captured rebels, without benefit of a trial. On June 26, Aceh’s police chief announced the arrest of seven men, including GAM rebel Tengku Don, in connection with the killings of prominent Acehnese. The police accused Tengku Don of involvement in the September 6, 2001 killing of Dayan Dawood, rector of Banda Aceh’s Syiah Kuala University, who was shot after offering to mediate between the GAM and the Government. Tengku Don allegedly possessed one of the pistols used in the killing, and there were indications that the attack was criminally motivated. In August a court convicted five GAM separatists of carrying out an arson attack in Takengon, Central Aceh. The lead conspirator received a 16-year term, while the others, who did not take part in setting the blaze, were sentenced to 10 months in jail. Police did not publicize any other investigations into killings allegedly committed by the rebels in Aceh.

[16] The Government did not announce the results of its investigation into the 2001 killings of Aceh provincial legislator Zaini Sulaiman and prominent politician Teungku Johan. The Government also did not announce any results from its alleged investigations into the deaths of Sukardi, Sulaiman Ahmad, Jafar Siddiq Hamzah, Tengku Safwan Idris, or NGO activist Nashiruddin Daud, all killed in 2000.

[17] In Papua, where separatist sentiment remained strong and a low-intensity conflict continued between the TNI and armed rebels of the Free Papua Movement (OPM), there were no verified cases of politically motivated killings by the security forces during the year; however, many such killings were alleged. There also were deaths that many indigenous Papuans found suspicious. On January 22, in Bonggo, Papua, Kopassus troops shot and killed Leisina Yaneiba, a clerk at a logging company. She had intervened in an altercation between Kopassus guards and a former employee, Martinus Maware, whom the TNI alleged was an OPM rebel (see: Section 1.b.). On June 21, in the Papuan city of Wamena, Dani tribal chief Yafet Yelemaken died following a trip to Bali, where he had met a police acquaintance; friends concluded that the policeman poisoned Yelemaken during a visit to his hotel room. Despite widespread media coverage, no physical or factual evidence supported this theory. In August on the Papuan island of Biak, NGOs, religious groups, and Adat (traditional) councils accused the military of killing at least three Papuans. Hospital records indicated, however, that two of the persons in question drowned at sea and the third died in a road accident. On August 31, unidentified assailants killed three persons, including two foreigners, and wounded 12 others in an attack close to a large gold and copper mine near Timika, in Papua. The victims were teachers on a recreational outing. Several people dressed in military fatigues reportedly stopped the teachers' convoy in a heavy fog on the Tembagapura-Timika road and fired at the vehicles at close range. The Government quickly alleged that OPM had carried out the attack; the group denied responsibility. During the course of the initial police investigation, senior police officials were quoted in the press about indications that soldiers were involved in the attack. The initial police probe and subsequent military follow-up investigations were followed at year’s end by a joint police-military investigation. In addition, the Government agreed to incorporate assistance from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation.

[18] On June 9, police arrested highland leader Benny Wenda in connection with a December 2000 attack in the northeastern Papuan community of Abepura, which resulted in the deaths of two police officers and one security guard. On October 26, Wenda escaped from prison and was on the run at year’s end.

[19] The Government made progress in its investigation into the November 2001 killing of Papuan pro-independence leader Theys Hiyo Eluay, who was found dead in his car outside the provincial capital, Jayapura. Based on a February 5 presidential decree, the Government set up a National Investigation Committee (KPN) made up of Government and civil society members to probe the killing. The team traveled to Papua on February 25, and on March 19, the military announced that soldiers had been declared suspects in the case. The KPN delivered its findings to President Megawati on April 29, classifying the killing as an ordinary crime, not a gross human rights violation. The two Papuan KPN members and other Papuan groups rejected this finding, and urged KOMNASHAM to investigate it as a state crime. The Government initially detained nine Kopassus members in connection with the killing and investigated three additional suspects. At year’s end, seven soldiers remained suspects, but none of them had been tried.

[20] Other government investigations in Papua made little progress. Police made no perceptible headway in their probe of the 2001 disappearances and suspected killings of Willem Onde, leader of the Papua Liberation Front Army (TPNP), and his friend, Johanes Tumeng. Bodies believed to be theirs and bearing evidence of gunshot wounds were found floating in the Kumundu River with their hands bound. The Government did not report any progress in its investigation into the alleged police killings in 2001 of 12 civilians in the northwest Papua city of Wasior. NGOs claimed the Brimob carried out the killings in revenge of a June 2001 attack on a police post that left 5 police officers dead. Unknown persons returned three of the six weapons seized during that attack following negotiations between police and community leaders. Negotiations for the return of the remaining weapons continued at year's end. In a related case, the Government announced no progress in its probe into the earlier alleged police killings of six Papuan civilians in Waisor in May 2001. The six were apparently returning home from a celebration when they were killed.

[21] In the western Java Province of Banten, on March 23, seven members of the Presidential Guard reportedly kidnaped and then killed Endang Hidayat, village chief of Binuangeun, in Lebak regency. Evidence suggested that the guardsmen killed Endang because he had informed police that one of the guards had purchased stolen motorcycles.

[22] Occasional clashes between the police and military resulted in civilian deaths as well as fatalities among the security forces. Chronically underfunded soldiers and police clashed periodically over control of criminal enterprises, including drugs, gambling, illegal logging, and prostitution. In September in the north Sumatran town of Binjai, an armed confrontation between soldiers and police left seven police, one soldier and three civilians dead, and at least four civilians injured. The dispute reportedly began when police arrested a soldier for selling the drug ecstasy. On October 2, Army Chief of Staff Ryamizard Ryacudu dishonorably discharged 20 soldiers who were involved in the dispute. On December 18, a military tribunal sentenced 9 of those soldiers to between 5 months and 30 months in prison.

[23] Police and soldiers clashed 23 times during the year, a decrease of at least 35 percent from the same period a year earlier. During the year in Entiekong, West Kalimantan, a shootout between police and soldiers caused an unknown number of casualties. The clash reportedly occurred when police tried to close a TNI protected gambling operation. On August 12, in the West Java village of Cicurug, Bogor Regency, a brawl between police and soldiers left one policeman dead and three injured. The clash reportedly occurred after police tried to rescue an alleged pickpocket who was being beaten by troops.

[24] Police frequently used deadly force to apprehend suspects. On September 25 in Makassar, South Sulawesi, police were criticized for fatally shooting Iwan, a suspected gang member, who was in their custody. Police claimed they shot him when he tried to escape; however, an autopsy showed he was shot five times at close range. The Legal Aid Society (LBH) condemned the killing. Reliable statistics on the use of deadly force by police were not available. Senior police officials said they punished officers who used excessive force, but such punishments were not made public. On December 31, the Jakarta police chief said his office fired or suspended 107 officers during the year for misconduct, but he did not identify the types of misconduct. The police did not announce the results of any probe of excessive force from previous years.

[25] The Government followed up on widespread killings in East Timor in 1999 by holding trials under the East Timor Ad Hoc Tribunal on Human Rights; however, the Government failed to prosecute the cases effectively (see: Section 1.e.).

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