Indonesia set to ratify ASEAN anti-terror pact
The government and the House of Representatives on Thursday agreed to ratify the ASEAN Convention on Counterterrorism (ACCT), which will allow for a greater cooperation among member countries in dealing with the threat of terrorism.
“The Convention has more to offer compared to other international conventions of its kind because it facilitates rehabilitation programs for terrorists, fair legal treatment for suspected terrorists and respect territorial sovereignty and integrity,” Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said during a hearing with House Commission I overseeing security and foreign affairs.
The bill, which is expected to be passed by a House plenary session next week, will provide the foundation for mutual legal assistance and extradition in combating terrorism.
Marty said that the leaders of 10 ASEAN countries signed the convention on May 27 last year, while six ASEAN countries ratified the convention last year.
“The bill will go into effect here as soon as we ratify it. It will greatly benefit Indonesia’s attempts to counter terrorism,” he said.
The ACCT was drafted in Cebu, the Philippines, in January 2007 during the 12th ASEAN Summit, following the ASEAN Declaration on the Joint Action to Counter Terrorism and the Declaration on Terrorism, adopted at the ASEAN summits in 2001 and 2002 respectively.
Considered a one-of-a-kind regional agreement on terrorism, the convention mandates ASEAN countries to cooperate in the prevention of terrorism, the enforcement of law and the rehabilitation of former terrorists.
The convention also requires that ASEAN countries share information and data from their intelligence agencies, stop the flow of funds to terrorists, cooperate in investigations and trials for terror attacks and extradite terrorist suspects.
Indonesia would be the seventh country to ratify the convention, following Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam. Three other countries — Laos, Malaysia and Myanmar — have not yet ratified the convention.
Lawmaker Tri Tamtomo of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) said that the party supported the ratification because it would affirm Indonesia’s global commitment to comprehensively prevent and counter terrorism.
“We encourage the government to improve all necessary infrastructure ahead of the implementation of the convention. We must also prepare the human resources, especially to set up rehabilitation programs for terrorists because it’s not an easy job to do,” he said.
Lawmaker Al Muzzammil Yusuf of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) said that in ratifying the convention the government must strive to protect the country’s national interests.
“We must guard against the interests of Western countries, which might use their diplomatic ties with some of ASEAN members to interfere with our counterterrorism efforts and neglect the convention. Nevertheless, I am confident that the convention will greatly help counterterrorism efforts in the country,” he said.
In addition to the ACCT, Indonesia has also ratified other international conventions supporting counterterrorism efforts, including the Convention on Offenses and Certain Other Acts Committed on Board Aircraft, the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft, the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation, the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, the Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts of Violence at Airports Serving International Aviation and the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombing.