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Jakarta Post

Military role in counterterrorism not needed: Imparsial

  • Nurul Fitri Ramadhani and Margareth S. Aritonang

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, May 30, 2017   /   07:03 pm
Military role in counterterrorism not needed: Imparsial Police officers stand guard outside a building during a raid conducted by a team from the National Police's counterterrorism squad Densus 88 on a shop house in Cemani, Sukoharjo, Central Java, on May 29, 2016. (Antara/Mohammad Ayudha)

Human rights watchdog Imparsial has lambasted the proposal to grant the Indonesian Military (TNI) an official counterterrorism role, saying it will not only lead to an overlap of duty with the National Police, but also put the country’s democracy and human rights protection at risk.

“Direct involvement from the military will violate the principle of civil supremacy and cause problems with our criminal justice system. It will be a setback to our program of reform. The military should only have responsibilities in the area of state defense,” Imparsial director Al Araf said on Tuesday.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said on Monday that the country needed a stronger antiterrorism law and the TNI should be given a greater role in the country’s war against terrorism. He made the statement following the twin bomb attack in Kampung Melayu, East Jakarta, on May 24 that claimed the lives of three police officers and injured more than a dozen people.

The House of Representatives is currently deliberating the amendment of the 2003 Terrorism Law. There has not been yet agreements on a number of crucial articles including the TNI’s role in counterterrorism. Currently, counterterrorism arrests and investigations must be under the coordination of the National Police.

Al Araf argued that there was an insufficient legal basis to ensure the military would not commit human rights violations when arresting terrorism suspects if it was granted such powers. Moreover, he added, there was no guarantee the TNI would obey the rulings of civilian courts given that it has its own military court, the transparency of which is still in question. (rin)