The Jakarta Post
Responding to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s suggestion to involve the Indonesian Military (TNI) in fighting against terrorism, rights group Imparsial has warned that Indonesia must uphold the criminal justice system in taking counterterrorism measures to avoid abuse of power.
Imparsial director Al Araf said on Tuesday that Article 7 of the 2004 Indonesian Military Law clearly regulated the military’s roles in the fight against terrorism. Under the law, TNI personnel could join in counterterrorism operations but their involvement was just to assist the National Police and was conducted only under the instructions and political decisions of the President.
“We have had a legal basis for the military’s involvement in counterterrorism. Hence, we don’t need to regulate it again through an amendment to the 2003 Terrorism Law,” Al Araf said in a written statement.
Citing examples, he said the TNI had been active in helping the police hunt terrorists in Poso, Central Sulawesi.
On Monday, Jokowi said the Indonesian military’s role in combating terrorism should be stipulated in the amendment of the 2003 Terrorism Law, which was being deliberated at the House of Representatives.
“Give the TNI authority to play its roles [in combating terrorism] in this regulation,” Jokowi said.
Al Araf said Jokowi needed to elaborate more specifically on what military involvement he wanted to see. If the President insisted on involving TNI personnel in counterterrorism measures, it should not be conducted without a political decision of the President.
“Military involvement must be the last resort as well,” Al- Araf said. (ebf)