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Jakarta Post

Indonesia forms team to probe recent shootings in Papua, but state rights body excluded

  • Budi Sutrisno

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, October 2, 2020   /   07:01 pm
Indonesia forms team to probe recent shootings in Papua, but state rights body excluded Intan Jaya regency (JP/-)

The government has formed a joint fact-finding team (TGPF) to investigate the recent killings in Intan Jaya, Papua, including the shooting of Papuan pastor Yeremia Zanambani in Hitadipa district.

Established under a ministerial decree signed by Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Minister Mahfud MD on Thursday, the team comprises ministry officials, members of other state institutions, intellectuals as well as several Papuan figures.

Noticeably missing, however, are members of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM).

“This team has two weeks, starting from the issuance of the decree, to report the results [of the investigation] to the ministry,” Mahfud said in a virtual press conference on Friday.

In addition to Yeremia's death, which occurred on Sept. 19, the team will also investigate other deaths that took place around the same time in September, including the shooting of a civilian named Badawi and TNI soldiers, Chief. Sgt. Sahlan and First Pvt. Dwi Akbar.

Read also: Churches union condemns shooting that killed pastor in Papua, urges Jokowi to take action

Mahfud said the government had received recommendations from many parties, including church unions, to investigate the incidents transparently under the law and to form an investigation team.

The security chief minister was in charge of the TGPF, with the ministry's secretary Tri Soewandono appointed as the chief of the steering committee, whose members include several deputies and an expert staffer from the ministry, a deputy from the Executive Office of the President, an executive from the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) and a Papuan public figure.

Meanwhile, Benny Jozua Mamoto from the National Police Commission (Kompolnas) has been appointed to lead the unit for its investigation in the field, which comprises members from different institutions, including the Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI) and several universities, the National Police, the Military Police, the Attorney General's Office (AGO) and the Witness and Victim Protection Agency (LPSK).

At least four Papuan community figures are also in the unit.

Over the past few weeks, the government has been under pressure from civil society groups and members of the public to investigate the recent shootings in Intan Jaya. Mahfud said an armed criminal group (KKB) was responsible for the incidents. 

Read also: Intan Jaya pastor third churchman allegedly killed by security personnel, church says

The PGI has alleged that the slain pastor, Yeremia, was killed by a TNI soldier, which the military denies.

Komnas HAM commissioner Beka Ulung Hapsara said Mahfud's office had invited the commission to discuss the issue and the position of each relevant agency and ministry.

However, Beka said, they agreed to not include Komnas HAM in the TGPF in order to maintain the position of the state rights body — which usually spearheads investigations into alleged human rights abuse cases — as an independent state institution.

“We have started our own investigation and will be discussing the results with the ministry. In addition, we will also monitor the work of the joint team formed by the ministry,” Beka told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

Beka said he respected the government’s initiative to form the joint team, hoping that it was a sign from the government of its commitment to resolving issues in Papua consistently.