Report on the practice of torture in Indonesia for the International Day of Support for Victims of Torture from the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) in Indonesia forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission

INDONESIA: Torture: A heinous act which is not seriously addressed

I. Introduction

One of the serious issue of human rights violations—which is one of the nonderogable rights —that recently arised public attention is torture. First, in early October 2010 shortly before his plane left for the Netherlands, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono decided to cancel his state visit in the country. The cancellation was due to the filing of the lawsuit to the local court in the Netherlands by the activists of South Moluccas Republic (RMS/Republik Maluku Selatan) who live there. The lawsuit for one reason was based on charges of torture committed by police officers against those accused of being RMS activists. They were charged with treason when they displayed RMS flag as they performed cakalele dance in front of the president and some foreign guests during his visit to the Moluccas in June 2007. Following the cakalele incident the security forces, including special anti-terrorism unit Detachment 88 immediately arrested and detained hundreds of suspected RMS activists and some of them were allegedly become victims of torture.

Second, only a few weeks later in October 2010 a 10-minute visual documentation—circulating through ‘Youtube’—on torture of two Papuans recorded with mobile phone video tool. In the video, the extremely brutal and inhuman action was obviously conducted by people in military uniforms in order to conduct interrogations. With the rapid spread of that torture video, various Indonesian authorities—including President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono— promptly responded to it and affirmed the practice of torture by military personnel in Tingginambut, Puncak Jaya, Papua. Many actually considered this video as an explicit example of the allegedly patterned practice of torture in Papua. The appeals of concern about the practice of torture also expressed by both foreign governments and international organizations.

This paper tries to examine the extent to which states implement human rights standards in the relevant international instruments of torture as an obligation of Indonesia post ICCPR and CAT ratification within the past year (July 2010 to June 2011). The implementative obligation is to do prevention efforts (through improvement of legislation, judicial system, and administration of state), ensuring the perpetrators brought to justice and provide redress to victims or their families. The contextual torture issues and problems in Indonesia can be seen from various post-priority agenda of meetings and discussions conducted by Indonesia government with relevant international human rights agencies.

So far Indonesia has made two reports to the Committee Against Torture under the Convention Against Torture, the first (initial report) was in July 2001 and the second (periodic report) in 2005. Unfortunately, Indonesia has not made the first report to the Human Rights Committee, the regulatory body for the ICCPR. In addition to reporting under the treaty body mechanism, there are also the follow-up results on torture based on the report

under the charter body mechanism. Under the mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council there are two follow-up agendas: first, the official country visit follow-up of Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, conducted on 10-23 November 2007; second, the special meeting to discuss the results of Indonesia Universal Periodic Review/UPR in 9 April 2008 during the Fourth Session of the UN Human Rights Council. As follow-up results from various human rights mechanisms mentioned before, there are several similar recommendation agendas expected to be implemented by Indonesia related to the issue of torture, such as:

- Torture should be made crime and its definition should be in accordance with Article 1 of the Convention against Torture;

- The lack of this legal rule would lead to the practice of impunity;

- There shuold be an effort to revise the detention system, whether the duration of detention and the effort to test the validity of such detention;

- In the context of law enforcement, any evidence or testimony that was made due to a practice of torture;

- Ensure that victims of torture receive redress (reparation).

In conducting an audit over the issue of torture in Indonesia during the past year (July 2010-June 2011), KontraS took up cases of alleged torture which were directly dealt with. Information on alleged cases of torture would be considered a secondary source that could help clarify the picture of torture practices more broadly. In addition the audit report also discusses several policies, including plans for the creation or legislation revisions, which emerged within the past year.

To read the following sections, please download the full report. (Click here for the full report in pdf)

II. The Lack of Normative Provisions Against Torture

III. The Pattern of Torture Cases

IV. Development of New Legislation Draft Related with Torture Issue

V. Conclusions and Recommendations

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About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984