LPSK urged to protect Bloody Paniai witnesses and victims

Public discussion "Protection of Witnesses and Victims at the Human Rights Court of the Paniai Incident" held by the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission in Jakarta on Thursday (18/8/2022). – Jubi/Theo Kelen

Jakarta, Jubi – Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS) coordinator Fatia Maulidiyanti urges the Witness and Victim Protection Agency (LPSK) to proactively protect the families of victims and other witnesses who will be presented in the Bloody Paniai trial at the Makassar Human Rights Court this August 2022.

This was conveyed by Fatia in a public discussion “Witness and Victim Protection at the Paniai Human Rights Court” organized by the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) in Jakarta on Thursday, August 18, 2022. According to Fatia, the protection of witnesses and victims is very important to provide a sense of comfort when they appear in court.

Fatia said she was worried that witnesses and victims of the Bloody Paniai would be intimidated in court. She said such concerns were based on the previous trial process at the Human Rights Court for other cases.

“Just as what happened in, for example, the Tanjung Priok Human Rights Court, which presented a lot of irregularities. The judge was also intimidated because the Indonesian Military’s [TNI] position was very strong at that time. Even the courtroom was not filled with civilians but the TNI, which in turn created a sense of intimidation against the families of victims or victims,” she said.

Fatia said LPSK so far had not been active in preparing protection for witnesses and victims in the Bloody Paniai case. According to Fatia, LPSK should request data from Komnas HAM in order to provide protection for witnesses and victims. She said LPSK should not have to wait for a request from witnesses or victims’ families first.

“LPSK must be able to ensure that victims’ families or the representatives enter and attend the trial, and no intimidation from certain groups that would ultimately hamper the trial,” said Fatia.

Deputy chairperson of Komnas HAM Amiruddin Al Rahab said that witness and victim protection must be provided as mandated by Article 34 of Human Rights Court Law No. 26/2000. The protection can be in the form of physical and mental protection from threats, disturbances, terror, and violence from any party.

Amiruddin said that in previous trials at the Human Rights Court, the protection of witnesses and victims had not been maximized. He hoped that LPSK could now ensure protection so that witnesses and victims could present themselves comfortably in the trial room of the Makassar Human Rights Court.

Meanwhile, Maneger Nasution, the deputy chairperson of LPSK, admitted his party had yet to provide protection for witnesses and victims who would be presented in the Bloody Paniai trial. According to him, LPSK had not yet received a request to protect witnesses and victims of the Bloody Paniai tragedy.

“Until now, there has been no recommendation or request from law enforcement officials or Komnas HAM for LPSK to provide protection to witnesses or victims. To date, there has also been no request for protection from the witnesses or victims,” he said.

However, Maneger said that LPSK could be proactive in providing protection even though there was no request, as stipulated in Article 29 paragraph 2 of Law No. 31 /2014 on Amendments to Law No. 13/2006 on Witness and Victim Protection, which regulated the authority of LPSK in certain cases to provide protection without a request for protection. He said the procedure must obtain approval from the LPSK leadership as stipulated in LPSK Regulation No. 2 of 2020. “Only then the proactive action can be carried out,” he said. (*)

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