TNI torturer and killer of Mappi residents must be punished: LBH Papua

Illustration, persecution. - IST

Jayapura, Jubi – The Papua Legal Aid Institute (LBH Papua) said that Indonesian Military (TNI) members of Yonif Raider 600/Modang suspected of torturing and killing civilians in Mappi Regency must undergo a legal process even though they have paid compensation to the victim’s family.

“If proven guilty, they must be punished and removed from their post in TNI,” said Director of LBH Papua Emanuel Gobay.

LBH Papua suspects that the payment of money by the perpetrators was intended as an effort to stop the legal process. However, Gobay said, even though the victim’s family had received money, it could not stop the investigation process.

“Acts of persecution and murder fall into the category of ordinary offenses, wherein the police can pursue the perpetrators without a complaint report first. Therefore, any kind of payment [to the victims’ families] cannot stop the law enforcement nor eliminate the fact that the murder had occurred,” Gobay told Jubi.

Previously,  on August 30, 2022, a number of Yonif Raider 600/Modang soldiers allegedly persecuted three people at Bade Post, Edera District, Mappi Regency. The three civilians named Bruno Amenim Kimko, Yohanis Kanggun, and Norbertus. The persecution resulted in the death of Kimko and Kanggun seriously injured.

Gobay said the military police must immediately arrest and detain the TNI soldiers suspected of being involved in the persecution. “We firmly ask the TNI Commander to order the chief of XVII/Cenderawasih and the Koramil and Kodim heads in Merauke to arrest the perpetrators according to the law,” he said.

Gobay said that the investigation into this case could begin without a complaint from the victims’ families first, such as the handling of the murder and mutilation of four Nduga residents in Mimika Regency.

“The Mimika murder case, for example, was pursued by the police without a report from the residents. The news went viral and then the authorities acted. In fact, the assault in Mappi went viral as well today. It would be embarrassing if the TNI waited for a report from the family first, or argued that there was no report so they did not investigate this case,” said Gobay.

LBH Papua noted there were a number of cases of persecution that led to the death of victims whose handling was unclear after the victim’s family received a payment of some money. According to Gobay, such handling hurts humanity and the victim’s family.

“This is not the first time in southern Papua the handling of a case is stopped after the perpetrators pay some money. This has instilled a fear that the torture and killing of Papuans will keep happening as the law enforcement is weak,” he added.

Frits Ramandey, head of the Papua Office of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM Papua), said the compensation for the victims’ families would not nullify the murder. His party plans to investigate this case to determine whether this crime fulfills the elements of alleged gross human rights violations.

“It is very possible for us to conduct an investigation. Murder alone violates human rights,” Ramandey told Jubi via WhatsApp message on Monday, August 5, 2022.

Deputy chairman II of the Legal and Human Rights Division of the Central Leadership Council of the South Papua Student and Youth Association (IMPPAS) Yairus Ambon asked the TNI Commander, chief of XVII/Cenderawasih, and chief of Korem 174/Anim Ti Waninggap to immediately take firm action against the soldiers allegedly involved in the persecution of the Mappi residents.

Yairus stated that the TNI members serving in Papua must understand the main tasks and functions of the TNI and understand the culture, traditions and character of the local community, thus not committing violence and human rights violations against indigenous Papuans.

IMPPAS further encouraged Komnas HAM Papua to conduct investigations to reveal cases of violence that occurred in Mappi. IMPPAS also asked the Papua Provincial Government and the Mappi Regency Government to monitor the legal process against TNI personnel suspected of being involved in the persecution case. (*)

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