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Latest verdict in Mimika murder case draws criticism for lenient sentence

Tabloid Jubi - May 31, 2023

Jayapura, Jubi – Gustaf R Kawer, a member of the Civil Society Coalition for the Upholding of Law and Human Rights, expressed his concern over the ruling made by the Surabaya High Military Court III regarding the Mimika murder and mutilation case.

In a written statement released on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, Kawer said that the verdict, which reduced the sentence of Maj. Inf Helmanto Fransiskus Dakhi, has deeply affected the victim's family's sense of justice.

Kawer strongly criticized the verdict, stating that it provided a lenient punishment. Originally sentenced to life imprisonment, Dakhi's sentence was now reduced to 15 years.

Maj. Inf Helmanto Fransiskus Dakhi was one of the six soldiers from the Raider 20/Ima Jaya Keramo Infantry Brigade who stood as defendants in the murder and mutilation of four Nduga residents. The incident took place in Settlement Unit 1, Mimika Baru District, Mimika Regency on August 22, 2022. The victims were Arnold Lokbere, Irian Nirigi, Lemaniel Nirigi, and Atis Tini.

During the trial on January 24, 2023, the panel of judges from the Surabaya High Military Court III, led by chief judge Col. Chk Sultan with member judges Col. Chk Agus Husin and Col. Chk Prastiti Siswayani, found Maj. Inf Helmanto Fransiskus Dakhi guilty of premeditated murder. As a result, he was sentenced to life imprisonment and discharged from the Army. However, Dakhi appealed the verdict.

The appeal made by Dakhi was heard on April 12, 2023. The verdict overturned the previous decision made on January 24. The Panel of Appellate Judges determined that Dakkhi was only proven guilty of participating in murder as part of a joint criminal act with the intention of facilitating the unlawful possession of goods. Consequently, Dakhi's sentence was reduced to 15 years in prison.

Kawer, who is the legal representative of the victims' families, reminded that the previous decision had taken several aggravating factors into consideration regarding the defendant. These factors included the trauma experienced by the families of the victims and the local community as a result of the murder and mutilation, the strain it placed on the relationship between the Indonesian Military (TNI) and the Papuan people, and the damage inflicted upon the TNI's reputation in the community. The murder and mutilation were also described as sadistic, inhumane, and a violation of human rights.

"We support the previous verdict of January 24 as it aligns with the gravity of Helmanto Dakhi's actions. Upon closer examination, Helmanto Dakhi played a crucial role, which was proven by the evidence presented during the trial, and thus, he deserves the same punishment as the other perpetrators," said Kawer.

He highlighted the concept of command responsibility in the realms of the military and human rights violations. According to this concept, individuals in positions of authority or command can be held legally accountable if they fail to prevent or punish the unlawful actions committed by their subordinates. Kawer argued that Maj. Inf Helmanto Fransiskus Dakhi falls under the scope of command responsibility.

"It is certainly applicable to Helmanto Dakhi as the unit's leader who failed to exercise effective control over his subordinates, leading to severe violations. In this case, he was not only uninvolved in the mutilation and disposal process, but he was actively engaged from the initial planning stage. We strongly denounce the latest verdict which reduced Helmanto Dakhi's sentence," Kawer said, urging the Military Oditur to appeal to the Supreme Court. (*)

Source: https://en.jubi.id/latest-verdict-in-mimika-murder-case-draws-criticism-for-lenient-sentence