Jayapura, Jubi – On Tuesday, September 5, 2023, the Military Court III-14 in Denpasar, Bali officially delivered its verdict, acquitting of all charges the murder defendants of Papuan teenagers Eden Bebari and Ronny Wandik, First Sgt. Vicentie De Oliviara and Chief Pvt. Bahari Muhrim of the Yonif Raider 900/SBW Unit.
According to Gustaf R. Kawer, the chairman of the Papuan Human Rights Lawyers Association, this acquittal highlights the military justice system as a realm of impunity for individuals involved in human rights violations and military violence against civilians.
Kawer, who represents the families of the victims, strongly urges the military prosecutor to take legal action by appealing the verdict.
Kawer emphasizes that the Supreme Court would be the last hope for the victims' families in their quest for justice.
In a phone interview with Jubi on Wednesday, September 6, Kawer pointed out the significant departure of this decision from the initial indictment. The defendants, De Oliviara and Muhrim, were initially charged with two counts related to the murder of Eden Bebari and Ronny Wandik.
The first charge was Article 338 of the Criminal Code, in conjunction with Article 55 Paragraph (1) of the Criminal Code, which carries a 15-year sentence, and the second charge was Article 170 Paragraph (2) of the Criminal Code, which carries a 12-year sentence.
Kawer argued that the decision to "release from prosecution" represented an injustice as it lacked a factual basis.
"We believe that this decision also demonstrates a disparity in sentencing compared to other individuals involved in the murder case, such as Lt. Gabriel Bowie Wijaya and Chief Pvt. Sugihartono from Battalion 711/Rks and Battalion 712/Wt respectively, who were sentenced in the Manado Military Court. Wijaya received a 7-year prison sentence, while Sugihartono received a 6-year prison sentence. Both are also dismissed from military service," said Kawer.
He also mentioned that the verdict differed from the dissenting opinions of the two member judges, Lt. Col. Chk Agustono and Capt. Chk (K) Dianing Lusiasukma. These judges believed that the defendants were proven to have committed a criminal act as described in the first indictment.
"Despite such dissenting opinions, the verdict from the Military Court III-14 Denpasar clearly underscores the impunity granted to individuals involved in state violence against the Papuan people in the judicial system," Kawer asserted. (*)