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Family demands those behind Papuan pastor's killing be brought to human rights court

Jakarta Post - November 12, 2020

Jakarta – The family of Pastor Yeremia Zanambani, who was shot dead in September in Intan Jaya Regency, Papua, has demanded that the military personnel allegedly responsible for the killing be brought to a human rights court instead of undergoing prosecution in a military court.

"We are not sure that a military tribunal can reveal the truth, punish the perpetrators accordingly and provide justice for us," Yeremia's daughter, Rode Zanambani, said on Tuesday.

Rode said her family had received information that the results of the Papua Police's investigation into Yeremia's murder would be handed over to the military police to be processed in a military court.

The family would also refuse an autopsy on the body if the government's investigation team or an independent body requested it.

Statements from witnesses and experts, as well as existing evidence, would be sufficient to reveal the perpetrators without having to conduct an autopsy, she said.

"Besides, an autopsy stands in opposition to our culture. We believe an autopsy will bring us bad things, and this will certainly add to our burden," Rode said as quoted by kompas.com.

An independent investigation carried out by the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) found that a soldier from the Hitadipa Military Command, identified as Chief. Sgt. Alpius Hasim Madi, was allegedly behind the pastor's killing.

Komnas HAM commissioner Choirul Anam revealed the commission's investigation results on Nov. 2, saying the soldier had allegedly tortured and shot Yeremia at close range in the latter's pig pen on Sept. 19.

In response, Indonesian Military (TNI) spokesman Maj. Gen. Achmad Riad said the police's investigation had yet to conclude the TNI was in involved in the murder as the police had just recently carried out a ballistics test and had not examined witnesses yet.

The TNI still referred to the results of an investigation carried out by the government-sanctioned joint fact-finding team (TGPF), Achmad said, adding that he could not elaborate further before the perpetrator was confirmed.

The TGPF investigation results announced by Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD on Oct. 21 indicated the alleged involvement of security forces in Yeremia's shooting, while leaving open the possibility of a third party's involvement in the crime.

Komnas HAM recommended that alleged perpetrators of the killing be brought to trial using the koneksitas justice mechanism, in which the court proceedings use a parallel approach of civil and military legal procedures, for the sake of transparency.

A koneksitas mechanism is used when a criminal offense is committed together by civilian and military personnel, according to Article 89 of the Criminal Law Procedures Code (KUHAP), and the case is examined and tried before a civil court.

TNI spokesperson for the Joint Regional Defense Command III in Papua Col. Gusti Nyoman Suriastawa has asserted the TNI would uphold the legal process in the case, including if soldiers were found to be involved in the incident.

Human rights activists and experts have long criticized the use of military tribunals for soldiers implicated in criminal cases, arguing that the system lacks transparency in bringing offenders to justice and instead tends to preserve impunity. (syk)

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/11/12/family-demand-those-behind-papuan-pastors-killing-be-brought-to-human-rights-court.htm