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On 76th anniversary, watchdog highlights TNI's growing involvement in civil affairs

CNN Indonesia - October 6, 2021

Jakarta – Indonesian Human Rights Watch (Imparsial) Director Gufron Mabruri says the Indonesian military (TNI) is increasingly becoming involved in civilian affairs as it marks its 76th anniversary today on Tuesday October 5, and that reform of the TNI has gone backwards.

He also said that this has occurred because it is if the government has allowed the TNI to become involved in or in fact deployed the TNI in civil affairs.

"This can be seen from the number of instances of military assistance being pursued by the TNI, such the TNI's involvement in dealing with armed criminal groups in Papua, irrigated rice field programs, railway station security, providing security for protest actions, combating terrorism and dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic", said Mabruri in a press release on Tuesday October 5.

Mabruri also highlighted reform of the TNI in judicial affairs which has still not been resolved noting that when a TNI officer commits a general crime they are still tried by a military tribunal, not a civilian court.

Active military officers in civilian posts were also highlighted. Mabruri specifically took up the government's plan to appoint TNI and Indonesian police (Polri) officers as acting regional heads in 2022-2024 to replace leaders whose terms in office expire before the next regional elections.

He emphasised that the stipulations under Article 210 of Law Number 10/2016 state that regional heads must come from mid-level officials. TNI officers, he continued, are not included as mid-level officials according to the law on the state civil service.

"Thus, appointing active military officers as acting governors has the real potential of conflicting with the above regulations", he said.

Imparsial then highlighted transparency and accountability in the purchase of primary weapons systems (alutsista). According to Imparsial, Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto's policy of purchasing primary weapons systems without adequate planning is creating an unclear defense posture.

On the issue of the TNI leadership succession, Mabruri suggests that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo involve a number of different parties to consider candidates to replace the current TNI commander Air Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto, who will be of retirement age in November this year.

"Meanwhile a political approach, which tends to consider political closeness and interests, should be avoided. Because this will undermine the TNI's professionalism", he said. (dhf/bmw)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "HUT TNI, Imparsial Kritik Makin Sering Terlibat Urusan Sipil".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20211005160345-20-703674/hut-tni-imparsial-kritik-makin-sering-terlibat-urusan-sipi