Jayapura, Jubi – Director of the Association of Human Rights Advocates (PAHAM Papua) Gustaf R Kawer criticized the mediation process of civilian shooting run by the Mountainous Papua Regent Association, who agreed to pay compensation for victims' families. Kawer said such payment did not educate the public and even had the potential to become a corruption act.
In a phone call with Jubi on Thursday, March 2, 2023, Kawer said that the compensation agreement violated the principles of customary law in Papua and the principles of law enforcement and human rights.
"The settlement carried out by the Mountainous Papua Regent Association is wrong and indeed does not align with the local wisdom of the community," Kawer said.
According to Kawer, within the framework of customary settlement, the subjects at the center of problem solving are customary institutions and indigenous peoples, not the government. Therefore, the government paying compensation to victims of violence committed by the security forces before the legal process is not right.
He emphasized that the mechanism for resolving cases of human rights violations should be through the trial of alleged human rights violations in the Human Rights Court, as well as through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). "That way, there will be disclosure of human rights violations, confessions from the perpetrators, apologies for victims, only then there is compensation, restitution, and rehabilitation by the state, perpetrators, or third parties," he said.
Kawer also emphasized that settlement of any kind did not affect or stop the legal process.
"Only after there is a verdict with permanent legal force that the victim is given compensation, restitution and rehabilitation. So it is clear that what was done by the association of regents violated local wisdom and the legal mechanisms regulated by the Criminal Procedure Code, Law No. 39/1999 on Human Rights, and Law No. 26/2000 on Human Rights Courts," Kawer said.
He added it was strange for the Mountainous Papua Regent Association to step up and try resolving the problem when the incident on February 23, 2023 was between residents as victims and security forces as perpetrators. "Obviously this should not be emulated in resolving human rights issues in Papua," he continued.
According to Kawer, such an act could potentially become an act of corruption. "If it turns out that the budget used to pay settlement is not in accordance with the allocation, then there is the possibility of corruption, and it is dangerous for regional heads. This needs to be considered by regional heads," he said. (*)