Ombudsman sees potential maladministration by law enforcement officials 80 Indonesians, foreign nationals killed without judicial process this year
“We monitor the news and question why reported arrests related to drug abuse [in Indonesia] always involve death. Had the [suspects] resisted arrest every time or they were just killed [by the police]?”
Such was the comment of Indonesian Ombudsman commissioner Adrianus Meilala on the country’s war on drugs, which has reportedly resulted in the deaths of nearly 100 suspected drug dealers since last year in the nation’s bid to clamp down on widespread drug trafficking.
As concerns grow over the accountability of antidrug operations, the Ombudsman gathered police officials and human rights activists in a hearing on Tuesday.
Adrianus said the Ombudsman had seen potential maladministration by law enforcement officials in a series of shoot-to-kill operations, including human rights abuse, violence and violations of police procedures on using firearms.
“We suspect there is an informal and unwritten policy implemented by police officials [which have been interpreted] from the President’s statement that call for strict action [against drugs dealers],” Adrianus said on Tuesday.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has repeatedly shown his tough stance against drugs. The latest was on July 21 when he ordered law enforcers to gun down drug dealers without compunction, a call that many fear will intensify killings and provide impunity for officers to simply shoot-to-kill.
National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian previously told police personnel to use deadly force against suspected drug dealers if they resisted arrest.
“In Indonesia, verbal statements by leaders are often received as instructions even though there is no law [that regulates it],” the commissioner said.
Activists have lambasted what they call the replication of extrajudicial killings of drug dealers launched by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, which has killed 8,000 drug dealers in the past 11 months, including 2,500 who died in shoot-outs during raids.
Amnesty International said 80 Indonesians and foreign nationals were killed without going through the judicial process between January and September. The number has far exceeded that of last year when 18 people were killed in 2016.
This year’s highest death toll occurred in January and August, when 12 and 14 people were killed, respectively. “The death toll jumped a month after the President made a statement related to ‘war on drugs’ on Dec. 6 last year and ‘shoot-to-kill’ on July 21,” Amnesty International researcher Bramantya Basuki said.
National Police Chief Decree (Perkap) No. 1/2009 on police use of force stipulates that officers can only shoot suspects if it is clear that criminals are endangering others. It also stresses that firearms should be used within the principles of, among others, proportionality and reasonableness.
However, Amnesty International found an alleged violation of procedures, such as in a case where the police shot dead three alleged drugs dealers in Lampung on May. There were differences in testimony given by police officials and the locals who were linked with the organization, Bramantya said.
“Police said the three were shot dead during shoot-outs, but locals said the three had been taken into a car and the police released a shot into the air,” he said.
Erasmus Napitupulu from the Institute of Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) highlighted that the Perkap did not stipulate differences in treatment between drug suspects and usual suspects.
“If a drug suspect tries to runaway unarmed, he would not endanger other people [...] so he could not be simply shot to death. There are also shooting procedures, from paralyzing to killing,” Erasmus said.
He also raised concerns over the possibility that the drug war could bring back summary execution-style killings, locally known as Penembakan Misterius (mysterious shootings), or Petrus, which occurred in 1982 and 1985. “Petrus is a gross human rights violations,” Erasmus said.
Meanwhile, the National Police’s General Supervision Inspectorate (Irwasum) deputy head Insp. Gen. I Ketut Untung Yoga insisted that the officers had carried out their duties in line with the standard operating procedures in the Perkap as they had been given proper training before being deployed to the field.
“Officers who do shoot suspects are required to give detailed reports to their commanders. If they are considered to have violated procedures, they will be investigated,” Ketut said.
(Sumber: The Jakarta Post)