[ETAN-key] Govt Says TNI Trials Need Time
John M Miller
fbp at igc.org
Thu Sep 7 05:10:45 PDT 2006
The Jakarta Post
Thursday, September 7, 2006
Govt Says TNI Trials Need Time
M. Taufiqurrahman, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Although the government has agreed that military personnel should be tried
for misdemeanors in civilian court, it is not likely to happen anytime soon.
Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono said Wednesday that due to the complexity
of the issue, the government would not be ready to have soldiers stand trial
in a civilian court in the next two or three years, as demanded by
"We do respect the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) decree and the
military law (mandating that soldiers also should be tried in
civilian court), but
the reality is that the legal infrastructure is not ready for its
implementation," Juwono said after a meeting with the House special
committee on the
amendment of the military tribunal law.
Juwono said the government was studying whether a transitional law would be
needed to facilitate the handover of a military tribunal to a civilian court.
"Another option is whether we will be given a period of two or three years
before the amended law come into effect."
He said the transition period was necessary because civilian courts were
unprepared to try military personnel.
"The Criminal Code procedure for the military, for instance, has no
provisions that would make it possible for prosecution in the civilian court."
Juwono pledged that the government would not continue past practices, with
soldiers eluding harsh punishment through sentencing in closed
It bolstered the image of the military as an omnipotent institution beyond the
In the past year, the House and the government have discussed the amendment
of a 1997 law on military tribunals.
The amendment is in line with the 2000 MPR decree which separated the police
and the military. Under its terms, soldiers should face trial in a military
tribunal for violations of military regulations, and the civilian court for
offenses under the Criminal Code.
Several legislators accused the government of procrastinating on the issue.
"Amendment of this law has been proposed by legislators from the previous
term, but there still is no significant progress. The government seems to be
buying time with its approach," special committee chairman Andreas
Parrera of the
Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle told reporters.
But Juwono said that the government would be ready to present its views on
the transition issue in the next two weeks. A new meeting is slated for Sept.
Parrera said the amendment must be completed before the lawmakers' terms
expired in 2009.
"The discussion of the bill will go back to square one if it's given to
Joyo Indonesia News Service
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