Wed, 12 Sep 2001

District court turns down lawsuit against Bimantoro

JAKARTA (JP): The South Jakarta District Court has dismissed lawsuits filed by eight middle-ranking police officers against National Police chief Gen. Surojo Bimantoro, saying that the case was the jurisdiction of the military court.

Judges of the eight middle-ranking officers' pretrial hearings agreed on Monday that although the National Police had been separated from the military forces, a regulation had yet to be formulated to try police personnel under civilian law.

The officers are Sr.Comr. Parlindungan Sinaga, Sr. Comr. Salikin Munitz, Sr. Comr. Banjarnahor, Sr. Comr. Nurdin Umar, Sr. Comr. Bambang Widodo, Sr. Comr. Badaruzzaman Haidir, Sr. Comr. Alfons Leomau and Sr. Comr. Herman Kotto.

They have been accused of staging a revolt against Bimantoro during a gathering in a cafe in Central Jakarta last July after Bimantoro rejected his dismissal by then president Abdurrahman Wahid.

The court's decision raised further questions of the existence of People's Consultative Assembly Decree No. VII/MPR/2000 that separated the police from the military, which as a consequence means that the police are no longer under military rule.

Coordinator of the police officers' team of lawyers, Irianto Subiakto, told journalists that they would appeal to the Supreme Court and ask it to rule on what legal basis should be applied to the police.

"We will ask the Supreme Court to interpret the decree and also the Assembly, which formulated the decree, to clarify under which jurisdiction the police come under and which regulations should be used in the installment or dismissal of police members," he said.

Judge I Gde Putra Jadnya, who presided at the pretrial hearing of Alfons Leomau and Herman Kotto, viewed that the police still fell under prevailing laws which regulate that any violations by the police should be heard before a military court.

Jadnya pointed out that without a new law on the National Police as a follow up to the Assembly decree, prevailing Law No. 28/1997 on the National Police and Law No. 31/1997 on military tribunals still applied to police members. (bby/tso)