Tue, 15 Jan 2002

Government unveils names of rights tribunal judges

Tiarma Siboro and Tertiani ZB Simanjuntak, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Military and police personnel accused of human rights violations in the 1984 Tanjung Priok incident and the 1999 violence in East Timor will soon stand trial following the issuance of Presidential Decree No. 6/2002 appointing 18 judges for the long- awaited ad hoc human rights tribunal.

But whether or not the trial will do justice for the hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of victims remains to be seen, according some legal experts here.

"The ad hoc tribunal will try human rights violations committed during 1999 surrounding the United Nations-administered ballot in East Timor and the Tanjung Priok bloodshed in 1984," Justice Benyamin Mangkoedilaga, chairman of the team preparing the recruitment of the judges, told reporters at his office on Monday.

All 18 judges appointed by the President were recommended by the Supreme Court, said Benyamin, adding that 12 of them will serve as first degree judges and six others would serve as appeals judges. They will receive a salary of Rp 1 million per month (about US$100) in addition to a fee of Rp 4 million for every case they handle.

The 18 ad hoc judges will work together with 12 career judges appointed by Chief Justice Bagir Manan in December 2001. According to the Minister of Justice and Human Rights Yusril Ihza Mahendra, the judges will start working immediately, but no specific date was given for the beginning of the trials.

Following the announcement, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Endriartono Sutarto said that TNI leadership would leave the trial against some its generals to the country's justice system.

He, however, warned that the public must not "politicize" the cases.

"As long as it (the trial) is held for the sake of the legal matters, just go ahead. We (the TNI) do not mind," Endriartono told reporters at the Army Headquarters in Jakarta.

Three army generals, a police general and a number of middle- ranking officers are among the 19 suspects who are facing trial for alleged gross human rights violations in East Timor in 1999 before and after its August 30 vote for independence.

They include former Udayana Military commander Maj.Gen. Adam Damiri, former Wiradharma Military Resort commanders in Dili Brig. Gen. Suhartono Suratman and Brig. Gen. M. Noer Muis, and former East Timor police chief Brig. Gen. Timbul Silaen. Former Armed Forces chief Gen. (ret) Wiranto was initially one of these suspects, but the Attorney General's Office took his name off the list.

The 19 suspects will be charged under 12 sets of dossiers, each of which include separate violations within a certain category.

The Attorney General's Office has also named three senior army officers as suspects in the Tanjung Priok case, they are former Armed Forces chief Gen. (ret) L.B. Moerdani, former Jakarta Military commander Gen. (ret) Try Sutrisno and former North Jakarta Military District commander R. Butar-butar.

Rights activists, however, still doubt the credibility and capability of judges for the ad hoc tribunal.

Caretaker of the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute Foundation (YLBHI), Irianto Subiyakto, said it would be hard to put faith in the judges because their recruitment itself was not transparent.

"But, considering that the ad hoc judges have solid academic qualifications, we expect them to produce credible rulings," he told The Jakarta Post at his office.

Irianto expressed fears that the rights cases could be twisted into petty criminal cases during the trial due to a lack of experience by prosecutors and judges.

Irianto, who also was involved in the team investigating the case against rights perpetrators in the 1999 East Timor abuses, revealed that the prosecutors still believed that the case should start by taking those in charge at the highest levels before moving on to find those who gave the orders on the ground.

"Such an approach is contradictory to the rights tribunal approach which starts by trying the holders of the higher responsibility in the case," he added.

Legal expert Achmad Ali of the Hasanuddin University in Makassar, South Sulawesi also doubted whether, "The judges have the courage to try those powerful persons who can control many things, including law."

"All we need is their strong commitment to proceed with the case solemnly. They must also have courage as they are facing some powerful people in these cases," Achmad, who earlier declined to be considered as one of the ad hoc judges, told the Post by telephone.

Asked whether he was pessimistic about the cases getting tried fairly, Achmad said: "Give them (the judges) two or three months to prove their commitment and afterwards, let just see."

First Degree Justice Non-Career Ad Hoc Judges:

(Name - Previous Position): 1. Seyfulina Faruddin - Retired judge of Jakarta State Administrative Court (PT TUN); 2. Soedjono Dirdjosisworo - Parahyangan Catholic University, Bandung; 3. H. Amir Summa - Syari'ah Faculty of Syarif Hidayatullah State Institute for Islamic Studies (IAIN), Jakarta; 4. H. Ahmad Sutarmadi - Syarif Hidayatullah State Institute for Islamic Studies (IAIN), Jakarta; 5. Sanwani Nasution - Faculty of Law, University of North Sumatra (USU), Medan; 6. S.P.B. Roeroe - Christian University of Indonesia, Tomohon; 7. Komariah Emong Sapardjaja - Faculty of Law; 8. Abdul Rahman - Faculty of Law, University of North Sumatra (USU), Medan; 9. H.M. Kabul Supriyadhie - Faculty of Law, Diponegoro University; 10. Muh. Guntur Alfie - Faculty of Law, Hassanudin University; 11. Winarno Yudho - Faculty of Law, University of Indonesia; 12. Heru Susanto - Faculty of Law, University of Surabaya; 13. Rudi M. Rizki - Pajajaran University, Bandung; 14. Hendra Nurtjahyo - University of Indonesia; 15. Kelelong Bukit - University of North Sumatra (USU); 16. Sulaiman Hamid - Faculty of Law, University of North Sumatra (USU); 17. H. Rachmat Syafe'i - Sunan Gunung Djati State Institute for Islamic Studies (IAIN), Bandung; 18. Amiruddin Aburarea - Trisakti University

Appeal Justice Career Judges:

(Name - Previous Position): 1. Marni Emmy - Central Jakarta District Court; 2. Andi Samsanganro - Central Jakarta District Court; 3. Cicut Sutiarso - Sidoarjo District Court; 4. Adriani Nurdin - Cibinong District Court; 5. Ridwan Mansyur - Cibinong District Court; 6. Rocky Pandjaitan - Cibinong District Court; 7. Herman Heller Hutapea - Tanjung Karang District Court; 8. Binsar Gultom - Bogor District Court; 9. Sunaryo - Klaten District Court; 10. Eddy Wibisono - Tanjung Karang District Court; 11. Djalaludin - Sukabumi District Court; 12. Amril - Supreme Court Justice.