Tue, 15 Jan 2002


R.K. Nugroho The Jakarta Post Jayapura

Frustrated by a stalled police investigation, the pro- independence Papua Presidium Council (PDP) has called on the government for an independent investigation of the murder of PDP Chairman Dortheys Hiyo Eluway, found dead in his minivan near the border with Papua New Guinea on Nov. 11.

Thaha Al-Hamid, secretary general of the PDP, said here on Monday that he has received repeated requests from PDP chapters, both in Iriyan Jaya and overseas, for an immediate formation of a credible, independent team to carry out a thorough probe into the murder case.

PDP members were not in the least surprised that local police halted their investigation "because we predicted it beforehand," he observed acidly.

To ease political tensions, the central government has recently decided to set up an independent team to allow it more oversight of the investigative process.

The decision was based on the recommendation given by the National Commission of Human Rights following its preliminary inquiry into the killing at the end of December.

Both informal and religious leaders in the province have lent their weight to Jakarta's move, saying they were far from sure whether the local police would fully be able to follow through in their efforts.

On Sunday, Insp. Gen. Made Mangku Pastika said the police investigation was halted because officials felt they had not learned anything else they deemed significant with which to carry on.

Perhaps revealing, however was his acknowledgment that there was a certain group in the province which law enforcement authorities could not investigate under civilian law.

Thaha said further that the PDP would support the central government were it to recruit credible professionals and experts for the independent team.

"The team will be more credible if it involves foreign sides," he said, adding that Todung Mulya Lubis and Asmara Nababan, two noted human right activists, should be part of the team.

Provincial Police officials, speaking off the record, said the new independent team -- whose presidential decree has yet to be issued -- would cull its members from the National Police, the Military Police Corps, and the National Commission of Human Rights, along with local informal and religious figures.

Thaha said that, despite being the proposal, Tom Beanal, secretary general of PDP, would abstain from joining the team, a move he said was needed to allow for the team to work more objectively.

The local office of the National Commission for Violence Victims and Missing Persons (Kontras), Legal Aids Institution (LBH), and Institution for Human Rights Advocacy (ELL-SHAM) were also expected to disclose the results of their inquiries into the case.