Fri, 16 Jun 2000

Military police feared likely to stall July 27 probe

JAKARTA (JP): Legislator Pande Nabanan doubts that the government will be able to solve the July 27, 1996, bloody takeover of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) headquarters.

He, instead, feared that the investigation into the case would meet the same fate as many other unresolved cases after they reach the hands of the Military Police (MP).

"Military Police Headquarters has become a Berlin Wall, which is hard for cases to go through," the legislator from the party which now calls itself the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a hearing between members of Commission II for home and legal affairs of the House of Representatives (DPR) and top officers from National Police Headquarters, Pande said that the military's top brass who were widely suspected to have been involved in the case would likely not be prosecuted by the law, although police have already named some civilian suspects in the case which could lead to the alleged roles of military generals.

"The investigation of the Trisakti shooting, for example, stopped at the Military Police," Pande said, referring to a shooting incident of protesting students during a May 1998 antigovernment rally.

So far, investigators from the Military Police have yet to reveal whether they have found the alleged roles of Indonesian Military (TNI) personnel involved in the shooting, which claimed the lives of four student and injured dozens of others.

During Tuesday's hearing, National Police chief Gen. Rusdiharjo told the Commission II legislators that his office had already sent dossiers on the civilian suspects in the July 27, 1996, to the TNI Commander Adm. Widodo A.S. on Wednesday last week and to Military Police Headquarters on Monday.

The dossiers, he said, also contained the results of police investigations and questioning on some of the top brass military and police officers in charge at the time.

Several top officers questioned by police over the four-year- old attack which later ended in riots and burnings, included former Armed Forces commander Gen. Feisal Tanjung, National Police chief Gen. Dibyo Widodo, Jakarta Police chief Maj. Gen. Hamami Nata, Jakarta Military commander Sutiyoso (now governor) and former Indonesian Armed Forces chief of social and political affairs Lt. Gen. Syarwan Hamid.

"The files will be used (by the MP) to investigate further the alleged involvement of top military and (police) officers," Rusdiharjo said.

Separately, National Military Police chief Maj. Gen. Djasrie Marin insisted that his office had yet to receive any dossiers or reports on the July 27 case from Police Headquarters.

"How can we proceed to investigate if we haven't received the files as initial evidence?" Djasri told reporters on the sidelines of a separate hearing at DPR with Commission I for defense, foreign and politics affairs.

Meanwhile, Minister of Defense Juwono Sudarsono said he agreed with an idea to hold the trial of the case in a joint civilian- military court, similar to the case of human right abuses in Aceh.

"I agree that the case should be brought to a joint trial similar to Aceh's case," Juwono said on Tuesday.

The joint trial in Aceh on the massacre of Tengku Bantaqiah and his students resulted in the sentencing of 24 soldiers and a civilian to six-year to nine-year jail terms.

The similarity of the two cases, according to Juwono, is the involvement of both civilians and the military in the attack. (08/dja)