In Commemoration of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
KontraS Launches an Executive Summary on the Situation and Case Handling of Torture in Indonesia 2017 – 2018
On Tuesday, June 26, 2018, the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) held a Press Release to submit an Executive Summary on Situation and Case Handling of Torture in Indonesia with the theme “Post-20 Years of Reformasi and the Ratification of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT): Dark Clouds Surround the Situation and Case Handling of Torture in Indonesia”. The event was held at Brown Bag Cafe, Menteng – Central Jakarta, by inviting journalists from various media. June 26 is recognized as the International Day of Support of the Victims of Torture, remembering that on June 26, 1987, the UN ratified the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). According to Yati Andriyani, Executive Coordinator of KontraS, “It is important for Indonesia to commemorate this day because although Indonesia has ratified the CAT for twenty years, Indonesia still has a lot of homework related torture cases that are still occur up until now and in the context of the existing regulations, there are still many legal void that result in the many cases of torture”.
On this occasion, KontraS reports on the situation and treatment of torture in Indonesia from 2017 to 2018. This report is based on complaints received directly by KontraS, as well as from media monitoring in various regions of Indonesia. According to Yati, the rule of law such as the Human Rights Law has in fact put torture as a violation of human rights and there are internal rules in various state institutions that prohibit the torture, but the implementation of these rules has been ineffective.
Arif Nur Fikri, Head of Human Rights Advocacy Division of KontraS, explained that since June 2017 to May 2018, there have been 130 cases of torture in Indonesia. During that time, there were 141 people injured and 27 people died. KontraS recorded that torture incidents between June 2017 and May 2018 was commited by police apparatus (80 cases), military personnel (28 cases), and warden (22 cases). As for the motive of torture, 78 cases of torture were committed to retrieve information or confessions, while 52 other cases of torture were a form of punishment.
Furthermore, the location of torture is also quite diverse. A total of 63 torture cases occurred in detention, 28 cases of torture occurred in indoor, and 39 other cases of torture occurred in the outdoor. The most dominant province as a place of torture and inhumane acts is North Sumatra. While the victims of this torture practices ranged from civil society, activists, and detainees, with the majority of victims (72 victims) in the age range 15-25 years. In these cases, the perpetrators used various tools ranging from bare hands (75 cases), blunt solid object (37 cases), firearms (10 cases), and sharp bladed weapons (8 cases).
Putri Kanesia, Deputy Coordinator of Advocacy of KontraS, explained that there are different patterns of torture each year. For example, in the last 3 years the number of torture cases has not significantly increased but the number of casualties has increased. Ìt means, cases of violence/torture target more to community groups or communities. Specifically in the period 2017-2018, there are findings related to the lack of the role of law enforcement functions by police and the increasing role of the military, especially in remote areas of Indonesia such as torture cases that occurred in Taliabu, North Maluku and Kimaam, Papua. These two cases show how dull the police function is, by handing over the investigation of suspected criminal cases to military institutions, resulting in the torture.
Putri also mentioned the Indonesian Criminal Code Bill (RKUHP) which has provided a definition of torture, but unfortunately there is no definition of other cruel punishment, such as the state apparatus who commits the torture that occurred. In addition, the RKUHP only regulates the actors who commit the torture and has not regulated the actors based on chain of command. Yati concluded that so far the government has no serious intention to eliminate torture or inhuman treatment or punishment in Indonesia. This can be seen from the fact that the government has not yet ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) which has actually been included in the National Action Plan on Human Rights (RANHAM) since 2010. According to Yati, ratifying the treaty will help fill the legal void in Indonesia regarding the torture.
The last speaker, Sri Lestari Wahyuningrum, a researcher from University of Indonesia (UI), said that there are two conditions that cause continuous torture to occur. First, since the New Order, torture is regarded as something common. Second, torture becomes an “oil” in a political transition that occurs after the New Order. According to Ayu, since the New Order era until now, torture is not only used to retrieve information or confess