Not All JI Are Terrorists
Not All JI Are Terrorists
Indonesia's Police: The Problem of Deadly Force
Indonesia's Police: The Problem of Deadly Force
Op-Ed / Asia

Not All JI Are Terrorists

For most in Australia, the name Jemaah Islamiah will be forever linked to the horrors of the first Bali bomb in which 88 Australians died. But to brand all JI members as evil incarnate is to suggest that the only real counter-terrorism option is to cast the net as wide as possible and lock up all suspects for ever. That’s what might be called the ‘‘Guantanamo option’’ – and it won’t work.

Why? Because people have joined JI for different reasons, and some can be dissuaded from using violence; because the biggest threat of more attacks may come from outside JI; because prisons can be a radicalising element; and because Indonesia is a democracy where less corruption and more justice may be as effective a means of fighting terror as police and spy satellites.

JI is a dangerous organisation because it promotes an ideology that condones violence against Islam’s enemies in the struggle to establish Islamic law. Towards that end it seeks to amass weapons and give members military training to prepare for the coming battle. But many members do not support indiscriminate violence against civilians and reject the notion that al-Qaida-style attacks on Indonesian soil are an appropriate response to the deaths of Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.

Many would have opposed the first Bali bombings if they had known about the plans: not even every member of the JI central command was in on the secret. The next three major bombings – the Marriott Hotel, the Australian Embassy and Bali II – were effectively the work of a splinter group led by Noordin Mohamed Top. If Noordin and his opponents are lumped together as equally bad, the opportunity to use the influence of the less extreme against the more extreme is lost.

Not everyone is equally committed to the cause, but any hope of rehabilitation is undermined from the outset if anyone accused of terrorism is considered beyond redemption. In late March, 16 convicted terrorists – not JI – were moved from Ambon to Bali because local authorities found that some ordinary criminals had been recruited into jihadist ranks.

Of those moved, perhaps four were doing the recruiting. The others included young Ambonese who indeed had been involved in attacks but who would benefit more from structured vocational training programs than from being thrown together with hardcore ideologues who could make them far more radical than they are now. Some young men were caught up in operations reluctantly but felt it was a betrayal of their friends to pull out; others joined because they were persuaded it was a way of showing solidarity with persecuted Muslims around the world. Many of these men need to be seen not as steelyeyed killers but as individuals who could use some guidance.

At the same time, the ideology that teaches hatred of the U.S. and its allies is not going to go away any time soon. It is true that U.S. policies, from Iraq to various aspects of the war on terror to one-sided support of Israel, help keep it alive, but very few of the millions exposed to jihadism on the internet or through religious study sessions become terrorists.

In Indonesia, the factors used to explain terrorism elsewhere don’t apply: the country is not under occupation and it doesn’t suppress Islamic political parties. Those who join JI and other organisations are not a persecuted minority or alienated immigrant group.

In Ambon and Poso, two areas where bitter Christian-Muslim fighting took place in the years following Suharto’s resignation, unresolved grievances kept young men engaged in jihadi violence long after the sectarian strife had ended.

Address those grievances, and the ideology’s attraction diminishes. That’s not the case in Java, where a network of JI schools (some 20 out of a total of 30,000 schools, so the Islamic school system is not the problem) continues to produce a new generation of potential recruits, and where the increasing reluctance of JI leaders to sanction attacks is pushing some hotheads into the arms of more radical groups.

But even there, one recent graduate confessed he had no skills, and the only thing he was trained to do was teach in another JI school. It might be worthwhile to engage the local business community to set up onthe- job training programs to offer alternative prospects.

Some say the problem in Indonesia is democracy and that there was no terrorism under Suharto. But virtually all the men who later became JI leaders first joined a banned group called Darul Islam in the late 1970s and early 1980s as a protest against Suharto and went to Afghanistan to get the wherewithal to fight him.

Authoritarianism produced JI, not democracy. Now the task is to reduce corruption and make the Government more responsive. Those who see victory in the recent arrests of two top JI leaders should remember that in the early 1980s, virtually the entire leadership of Darul Islam was arrested.

It did not kill the organisation. Instead, in 1993, it produced JI.

Op-Ed / Asia

Indonesia's Police: The Problem of Deadly Force

My four year-old daughter recently came home from her Jakarta kindergarten with a story about a visit to the school from the head of our local police station. 'If there is a robber and he's running away, the policeman will pull out his gun, fire in the air, and if he doesn't stop then he will shoot him in the leg', she recounted breathlessly.

I have spent 25 years working in and around conflict zones, including more than a decade in Indonesia. My reaction might not have been that of the average parent. 'That', I replied, 'is a violation of Perkap Number 8.' Needless to say, my reference to Police Regulation Number 8 of 2009 regarding Implementation of Human Rights Principles and Standards in the Discharge of Duties of the Indonesian National Police was lost on her. She thought the visit was great.

I had recalled Perkap 8 when re-reading the Hansard of the recent sparring between Australian Foreign Minister Senator Bob Carr and Victoria Greens Senator Richard Di Natale over the police shooting of protesters in Papua. But it is not just in Papua where questionable use of deadly force by the Indonesian National Police (INP) takes place. It happens across the country. And this was what Perkap 8 was put in place to prevent.

Article 47 of Perkap 8 says that 'the use of firearms shall be allowed only if strictly necessary to preserve human life' and 'firearms may only be used by officers: a. when facing extraordinary circumstances; b. for self defense against threat of death and/or serious injury; c. for the defense of others against threat of death and/or serious injury.' This is Indonesian law, taken from the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, and this is what should be used to assess police actions, wherever in the country they occur.

The fatal shooting on 14 June 2012 of Mako Tabuni, deputy head of the National Committee of West Papua (KNPB), in Jayapura, capital of Papua province, made Senate Estimates in 2012. The shooting of three protesters in Sorong on 30 April 2013, West Papua province, was mentioned in the testy 5 June 2013 exchanges between Senators Carr and Di Natale. You can watch it above.

In the first incident, detectives shot a suspect in the leg as he was running away and then left him to die in a hospital allegedly without making any effort to treat his wounds. In the second, police claim they were threatened by armed KNPB activists. Without more information it is difficult to judge if their response was disproportionate. Police always say they are shooting in self-defense, but it has become such a common excuse that it has started to lose its plausibility.

Cases outside Papua do not garner much attention in Australia, but lethal shootings happen all the time. On 1 September 2011 seven villagers were killed during a rowdy protest against police brutality in the Central Sulawesi district of Buol, a place so obscure even most Indonesians cannot find it on a map.

On 7 March 2013, soldiers burned down a police station in Baturaja, South Sumatra, after their off-duty comrade, First Private Heru Oktavianus, was shot dead by a police officer while speeding away from a traffic violation.

On 8 May 2013 police in Java killed six suspected terrorists in a series of raids. The police usually claim the suspects were armed and resisted arrest. But it is not always true, and many could have almost certainly been captured alive.

Ordinary criminals are shot with distressing frequency, as my daughter's visitor suggests, without any outcry at home or abroad.

Perkap 8 was signed by the then police chief Sutanto, a real reformer. It has not gotten very far. One foreign police officer working on a bilateral community policing program in a large metropolitan command told me he had once seen a copy of the Perkap on the chief's desk but suspected it had been disseminated no further.

Even when progressive regulations or orders are issued and disseminated, they are not always followed. In October 2012, the police chief of Papua, Tito Karnavian, former head of the anti-terrorism unit Detachment 88 (Densus 88), announced that he had banned police from using live ammunition when handling demonstrations in the region. This was progress and it was implemented for some demos, but the deaths in the Sorong case suggest live ammunition was used.

As Article 46 of Perkap 8 says, 'all officers must be trained in the use of power, equipment and firearms that can be used in applying force' and 'must be trained in non-violent techniques and methods.' Training almost 400,000 officers across 33 provinces is a logistical challenge, though it might be a good idea to start with elite units such as Densus 88 or personnel in the Papua provinces.

The new national head of the INP, about to be appointed, might breathe new life into two reforms already in place: implementation of Perkap 8 and Chief Sutanto's other landmark regulation on community policing, Perkap 7. The INP is a very hierarchical organisation that does follow firm orders from above. While its size makes complex reform difficult, its hierarchical nature makes implementing existing regulations with firm orders easier.

The first duty of the incoming INP chief, who reports directly to the president, will be to secure the 2014 elections. Making sure those deployed to safeguard this 'festival of democracy' are properly trained and equipped to use non-lethal force will be an important first step. After a new head of state is elected, he or she should consider issuing a directive that would see Perkap 8 properly implemented. The use of less deadly force could even be politically popular in some parts.

Outside help may also be needed, and this is where Australia comes in. A few decades back, the Victorian state police had a problem of using too much deadly force and created Project Beacon to try to rectify it. They changed the way they thought about the problem, overhauled training, and gave officers on the beat new tools, like pepper spray. Foreign assistance along these lines could help the INP improve performance and increase accountability. Crisis Group has long argued that the INP needs better orders, training, and equipment for the use of non-deadly force.

If the INP is to be more the service it aspires to be rather than the force it is, it needs to shed its military mindset, hold serious post-operation reviews after each fatal incident, and decrease reliance on shooting first and asking questions later, regardless of whether officers are following locally accepted standard procedure. When the time comes and the INP is ready to carry forward the reform of Perkap 8, Australia should be there to help.

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