Indonesia's Police: The Problem of Deadly Force
Indonesia's Police: The Problem of Deadly Force
Briefing 109 / Asia

Senjata Gelap di Indonesia

Ringkasan Ikhtisar

Sebuah perampokan bank bersenjata yang membawa korban jiwa bulan Agustus lalu dan terungkapnya kamp latihan tempur teroris yang menggunakan senjata api bekas milik polisi di Aceh bulan Februari 2010 telah menarik perhatian masyakarat pada peredaran senjata api ilegal di Indonesia. Kejadian tersebut menimbulkan pertanyaan mengenai bagaimana senjata-senjata api itu bisa jatuh ke tangan penjahat dan langkah-langkah apa yang dilakukan untuk mencegahnya. Persoalan ini menjadi lebih mendesak apalagi karena sekelompok kecil teroris di Indonesia yang prihatin dengan jatuhnya korban Muslim dalam aksi pemboman, sedang mulai membahas penembakan jitu sebagai metode operasi yang lebih dipilih.

Pemerintah Indonesia bisa mulai menangani masalah ini dengan meninjau dan memperkuat kepatuhan terhadap prosedur penyimpanan, inventori, dan pemusnahan senjata api; meningkatkan proses seleksi dan pengawasan terhadap yang menjaga gudang senjata; melakukan audit terhadap para importir senjata dan toko-toko senjata, termasuk mereka yang menjual senjata online; dan menegakkan peraturan terhadap senjata-senjata “airsoft” yang penampilannya persis seperti senjata api sungguhan tapi menggunakan peluru plastik, yang kini semakin populer.

Tetapi persoalan ini perlu diletakkan dalam perspektif yang tepat, karena skala persoalannya tidak terlalu besar. Indonesia tidak “berbudaya senjata” seperti di Filipina atau Thailand. Korban tewas akibat senjata api teroris di Indonesia selama sepuluh tahun terakhir berjumlah sekitar dua puluh orang, setengahnya adalah polisi, dan sebagian besar terjadi di daerah paska konflik Sulawesi Tengah dan Maluku. Hubungan antara terorisme dan kejahatan tidak sekuat seperti di negara-negara lain. Ada beberapa kasus barter ganja dengan senjata api – dan ada contoh kasus barter senjata api dengan binatang trenggiling – tapi pada umumnya, narkoterorisme bukan masalah besar di Indonesia.

Persoalan yang lebih serius adalah perampokan bersenjata terhadap bank, toko emas dan ATM oleh para anggota kelompok ekstrimis, karena aksi “fa’i” seperti ini sudah lama dipakai sebagai metode penggalangan dana. Pada saat laporan ini ditulis, masih belum jelas siapa yang berada di belakang perampokan bank di Medan, meskipun preman masih jadi kemungkinan yang terkuat. Tapi kelompok jihad sudah pernah merampok bank di Medan sebelumnya, yang paling menonjol yaitu perampokan Lippo Bank tahun 2003. Kejahatan semacam ini hanya sebagian kecil dari kasus-kasus perampokan di Indonesia, tapi kita patut menyoroti dari mana senjata api yang digunakan diperoleh. Persoalan ini bisa meningkat karena organisasi teroris yang dulu besar kini menjadi lemah dan terpecah, terutama mereka yang tadinya bergantung pada sumbangan anggota untuk mendanai kegiatan harian mereka. Perekrutan anggota baru yang tadinya penjahat biasa di dalam penjara oleh para anggota kelompok jihad juga bisa memperkuat hubungan antara terorisme dan kriminal di masa depan.

Ada empat sumber utama untuk memperoleh senjata api gelap di Indonesia. Mereka bisa dicuri atau dibeli secara ilegal lewat oknum TNI atau polisi, diambil dari sisa senjata di bekas wilayah-wilayah konflik, dirakit oleh pembuat senjata lokal atau diselundupkan dari luar negeri. Ribuan senjata api yang diperoleh secara legal tapi kemudian menjadi ilegal ketika ijin penggunaannya tidak berlaku lagi telah menjadi keprihatinan, karena tidak ada seorangpun yang tahu dimana senjata tersebut sekarang. Di seluruh Indonesia, korupsi telah memfasilitasi peredaran senjata api gelap dalam berbagai cara dan merusak apa yang di atas kertas merupakan sebuah sistem peraturan yang ketat.

Jakarta/Brussels, 6 September 2010

A bloody bank robbery in Medan in August 2010 and the discovery in Aceh in February 2010 of a terrorist training camp using old police weapons have focused public attention on the circulation of illegal arms in Indonesia. These incidents raise questions about how firearms fall into criminal hands and what measures are in place to stop them. The issue has become more urgent as the small groups of Indonesian jihadis, concerned about Muslim casualties in bomb attacks, are starting to discuss targeted killings as a preferred method of operation.

The Indonesian government could begin to address the problem by reviewing and strengthening compliance with procedures for storage, inventory and disposal of firearms; improved vetting and monitoring of those guarding armouries; auditing of gun importers and gun shops, including those that sell weapons online; and paying more attention to the growing popularity of “airsoft” guns that look exactly like real ones but shoot plastic pellets.

The problem needs to be kept in perspective, however. It is worth addressing precisely because the scale is manageable. Indonesia does not have a “gun culture” like the Philippines or Thailand. The number of people killed by terrorist gunfire in Indonesia over the last decade is about twenty, more than half of them police, and most of the deaths took place in post-conflict central Sulawesi and Maluku. The nexus between terrorism and crime is not nearly as strong as in other countries. There have been a few cases of bartering ganja (marijuana) for guns – and one case of trading endangered anteaters – but in general, narco-terrorism is not a problem.

Jihadi use of armed robberies as a fund-raising method is a more serious issue, with banks, gold stores and ATMs the favourite targets. As of this writing it remained unclear who was behind the Medan robbery – although criminal thugs remain the strongest possibility – but jihadi groups have robbed Medan banks before, most notably the Lippo Bank in 2003. Such crimes constitute a miniscule proportion of the country’s robberies, but it is still worth looking at where the guns come from when they occur. The problem may increase as the larger jihadi groups weaken and split, particularly those that once depended on member contributions for financing day-to-day activities. Recruitment by jihadis of ordinary criminals in prisons may also strengthen the linkage between terrorism and crime in the future.

There are four main sources of illegal guns in Indonesia. They can be stolen or illegally purchased from security forces, taken from leftover stockpiles in former conflict areas, manufactured by local gunsmiths or smuggled from abroad. Thousands of guns acquired legally but later rendered illicit through lapsed permits have become a growing concern because no one has kept track of them. Throughout the country, corruption facilitates the circulation of illegal arms in different ways and undermines what on paper is a tight system of regulation.

Jakarta/Brussels, 6 September 2010

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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