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Indonesia's Police: The Problem of Deadly Force
Indonesia's Police: The Problem of Deadly Force
Briefing 139 / Asia

Indonesia: Ketegangan Seputar Bendera Aceh

Ringkasan Ikhtisar

Keputusan pemerintah Aceh untuk memakai bendera bekas Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM) sebagai bendera resmi propinsi sedang menguji sejauh mana batas otonomi khusus. Keputusan yang membuat geram Jakarta ini juga meningkatkan ketegangan etnis dan politik, menghidupkan kembali semangat pemekaran Aceh serta menambah kekhawatiran terjadinya kekerasan menjelang pemilu nasional 2014.

Pada 25 Maret 2013, DPR Aceh mengadopsi sebuah qanun yang membuat bendera lama GAM menjadi bendera resmi propinsi Aceh. Qanun ini segera ditandatangani oleh Gubernur Zaini Abdullah. Gubernur dan wakil gubernur adalah anggota Partai Aceh, partai politik lokal yang didirikan oleh para mantan petinggi GAM di tahun 2008 yang kini menguasai DPR Aceh.

Pemerintah pusat, yang menganggap bendera tersebut sebagai simbol separatis dan oleh karena itu melanggar Peraturan Pemerintah No. 77/2007, langsung keberatan dan minta dilakukan perubahan. Para petinggi Partai Aceh, yang melihat bendera tersebut sebagai alat ampuh untuk menggalang massa dalam pemilu 2014, menolak permintaan itu. Mereka berargumentasi bahwa bendera itu tidak dapat dianggap sebagai simbol separatis karena GAM secara eksplisit telah mengakui kedaulatan Republik Indonesia yang merupakan bagian dari perjanjian damai Helsinki tahun 2005 yang telah mengakhiri 30 tahun konflik.

Pemerintah Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono terbelah dalam menangani masalah ini. Di satu sisi, pemerintah tak ingin menyinggung petinggi GAM; perjanjian damai tahun 2005 merupakan prestasi terpenting bagi Yudhoyono yang di akhir masa tugasnya khawatir dengan bagaimana dia akan dilihat di masa depan. Jakarta juga tak ingin memprovokasi GAM terlalu jauh karena khawatir Aceh akan kembali terperosok dalam konflik walaupun kekhawatiran ini dilihat banyak orang di Aceh tidak beralasan. Di sisi lain, pemerintah juga tak ingin dianggap tidak nasionalis dengan semakin dekatnya pemilu 2014. Apalagi, beberapa unsur di TNI, Polri dan badan intel masih tetap yakin bahwa GAM masih belum melepaskan tujuannya untuk merdeka dan kini menggunakan cara-cara demokratis untuk mewujudkannya. Presiden dan para penasihatnya juga tahu bahwa kalau mereka mengijinkan bendera GAM berkibar, maka hal itu akan berdampak di Papua, dimana puluhan aktivis pro-kemerdekaan telah dipenjara karena mengibarkan bendera “Bintang Kejora”

Para petinggi GAM melihat tak ada ruginya bersikukuh dengan keputusan mereka. Bendera GAM merupakan simbol yang punya kekuatan emosional yang amat besar. Menentang Jakarta malah membuat mereka lebih populer dalam masyarakat Aceh. Beberapa anggota DPRA melihat hal ini sebagai cara untuk meraih kembali popularitas mereka yang menyusut karena gagal memberikan pelayanan yang substantif kepada konstituen mereka. Disamping itu, Partai Aceh mengambil keputusan yang kontroversial untuk bermitra dengan Gerindra, partainya mantan Jenderal Prabowo Subianto, dalam pemilu 2014 nanti. Petinggi-petinggi GAM seperti Muzakir Manaf, wakil gubernur dan mantan panglima GAM, mungkin ingin menggunakan persoalan bendera Aceh untuk memperlihatkan bahwa mereka tidak mengkompromikan prinsip mereka meski bersekutu dengan seseorang yang jejak rekam HAM nya sering dipertanyakan.

Di Aceh sendiri, pengadopsian bendera GAM telah memicu protes dari kelompok-kelompok etnis non-Aceh di pegunungan tengah dan wilayah barat daya. Wilayah dominan GAM selama ini ada di wilayah pesisir timur Aceh. Bagi mereka yang di dataran tinggi seperti suku Gayo, bendera ini mewakili dominasi masyarakat pesisir. Persoalan ini telah menghidupkan kembali gerakan terpendam untuk memekarkan Aceh menjadi tiga dengan membentuk dua propinsi baru, yaitu propinsi Aceh Leuser Antara (ALA) untuk wilayah pegunungan tengah, dan propinsi Aceh Barat Selatan (ABAS) untuk wilayah barat daya. Kalau Pemerintah Aceh tak mau merubah keputusannya soal bendera Aceh, maka dukungan untuk pemekaran kemungkinan akan meningkat, dan ketegangan antar suku pun akan memanas. 

Opsi-opsi untuk memecahkan kebuntuan kemungkinan adalah sebagai berikut: pemerintah melanggengkan keputusan DPRA; GAM mengalah dengan membuat sedikit perubahan terhadap bendera Aceh dengan menambah atau menghilangkan elemen tertentu; GAM setuju untuk membatasi bagaimana atau dimana bendera bisa dipasang; atau perselisihan ini dibawa ke Mahkamah Agung, oleh karena itu menunda resolusi apapun.

Sementara itu, kekuatan politik GAM di Aceh terus meningkat. 

Jakarta / Brussels, 7 Mei 2013

Op-Ed / Asia

Indonesia's Police: The Problem of Deadly Force

Originally published in The Interpreter

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.