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Wednesday, 26 July 2017 | 07:32
Novel Baswedan Reported to Police by Former Witness KPK senior investigator Novel Baswedan has been reported to
police yesterday night by Nico Panji Tirtayasa, a former
witness in a bribery case.
Wednesday, 26 July 2017 | 06:56
World Bank Supports Tax Reform in Indonesia President of the World Bank group, Jim Yong Kim, on Tuesday
expressed his support to the Indonesian governments plan on
the tax reform program.
A Backward step in Terrorism Law  
Wednesday, 14 June, 2017 | 14:14 WIB
A Backward step in Terrorism Law  

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The suggestion to give the Indonesian Military (TNI) a larger role in dealing with terrorism is a step backward. The authority to tackle the crime of terrorism should remain in the hands of the police. TNI's role is still necessary, but only for dealing with direct threats to the state.

The government's plan to give a larger role to the military in the revision to Law No. 15/2003 on Terrorism, now under discussion at the House of Representatives, is a mistake. The government proposed the revision last February, but the deliberations are still continuing. Not long after the May 24 suicide bombing at Kampung Melayu, Jakarta, the pressure to complete the revision has grown stronger.

Even President Joko Widodo reiterated this point after visiting the scene of the Kampung Melayu incident. He not only asked that the revision be finished soon, he also suggested the TNI be given a role in the eradication of terrorism. Countries everywhere are the same, they all give the military a special role, said the president in an exclusive interview with Tempo last week.

The role of the military in dealing with terrorism is clearly regulated in Law No. 34/2004 on the TNI. Article 7 paragraph 2 allows the TNI to deal with terrorism, but only on the condition that it is a direct threat to national sovereignty. If not, it is the police who need to act, not the military.

There is a very good reason why the police must maintain a larger role. The Terrorism Law states that terrorism is a criminal offense. Therefore, it must be dealt with under criminal law, which is clearly the remit of the police. This does not mean the military are not allowed to be involved. In the operation in Poso, the TNI helped the police shoot and kill Santoso, a leading terrorist who had long been at large.

The proposed revision to the Terrorism Law would change the way the military would cooperate with the police. The draft revised Article 43-B paragraph 1 states that national strategy and policies for dealing with the crime of terrorism are implemented by the Indonesian National Police (Polri), TNI and relevant government institutions. This means the TNI has the same status as the police in dealing with terrorism. Paragraph 2 does state that the role of the TNI is to provide assistance to Polri, but this is seemingly useless because Article 1 gives the TNI the same authority as Polri.

This revision must be cancelled. The police are still capable of dealing with terrorism. Their success in eliminating the network of Dr Azahari and Noordin M. Top is proof of this. The police only need TNI’s help when hunting down terrorists in mountainous areas or dense jungle like Poso, but operational control must remain with the Polri. The bombings on Jalan Thamrin in January 2016 and in Kampung Melayu at the end of May are not sufficient reason to involve the military.

Giving sweeping powers to the military to handle terrorism is at odds with the civilian supremacy that we have built since the 1998 reforms. Another problem may also arise: if human rights violations occur while the military is hunting down terrorists, it will be difficult to hold a transparent investigation. This is because the responsible parties would be tried in a closed military court.

The pressure for swift revisions of the law is mounting, but caution must come first. There must be no deception. A revised Terrorism Law is not a lethal weapon to stop these barbaric acts. Far more important is that Indonesia must not allow the seeds of radicalism to flourish here.(*)

Read the full story in this week’s edition of Tempo English Magazine

 



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