Families slam Indonesian’s acquittal over Papua killings

The acquittal by Indonesia’s human rights court of a retired army officer accused of killing four young Papuans in 2014 is a sign of impunity, a family representative said.

The family called for the case to be opened after a human rights court in Makassar, South Sulawesi, on Thursday, acquitted Isak Settu of “crimes against humanity”. Indonesia’s Human Rights Commission previously found that four high school students were shot dead by the military during a protest in Paniai, a central Papua region where the long-running conflict often turns into do violence.

Yones Douw, who spoke to AFP, told AFP, “We, the families of the victims and the witnesses, ensure that the country punishes and protects the perpetrators of the massive human rights violations in Paniai.” . Settu will be sentenced to 10 years in prison for his alleged role in the incident, after Indonesian security forces fired at a crowd protesting that soldiers were beating Papuan youths on fire.

The First Human Rights Committee found that the rank and file soldiers and their leaders were responsible for the death of the students, aged 17 and 18, and the injuries of 21 other Papuans who protested. The event was a “gross violation of human rights”, the commission known as Komnas HAM, concluded in 2020.

Settu was the only police officer brought to justice for the incident and was acquitted of all charges in Thursday’s hearing, which was broadcast live. He was a public relations officer at the time of the incident and the court ruled that he did not have the effective authority of the local military office when the shooting occurred.

Two of the five judges disagreed with the decision, arguing that Settu was the most senior officer there at the time, so he could be held responsible for not controlling the actions of the soldiers. “This decision is a new challenge not only for the victims and families of the Paniai bombing, but also for other victims of human rights abuses in Indonesia who have been seeking justice and accountability for years. .” Usman Hamid, Amnesty International. Indonesia’s director general said in a statement.

Usman also said that it is hard to believe that only one police officer was acquitted. The human rights trial, the special court, is the first in Indonesia since 2004.

None of the perpetrators have been punished in the previous three trials for human rights violations. The families of the victims also sent a letter, seen by AFP, to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, Volker Turk, asking for help in pushing the Indonesian government to resume the trial.

The Indonesian military has been accused of committing atrocities against Papuan civilians during a decades-long insurgency seeking independence for the wealthy region. Dutch, Papua said himself in 1961, but Indonesia converted a neighborhood neighbor like that.

One next vote on the approval of Indonesia to be considered the mass of Sham.

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