Subject: 3 TNI Reports: Violence Against Civilians; Prostitution Racket [+Pace of Reforms]

also: Indonesian Military internal reforms, revisited; and Global Integrity: Indonesian Military and Prostitution Racket

The Jakarta Post Friday, October 5, 2007

TNI accused of continual involvement in violence

Apriadi Gunawan, The Jakarta Post, Medan

Violent acts involving Indonesian Military (TNI) personnel in North Sumatra are on the rise, with 12 cases recorded already this year, compared with just 10 last year, Kontras said.

The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims (Kontras) said from January to October this year it had recorded 12 cases of violence involving TNI personnel.

Kontras coordinator in Sumatra, Diah Susilowati, said most of the cases they recorded involved violence, which she said was linked to the arrogance shown by TNI personnel toward civilians.

"Tragically, many civilians have became the victims of violent acts conducted by TNI personnel," Diah said.

She said on Monday a clash over land had seen resident Charles Limbong killed.

The police have named 13 suspects following the incident.

Diah said Monday's incident was just one example of many conflicts between residents and the military's business.

On Monday, the clash erupted over the ownership of 180 hectares of land in Sei Tuan village, Pantai Labu district in Deli Serdang regency.

Violent acts triggered by military business, she said, were directly related to the military personnel's arrogance.

Recently, 10 Sibolangit residents in Deli Serdang were beaten by Air Force personnel over a personal problem, she said.

Another example was the alleged murder of Medan resident, Ibrahim, by Air Force's special unit personnel in March this year, she said.

Diah said Ibrahim was killed by several Air Force personnel who had accused him of being involved in an affair with an officer's wife.

"The murder case is being trailed at Medan Military Court," she told The Jakarta Post in her office on Thursday.

She said six of 37 suspects in the case had been put on trial.

Kontras has requested the government prohibit the military's to involve in business and to completely reform the TNI.

"On it's 62th anniversary on October 5 this year, TNI still leaves out many unsolved problems," Diah said.

"Under the call for reform, TNI is pictured as a professional institution that serves to defend the country, while respecting human rights.

"But the reality is below expectation."

She said the government had yet to restructure territorial command, take over the military business or imposes disciplinary measures.

"So it's natural if in reality, violent acts and human rights violations involving TNI as institution and its personnel have continued to increase each year," she said.

When confirmed, Bukit Barisan Military spokesman Lt. Col. Togar Panjaitan denied army personnel had been involved in violence against civilians.

He said the clash which killed Charles Limbong in Labu beach on Monday did not involve military personnel.

"The clash pit residents against workers from Bukit Barisan Military cooperative unit," Togar said.


The Jakarta Post Friday, October 5, 2007

Indonesian Military internal reforms, revisited

Imanuddin Razak, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Indonesian Military (TNI) would celebrate its 62nd Friday, but unlike birthday's for armed forces around the world, its birthday is not expected to be a heart warming event.

Nor is the military body expected to highlight any need to respect rituals around Ramadhan, the fasting month that sees Muslims contemplate their achievements and refrain from pursuing desires of the flesh.

But it is high time the TNI pondered its achievements, especially those it accomplished post 1998 and after the launch of its internal reforms.

It is undeniable the TNI has conducted quite an impressive task of reforming its organization.

Its decision to quit the formal political arena -- by leaving the House of Representatives (DPR) and the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) in 2004 -- was deemed the most outstanding move of all.

TNI's commitment to exit all politics was seen via its retirement requirement for all military officers wanting a leading position in the executive branch of power.

These TNI staff were required to retire prior to running for presidency, governorship or regental/mayoral posts.

But that was three years ago -- and there has been no impressive decision made by TNI headquarters since.

One of the most important reforms the TNI has not been able to deliver is the release of all its businesses.

It was supposed to ensure this change to enable a focus on its main role as the country's defense force.

The deadline for the government to issue a presidential decree that would regulate the state's takeover of the TNI businesses was two years ago.

Reports indicated at the time the draft decree had been submitted by the team tasked with the TNI businesses takeover to the Office of Cabinet Secretary.

In addition, the TNI has not been able to settle its military tribunal reforms.

It has been seven years since the People's Consultative Assembly issued a decree around the Indonesian Military, which was supposed to see soldiers accused of a criminal act tried in a civilian court.

Instead, a military tribunal is still being used for this purpose.

The decree also recommended the military tribunal only hear military discipline-related violations by soldiers.

But there remain regulations around specific prosecutions for soldiers who have committed a criminal act.

TNI can however argue the Defense Ministry is responsible for the acceleration of both the takeover of the TNI businesses and the immediate enforcement of civilian court prosecution for non-military criminal acts by soldiers.

Another public focal point is the rare prosecution of soldiers or officers implicated in corruption cases within the military institutions.

The only ongoing prosecution of such military-related graft cases is the investigation into the alleged corruption at the Indonesian Military's insurance company PT Asabri.

This case, however, does not implicate any active military officers.

One of the suspects being questioned by the Attorney General's Office is a retired two-star general who was once chairman of Asabri, Subardi Midjaya.

Another aspect the TNI has to consider is the implementation of its territorial command.

The command system has caused serious problems, onlookers said, mainly human rights issues, due partly to the military's repressive approach toward any opposition or force against the ruling New Order government.

It is imperative the TNI redefine its territorial concept to meet global security threats and challenges.

Most importantly, any decision taken by TNI headquarters on the concept should be transparent and open for evaluation by the general public.

Wise men say there are three categories of men.

One is stupid. Why? Because their life today is worse than yesterday's life.

The second category are losers, because their life today is similar with that of yesterday's.

The last category are winners, because they are the ones who ensure their life today is better than yesterday's.

Common sense would see everyone bargaining for a spot in the third group.

But people's expectations do not always match the reality with which they must deal.

An intriguing question is whether the TNI would also evaluate its target achievement through the stupid-loser-winner approach.

The TNI alone will determine whether its institution today is better than, the same as, or worse than yesterday's.


Global Integrity Washington, DC [No date available]

Reporter's Notebook

Indonesian Military and Prostitution Racket

By Andreas Harsono

Clad in a sarong and cotton shirt, Chief Sergeant Ukas seemes like an ordinary shopkeeper. He runs a family store next to his house on the outskirts of Merauke, a town in Indonesia's troubled Papua province. "I'm a retiree now," he says with a smile. In fact, Ukas retired from not one profession but two: the Army and the prostitution racket.

In 1996, when Ukas was the treasurer of the Merauke Military Command, he established the Nikita bar in downtown Merauke. Most town residents knew the Nikita made its money from the sex trade. "We usually bring in girls from Java or Makassar," Ukas said. "We contract them for three or four months. We also regularly check their health," he added.

Ukas is one of thousands of Indonesian military officers who profit from shadowy side jobs. Although they know it is illegal, the practice is so pervasive it's almost taken for granted. Even former President Suharto, the Army general who ruled Indonesia with an iron fist, was once demoted for smuggling. "Our salaries are not enough; we have to find extra income," Ukas argued.

Soldiers find ample opportunity in Indonesia, composed of thousands of islands stretching some 3,200 miles from east to west. Its 210 million people speak more than 500 different languages. Nearly 90 percent of its population is Muslim, concentrated on the islands of Java and Sumatra, though eastern provinces like Papua have a Christian majority.

Ethnic violence and separatist movements riddle Indonesia's modern history. Now many question whether Indonesia can survive as a nation-state given that its people's only common history is their Dutch colonial past. Suharto managed to keep the country together by brutal means after he rose to power in 1965, but after he left power in May 1998, the institutions he built began to crumble.

A common thread running through the chaos of Indonesian history is corruption within the Indonesian military (TNIčTentara Nasional Indonesia). The New York-based group Human Rights Watch published a 126-page report in June 2006 titled "Too High a Price: The Human Rights Cost of the Indonesian Military's Economic Activities." The report described how the TNI raises money outside the government budget through a sprawling network of legal and illegal businesses.

An example is the large cache of military equipment found in the Jakarta houses of a dead Army general in June 2006 that included 145 weapons, 28,985 bullets, eight grenades, and 28 pairs of binoculars. Though the materiel was clearly moving through the black market, the TNI claimed the general collected weapons as a "hobby."

The principal driver of military corruption is the fact that the military's budget is only partially covered by the government. Cornell University's Indonesia Journal estimated the government's contribution to be as low as 30 percent of the total. The TNI must raise the rest of the funds from three principal sources: yayasan, a complex system of non-governmental foundations; provision of services such as security and transportation for civilian clients including U.S. mining giant Freeport McMoran; and illegal businesses, such as protection rackets for prostitution and gambling businesses.

The lowest level of Army personnel, such as Sergeant Ukas, conduct the latter type of businesses, while private security services are largely managed by the Kodam (provincial-level Army command) and Korem (a subcommand). Only the yayasan are under direct control of the Army Central Command in Jakarta. The Asian economic crisis damaged the yayasan, exposing their endemic corruption and poor management. Army headquarters, however, found them difficult to investigate as dozens of generals were involved. In 2001, Army headquarters finally understood that the yayasan bankruptcies posed a fundamental threat to the military institution and employed Ernst & Young to audit its biggest foundation, Yayasan Kartika Eka Paksi. The result was shocking: Only two of the 38 yayasan generated profits.

The Indonesian Parliament passed a law in 2004 requiring the TNI hand over all of its businesses to the government. The law mandates four ministries, including the defense and finance ministries, to audit some 1,500 military enterprises before turning them over by 2009. The TNI played hide-and-seek, however: A government team assigned to audit the firms estimated their total worth at only 1 trillion Rupiah (US$100 million), far less than the value widely believed.

Their revelations took most legislators by surprise. "During the regime of former president Suharto, a number of generals held concessions for mining, forestry and other lucrative sectors inherited by TNI businesses, so the assets cannot be worth only 1 trillion rupiah," said lawmaker Permadi Satrio Wiwoho of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle.

House member Soeripto of the Prosperous Justice Party expressed similar shock. "As someone who knows a little bit about forestry, I learned that one way or another, military members managed to get shares in all 550 logging concessions. How can there be only two concession-holders with connections to the military?" he said.

Ukas and his generals in Jakarta only echoed what founding president Sukarno repeatedly said about the Indonesian military: "It's a state within a state." Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono is not surprised to hear stories like that of Ukas. "Bad cops and soldiers who are involved in protection rackets happen in Jakarta. You could also easily find them in Chicago or New York," he said.

But this kind of corruption does not only hurt the state. One of Ukas' girls was 25-year-old Anita Ayu Sulandari, who worked at the Nikita for three years until she decided to "freelance" in the hinterlands of Kaname Island. "I was considered old," she said. "In Kaname, I did business, looking for the gaharu in the villages." The gaharu tree produces a hard, black resin that the Asmat peoples burn to connect with their ancestors and cast spells. Outsiders value gaharu as the source of expensive incense for the Asian and Middle Eastern market. Ayu traded gaharu for sex, selling the gaharu to middlemen in Kaname. "If (the gaharu) is of low quality, one kilogram buys a short time," she said. "If the quality is excellent, it could be one full night."

In October 2002, Ayu fell seriously ill and returned to Merauke. Doctors told her that she had contracted HIV. Devastated, she decided to stay in a Catholic-run HIV treatment house. Last year, Ayu decided to leave the HIV medical treatment facility and worked again on the street. "I can't stand to live there. The (pocket) money was not enough. It's also hard to see my roommates died one by one," she said. I asked her if her consumers used condoms. "They said it is not natural," she answered.

An estimated 90,000 to 130,000 Indonesians are HIV positive, 30 percent of them in Papua, though the island contains only one percent of Indonesia's population. Papuan nationalists liken the spread of the disease to Indonesia's harsh military occupation. Corruption's role in both closes a deadly circle. 

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