Jakarta. Indonesia's human rights watchdog has set up a fact-finding team to investigate conflicting claims on the number of people killed during last week's riots in Jakarta, a commissioner said on Tuesday.
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said last week that six people had been killed in clashes between protestors and security forces, but National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian questioned the information.
Police have established their own fact-finding team, which includes experts and independent investigators, Tito said. The authorities have yet to announce the exact number of people who died in the riots, but according to media reports, the death toll currently stands at eight.
The National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) has received information from two groups, one claiming to be relatives of 10 victims, Komnas HAM commissioner Choirul Anam told Kompas TV.
Due to uncertainty surrounding the number of casualties, Komnas HAM decided to set up a fact-finding team and invite external experts to participate, Choirul said.
He said the team wants to focus on four main points to figure it out whether the officers on duty had acted reasonably or used excessive force to bring the riots under control. These are: what exactly transpired on May 21-22; the locations of the protests and riots; to what extent hate speech was involved; and to define what constitutes a peaceful rally.
Several Komnas HAM commissioners have reported seeing four bodies at three hospitals – Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital in Central Jakarta, Koja Hospital in North Jakarta and a police hospital in East Jakarta – all with gunshot wounds, Choirul said.
"It's important to check, because according to one of our findings, bodies were taken to hospitals but it is not clear who were taken and where they died. It is important to know where they died to figure out whether there were any police officers present at the time, and what kind of momentum was involved," he said.
Police previously said personnel deployed to maintain order during the protest rally against the result of the April 17 elections would not be equipped with lethal weapons.