Revisions to the country's 2003 Antiterrorism Law currently being drafted by lawmakers must emphasize a greater role for law enforcement, not the military, in the fight against terror, the National Police Commission, or Kompolnas, said in a statement on Wednesday (31/05). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Revisions to Antiterrorism Law Should Grant Police, Not the Military, Greater Authority: Kompolnas

BY :SHEANY & ALEX WEINTRAUB

JUNE 01, 2017

Jakarta. Revisions to the country's 2003 Antiterrorism Law currently being drafted by lawmakers must emphasize a greater role for law enforcement, not the military, in the fight against terror, the National Police Commission, or Kompolnas, said in a statement on Wednesday (31/05).

In the statement received by the Jakarta Globe, Kompolnas noted that ongoing negotiations on the revisions have sparked a debate between varying approaches to combat terror, with some lawmakers arguing that police should be granted greater authority over the military.

Others, however, argue that the Indonesian Military (TNI) should be given priority in what some are calling a "war against terrorism."

If the military gains greater control of the fight against terror, "the professionalism of law enforcement officers, the criminal justice system, the reforms of the National Police and TNI will all be damaged, and our society will be more prone to human rights violations," the Kompolnas statement said.

Following last week’s terrorist attack at the Kampung Melayu bus station in East Jakarta, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo called for a swift finalization of ongoing revisions to the country's antiterrorism law.

Those revisions are still subject to negotiations between the government and the House of Representatives.

State Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief Budi Gunawan also called for a hasty finalization of the revisions on Sunday, saying the process "can no longer be delayed."

"The law enforcement approach to combating terror should not be repressive [...] it will bring restorative justice to perpetrators that is in line with the state ideology, Pancasila," the Kompolnas statement said.

Kompolnas commissioner Peongky Indarti told the Globe that police have led the nationwide effort to eradicate terrorism so far, and should continue to do so in the future.

"TNI is a defense apparatus. If the police requires assistance from TNI, this can be achieved through the Military Assistance Law," Poengky said.

Over the past few decades, only the police operated a special unit —Densus 88— specifically tasked with counterterrorism operations. Apart from the National Police, the government also has another body —the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT)— particularly tasked with preventing the spread of radical ideologies.

The 2003 Antiterrorism Law was ratified after the 2002 Bali bombings and did not include authorization for law enforcement officials to apply preventive measures in fighting terrorism.

The revisions are expected to change this, allowing police greater authority to detain suspects without charge for up to 60 days. Many NGOs and civil society organizations have labelled those measures draconian and have decried them as a violation of human rights.

Some clauses in the revisions also point to a greater role for the military in the nationwide fight against terror.

In its statement, Kompolnas urged civilians to take on a greater involvement in preventing terror by keeping authorities abreast of suspicious individuals or activity in their communities.

The government moved to revise the Antiterrorism Law after an Islamic State-linked attack in Central Jakarta in January last year. However, human rights concerns have so far held back the bill's passage into national law.

 

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