17 October 2010

Indonesian outrage over 'live bullets madness'

Jakarta Globe - October 12, 2010

Farouk Arnaz, Nivell Rayda & Susilo Wardhani, Jakarta -- Human rights
activists on Monday objected to a new National Police regulation allowing
officers to use live ammunition to control anarchic situations.

"This regulation is madness. It does not minimize police's excessive use of
force but instead increases police brutality further," said Poengky
Indarti, executive secretary of the Indonesian Human Rights Monitor

The new regulation, issued by outgoing National Police Chief Gen. Bambang
Hendarso Danuri, allows police officers to used live bullets to handle
rioters when they become uncooperative and start attacking officers.
However, officers are only allowed to shoot to immobilize, not to kill.

"This new regulation, number 1/X/2010, signed last Friday, which was
already distributed nationwide, will guide our officers in the field to act
firmly against an anarchy group," National Police Deputy Spokesman Brig.
Gen. Untung Ketut Yoga said.

When asked whether the regulation was in response to recent violent attacks
on religious minorities by Islamic hard-liners, such as the Islamic
Defenders Front (FPI), Untung said: "[It is] for any group that commits
anarchy. This new regulation hopefully will eliminate our officers' doubts
in handling anarchy because they were worried before about violating human

In a hearing before the House of Representatives in August, several
ministers and top officials dealing with political, legal and security
affairs agreed to push for law enforcers to act firmly against any
organization disturbing public order.

They included Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security
Affairs Djoko Suyanto, Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali, Home
Affairs Minister Gamawan Fauzi, State Intelligence Agency Chief Sutanto,
and Bambang.

In the latest case of anarchy, two rival gangs fought each other late last
month with firearms and machetes in a pitched street battle in front of a
court building in South Jakarta. Three people were killed and a dozen
injured, including three police officers with gunshot wounds.

Utung said the police worked "closely" with the Commission for Missing
Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) while making the regulation. But
Kontras deputy chairman Indria Fernida said the police had merely solicited

"It is not like police showed us the final draft and asked if the
regulation was okay," she told the Jakarta Globe.

Imparsial's Poengky said police should be discouraged from using live
ammunition to counter rioters and called for the long-overdue
implementation of the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms
by Law Enforcement Officials.

The principles, enacted on Sept. 7, 1990, stipulate the need for non-lethal
weapons to counter riots and brawls and for the government to ensure that
abusive use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials is punished
as a criminal offense. "Police need to focus more on preventive measures,"
Poengky said.

Imparsial said in June that there have been a least 135 cases of the police
using force excessively since 2005. Last week, police in Wamena, Papua,
shot and killed three civilians during a brawl. In September, police in
Buol, Central Sulawesi, fired shots into a crowd of protesters, killing
five people and wounding 23.

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