In commemorating thethirteen years after the killing of human rights defender Munir Said Thalib,7th of September 2017, the undersigned regional and international human rightsorganizations call on the Indonesian President Joko Widodo to take decisive andconcrete action to ensure those responsible - including those at the highestlevels - are brought to justice. As a first key step towards establishing thetruth, President Widodo must release the 2005 report prepared by an officialfact-finding team into Munir’s killing. Munir was a prominent Indonesian humanrights campaigner who took up the cause of dozens of activists who had beensubjected to enforced disappearances during the last months of the Suharto’sregime in 1998.
As a human rightsdefender, Munir played a significant role in uncovering evidence of securityforces’ responsibility for human rights violations in Aceh, Papua andTimor-Leste. He received numerous threats as a result of his human rights work.In August 2003, a bomb exploded outside his home in Jakarta. In 2002 and 2003,the KontraS (the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence) officewhere he worked was attacked by a mob, who destroyed office equipment andforcibly took files containing information about ongoing human rightsinvestigations.
Munir was found deadon a Garuda Airlines flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam on 7 September 2004. Anautopsy carried out by the Dutch authorities showed that he died as a result ofarsenic poisoning. In December 2004 the Indonesian authorities formed anofficial fact-finding team to investigate the murder. Although three GarudaAirlines staff were convicted of the killing, there are credible allegationsthat those responsible at the highest levels of government have not yet beenbrought to justice. In 2008, Muchdi Purwoprandjono, a former deputy director ofthe state intelligence agency, was acquitted of soliciting and assisting in thekilling of Munir. Indonesian law scholars and human rights groups found thatthe trial was fundamentally flawed. Key prosecution witnesses retracted theirsworn testimonies and failed to testify in court. In February 2010, theNational Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) also identified flaws in thepolice investigation, prosecution and trial of Muchdi Purwoprandjono andrecommended a new police investigation.
In September 2016,President Widodo made a public pledge to resolve the case of Munir. But theIndonesian authorities have still not published the 2005 report of the independentfact-finding team on Munir’s killing, whose finding reportedly implicatedsenior intelligence officers. This violates the Presidential Decree No.111/2004 on the establishment of the fact finding team on Munir’s killing whichobliged the government to make the report public.
In October 2016, thePublic Information Commission ruled that the 2005 report should be made publicafter Suciwati, Munir’s wife, filed a public information request to theCommission. However, in February 2017, the Administrative Court repealed theCommission’s decision on the grounds that the current government under theadministration of President Widodo had not received the report from theprevious government and therefore did not possess the document. Subsequently,in August 2017, the Supreme Court upheld the Administrative Court’s decisionand the report has yet to be made public.
Our organizationsbelieve that Munir’s case cannot be seen in isolation, but is indicative of thewider culture of impunity surrounding attacks and harassment of human rightsdefenders in the country. The lack of full accountability in Munir’s casecontributes to an ongoing climate of fear among human rights defenders.
We, the undersigned regional and international civil society organizationstherefore urge the President of Indonesia Joko Widodo to take the followingsteps as a matter of priority:
· Publish the 2005 report of the fact-finding team into Munir’s killing asa key step towards establishing the truth;
· Establish a new, independent investigation into the murder of Munir toensure that all those suspected of being responsible, at all levels, arebrought to justice in proceedings that adhere to international human rightsstandards;
· Review the past criminal proceedings conducted by the Attorney Generalinto Munir’s killing, including alleged violations of international humanrights law; in particular, investigate reports of witness intimidation and bringthose suspected of committing them to justice;
· Take effective steps to ensure that human rights violations committedagainst all human rights defenders are promptly, effectively and impartiallyinvestigated and that those responsible are brought to justice in fair trials;and
· Create a safe and enabling legal environment for human rights defendersby enacting laws on the protection of human rights defenders.
Amnesty International Indonesia
AHRC (Asian Human Rights Commission)
AFAD (Asian Federation Against InvoluntaryDisappearances)
AJAR (Asia Justice and Rights)
ETAN (East Timor & Indonesia Action Network)
FIDH, within the framework of the Observatory for theProtection of Human Rights Defenders
FORUM-ASIA (Asian Forum for Human Rights andDevelopment)
Human Rights First
Human Rights Watch
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), within theframework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders