Among the most deeply rooted legacies of New Order rule is the pervasive militarization of Indonesian society. In the Soeharto era, militarization was reflected on campus in routine intelligence-gathering operations and surveillance of student life, arbitrary decrees from military authorities restricting students right to demonstrate, use of combined police and military force to contain campus rallies (the police command structure is part of the armed forces hierarchy), and the frequent harassment, arrest, and sometimes torture of campus activists. Under the New Order, surveillance of campus life by police and military intelligence agents became routine:
Enrolled students were recruited by the police and military as paid informers. Many student activists told Human Rights Watch that it was routine for military authorities to pay students to spy on other students, particularly on campuses in which there was an active protest movement. One former student activist explained that, when working as a journalist after graduation, he cameacross a former classmate who had entered the armed forces and was surprised to learn that the former classmate was already a lieutenant colonel, a rank that he should not have achieved so quickly. When the former activist pressed his former classmate, the latter eventually conceded that he had been recruited as a campus spy by the armed forces while a freshman and subsequently had been credited for the time he was on the armed forces payroll as a student.163
Security agents (intel) routinely attended rallies, dressed as students but identifiable because of past run-ins with students and by their military haircuts.164 Police, territorial military commands, and national bodies such as the Coordinating Agency for the Maintenance of National Stability (Badan Koordinasi Bantuan Pemantapan Stabilitas Nasional or Bakorstanas) each had their own agents. During the student protest movement in 1998, intelligence agents on several campuses themselves became the targets of violent student attacks, the students surrounding and beating the agents in retaliation for violent crackdowns on student protesters by security forces during prior rallies.165 Students seized pistols, walkie-talkies, recording devices and notes from the agents.166 Because the identity of the agents was exposed as a result of the attacks, their presence on campus became the subject of national attention. The armed forces commander-in-chief eventually conceded that he had ordered the agents onto the campuses, claiming that such interference with campus affairs was justified by the militarys need to keep an eye out for parties that were instigating students.167
· On many campuses, students in the Student Regiment (Resimen Mahasiswa or Menwa, who are supervised through the rectors office by the regional army commander) also acted as informers, collecting evidence and making lists of participants at rallies.168
Although most of the students and faculty interviewed by Human Rights Watch reported that the presence of informers and intelligence agents on campus had little effect within the classroom, this was not the case on campuses with embattled ethnic minorities. Baltasar Kehi, a Ph.D. graduate of Columbia University, reported that when he began work as a professor at Atma Jaya Catholic University
in Jakarta in 1994 fellow professors warned him not to criticize the government or speak about human rights and democracy because there were student informers in the classroom. Although Dr. Kehi says he ignored this advice, he stated that his students themselves, most of whom were ethnic Chinese Indonesians, were very wary of discussing political subjects in the classroom, and told him outside of class of their fear that other students could be informers.169 At Cenderawasih University in Irian Jaya (the western half of the island of New Guinea, incorporated into Indonesia in 1969), a heavily militarized province in which there have been ongoing skirmishes between government troops and ethnic separatists, the effects were far more damaging. As one Irianese student, who wished to remain anonymous,explained: Students are suspicious of each other. You never know who might be intel. Even among students from the interior, we speak about injustices only in hushed tones.170
Because of the standing prohibition on student political activity, set forth in the NKK/BKK decrees described above, and the broad power of the military to regulate public affairs, students exercise of basic rights often depended on what military authorities were willing to tolerate. The tolerance of military authorities in turn depended on splits between the military leadership and Soeharto, and splits within the military itself. As noted in chapter 3 above, one of the reasons often given for the reemergence of student protest in the late 1980s was a growing rift between the armed forces leadership and Soeharto, some armed forces commanders apparently viewing the student protests as a way of sending a signal to Soeharto that his position was not unassailable. In some cities, moreover, military authorities sought out student activists and even encouraged protests.171
When military commanders determined that protests were inappropriate, however, they had considerable means at their disposal to intervene to stop the protests. One technique was the use of paramilitary thugs, including at times members of Menwa172 and, more commonly, members of an organization called Pancasila Youth (Pemuda Pancasila), which had branches throughout the country and was active in staging counter-demonstrations and at times physical attacks on prominent critics of the government.173 Another means used to intimidate protesters was to detain a limited number of protesters overnight for questioning and then release them without charge the next morning.174 When large rallies were scheduled, military authorities frequently positioned large contingents of security forces just outside the gates of the campus. In 1998, the clearest example of the militarys arbitrary restriction of students basic rights was the militarys announcement of a nationwide ban on public marches by students. As described above, the massing of troops at campus gates to enforce the ban became the target of student anger, leading to a series of tense confrontations, a significant number of which ended in violent clashes between students and security forces.
Among the most notorious abuses of the armed forces under Soeharto was the use of excessive and at times lethal force against unarmed civilians. In late April 1996, students at a number of universities in Ujung Pandang, the largest city on the island of Sulawesi, organized a series of rallies to protest an increase in transportation fares. Initial demonstrations on April 22 and 23 were peaceful, although demonstrations grew in size and riot police were out in force. On April 24, the first violence took place, with students overturning several minibuses. Security forces then began striking out at students and lecturers alike. In the late afternoon, three armored personnel carriers entered the campus of the Indonesian Muslim University (Universitas Muslim Indonesia or UMI) and troops stormed the demonstrators. In the ensuing melee, more than one hundred students were injured and at least three students were killed, including Syaiful, an architecture student, Andi Sultan Iskandar, an accounting student, and Tasrif, a student of development studies. The body of Andi Sultan Iskandar had a bruised chest, an open wound behind the left ear, and blood was coming from his nose and mouth. Tasrifs had been stabbed, his face was swollen and dark blue, apparently because of beatings with the butt of a rifle. All of the bodies were found in the nearby Pampang River. The armed forces claimed that the students had drowned after jumping in a nearby river to escape the melee.175
Andi M. Patongai, the father of Andi Sultan Iskandar, one of the victims, contradicted the governments claim:
Dont try to say [my son] drowned. If someone drowns, what are the signs? The stomach is swollen, water comes out. But my childs stomach wasnt swollen. Blood was coming out. There were stab wounds [bekas sangkur] on his neck. He was wounded all over, beaten all over... I believe my child died before his body was discarded [in the river].... That evening I took photos. But until now, they have not been developed. No one is brave enough. All of the photo shops areafraid.... [My child] could swim. But if one is [beaten and then] discarded, how can he swim?176
Mr. Patongai blamed the army hunters:
If ABRI had not entered the campus, this would never have happened. My child was studying on the second floor [of the main campus building].... [On the day he was killed], I had told him not to go to the campus because there had been demonstrations [the day before]. But he said, I have an exam. That night, he didnt show up. We looked for him, but I was forbidden from entering the campus by the security forces. [The campus was] already emptied out. That Thursday, his younger sibling found him at the offices of Fajar [a daily newspaper].... You dont know the feelings of a father whose child has left him. If my child had died naturally, I could understand. But this is not natural. Where do I go to complain? Who do I blame? I only ask one thing. A little justice!.... If ABRI had not entered the campus, my child would not be dead.... Who ordered the armored personnel carriers (panser) on campus?177
In 1998, the record of the security forces in policing rallies was mixed. On the one hand, literally hundreds of protests involving a thousand or more angry students took place between mid-March and mid-May, and, in many cases, security forces refrained from responding with unnecessary violence. In many other cases, however, after using nonlethal means such as water cannons and tear gas to disperse the crowds, scores or hundreds of security forces charged the students, indiscriminately beating demonstrators and bystanders alike with police batons.178 One example of the indiscriminate use of force was described by Jakarta-based writer Seno Gumira Ajidarma, whose son, Timor Angin, was seriously wounded in a clash in Yogyakarta on April 3. According to Seno, Timor Angin, nineteen years old and a student at an art academy in Yogyakarta, was at the time staying at his grandparents home in Bulaksumur, a residential neighborhood located just across from the entrance to the Gadja Mada University campus.179 Timor Angin had gone to watch the protest and was caught unprepared when security forces stormed the protesters. He was apprehended, beaten repeatedly and dragged by his heels across a long stretch of pavement, suffering serious head and facial injuries along the way. Timor Angin was hospitalized for eight days at a local hospital after the clash.
On two occasions in May 1998, security forces used lethal force. On May 8, Mozes Gatotkaca, a forty-year-old graduate of the Yogyakarta Industrial Academy, suffered a cracked skull and was pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital after having been beaten during a police charge on a demonstration outside the Sanata Dharma University in Yogyakarta. On May 12, four students were shot dead when security forces opened fire on demonstrators at Trisakti University in Jakarta.
During the Soeharto era, student activists also were subjected to torture. As prior reports have documented, students undergoing interrogation were beaten, slapped, burned with cigarettes, submerged in water, and given electric shocks to the genitals.180 During the 1998 protest movement, there were a number of reports of torture. According to a report by the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation(Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia or YLBHI), students detained after a clash at the University of Lampung on March 19 were interrogated without the benefit of lawyers or due process, families of the detainees were not notified of the arrests, and five students were tortured at the time of arrest and during interrogations.181 According to an Indonesian press account, five street artists and one shoe-shine man who had participated in a rally at Gadja Mada University were arrested after the rally and held by police (Polisi Resor Kota Yogyakarta) for eight days.182 Upon release, one of the detainees, Ferdinandus Suhardono, reported that the six had been beaten repeatedly during interrogations, two of them so badly that they required stitches upon release. Suhardono said that police were trying to force the men to confess that students had paid them to attend the demonstration, even though all had attended on their own volition. He said that he and the other detainees were eventually released to a social services agency for supervision.183
One of the most significant developments in 1998 was the forced disappearance of some two dozen activists and organizers, about half of whom were students. After repeated denials by military authorities of any knowledge of or involvement in the disappearances, armed forced Commander-in-Chief Wiranto said on June 30 that he had received evidence that military personnel had been involved in at least some of the abductions.184 Pius Lustrilanang and Desmond Junaidi Mahesa, two of the first activists to be released, were sufficiently traumatized by their experience to keep silent for more than a week after their release. Both Pius and Desmond subsequently gave detailed accounts of their abductions and what they had endured, including torture with electric shocks, during their ordeals.185 At the time this report was prepared, the whereabouts of twelve of the activists remained unknown.186
165 See Letda Dadang Tewas Akibat Penyakit Jantung, Kompas Online, June 3, 1998 (noting that a retired police officer working as an intelligence agent died of a heart attack during an assault by angry students). See also description of April 4 demonstration at Gadja Mada University, Appendix D.
166 See Soal Unjuk Rasa Mahasiswa, Semua Pihak Perlu Menahan Diri, Kompas Online, May 13, 1998; Kerusuhan Kian Marak, Intel Diadili Massa, SiaR, May 8, 1998. See also description of April 4 demonstration at Gadja Mada University, Appendix D.
168 See, for example, Human Rights Watch/Asia, Criminal Charges for Political Caricatures, p. 1. In an interview with Human Rights Watch, Gadja Mada University faculty member Mochtar Masoed explained that the role of Menwa depended a great deal on the attitude of the rector, noting that on some campuses, particularly in smaller cities, the student regiments could be more militaristic than the military. Human Rights Watch interview, Yogyakarta, September 23, 1997.
173 See Political Gangsters, Inside Indonesia, no. 53, January-March 1998; Political Thugs, Inside Indonesia, Digest No. 13, May 30, 1996; Human Rights Watch/Asia, Tough International Response, p. 7.
175 For a description of the incident, see Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia, Human Rights Report 1996 (Civil and Political Rights) (Jakarta: Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia, 1997), pp. 15-16.
176 Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia, 1996: Tahun Kekerasan, Potret Pelangggaran HAM di Indonesia (Jakarta: Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia, 1997), pp. 43-44 (quoting an interview originally published in Suara Independen, no. 10/II, May 1996).
180 See Human Rights Watch/Asia, Injustice, Persecution, Eviction, pp. 10-12; Human Rights Watch/Asia, Tough International Response, p. 7; Amnesty International, The PRD Prisoners: A Summary of Amnesty Internationals Concerns, October 1997, AI Index 21/56/97, pp. 6-7 (on-line version); Amnesty International, Indonesia: Hendrik Dikson Sirait, aged 24, student activist, Urgent Action Alert, August 16, 1996, AI Index ASA 21/61/96.