Aceh at War: Torture, Ill-Treatment, and Unfair Trials

[1] Human Rights Watch interview with 16-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.All names of Acehnese detainees have been changed to protect their security.

[2] Human Rights Watch interview with foreign embassy official, Jakarta, March 31, 2004.

[3] In this report the term prisoner refers to individuals convicted of a crime.The term detainee refers to individuals in detention who have not been convicted.

[4]"Kopassus slams Iraq prisoner abuse," Associated Press, May 18, 2004.
[5]"U.S. has no authority to assess RI's rights record: Govt," Antara, May 21, 2004.

[6] Wartawan RCTI Ada di Markas GAM," Tempo, July 3, 2003; "Aceh rebels claim to hold missing RCTI crew and two civilians," Agence-France Presse, July 3, 2003.

[7] "Freed hostages of Aceh rebels were civilians: Indonesian military," Agence France Presse, May 19, 2004.

[8] Human Rights Watch interview with Matthew Daley, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East-Asian and Pacific Affairs,Washington D.C, February 23, 2004.

[9] See Human Rights Watch, "Aceh Under Martial Law: Problems Faced by Acehnese Refugees in Malaysia," A Human Rights Watch Report, Vol. 16, No. 5 (C), April 2004; Human Rights Watch, "Aceh Under Martial Law: Inside the Secret War," A Human Rights Watch Report, Vol. 15, No. 10 (C) December 2003; Human Rights Watch, "Aceh Under Martial Law: Muzzling the Messengers. Attacks and Restrictions on the Media," A Human Rights Watch Report, Vol. 15, No. 9 (C), November 2003; Human Rights Watch, "Aceh Under Martial Law: Can these men be trusted to prosecute this war?" A Human Rights Watch Briefing Paper, October 2003; Human Rights Watch, "Aceh Under Martial Law: Unnecessary and Dangerous Restrictions on International Humanitarian Access," A Human Rights Watch Briefing Paper, September 2003; Human Rights Watch, "Aceh Under Martial Law: Human Rights Under Fire," A Human Rights Watch Briefing Paper, June 20, 2003.

[10] In July 2004, the Jakarta Post reported that 750 women had so far received psychological counseling for trauma experienced during the current conflict in Aceh. "85 more Aceh women get counseling," The Jakarta Post, July 17, 2004.The Indonesian news magazine, Tempo, reported that half of Aceh's 4.2 million people were suffering from some form of mental depression, reported in"How prolonged conflict has affected the mental health of the people," Radio Singapore International, March 5, 2004. See also, "Acehnese traumatized by conflict," The Jakarta Post, August 5, 2003.

[11] "Violations rampant during martial law: Rights body," The Jakarta Post, May 24, 2004.

[12] Human Rights Watch email communication with Jonny Sinaga, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Indonesia to the United Nations, New York, July 23, 2004.

[13] Human Rights Watch email communication with Suhardjono Sastromihardjo and Made Mastra, Political Section, Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, Washington, D.C, July 28, 2004.

[14]"Govt Troops Have Killed Almost 2,000 Rebels A Year Into Aceh Offensive," Agence France Presse, May 5, 2004. 

[15] "Over 230 Aceh rebels killed in two months: Military," Agence France Presse, July 21, 2004.

[16]"Indonesia Army Kills 400 Alleged Aceh Rebels Since May 19," Associated Press, July 16. 2004.

[17] "Indonesia: OCHA Humanitarian Update," U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Indonesia, June 30, 2004.

[18] Human Rights Watch interview with 22-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[19]Until there is full access to Aceh, it will be impossible to know the extent of the physical or psychological abuse of detainees that has taken place since the start of military operations in May 2003.

[20]KUHP (Kitab Undang-Undang Hukum Pidana, Indonesian Criminal Code), article 421.

[21] Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or

Punishment, G.A. res. 39/46, [annex, 39 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 51) at 197, U.N. Doc. A/39/51

(1984)], entered into force June 26, 1987, article 15. Indonesia ratified the Convention against Torture in 1998.See alsoICCPR, article 14(3)(g) (anyone charged with a criminal offense may "[n]ot be compelled to testify against himself or to confess guilt.")

[22] Human Rights Watch interview with 32-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[23] Human Rights Watch interview with 21-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[24] Human Rights Watch interview with 21-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[25] Human Rights Watch interview with 53-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[26]Indonesia became a party to the Geneva Conventions in 1958. Also applicable is the Second Additional Protocol of 1977 to the Geneva Conventions (Protocol II). Although Indonesia is not a party to Protocol II, many if not all of its provisions reflect customary international law.

[27] While Indonesia is not a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and some other important human rights treaties, the fundamental rights found within are recognized as part of customary international law.

[28] Human Rights Watch interview with 53-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[29] Human Rights Watch interview with 16-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[30] Human Rights Watch interview with 16-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[31] Human Rights Watch interview with 30-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[32] Human Rights Watch interview with 42-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[33] "Conclusions and Recommendations of the Committee Against Torture: Indonesia," CAT/C/XXVII/ Concl.3, Committee Against Torture, 27th session, November 12-23, 2001.

[34]"Conclusions and Recommendations of the Committee Against Torture: Indonesia," CAT/C/XXVII/ Concl.3, Committee Against Torture, 27th session, November 12-23, 2001. A full list of the Committee's recommendations can be found in Appendix 1 at the end of this report.

[35] Human Rights Watch interview with 18-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[36] Human Rights Watch interview with 30-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004

[37] Human Rights Watch interview with 34-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[38] Human Rights Watch interview with 37-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[39] Human Rights Watch interview with 37-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[40] Human Rights Watch interview with 22-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[41] Human Rights Watch interview with 45-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[42]Human Rights Watch interview with 36-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[43] Human Rights Watch interview with 23-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[44] Human Rights Watch interview with 21-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[45] Human Rights Watch interview with foreign embassy official, Jakarta, March 31, 2004.

[46]"Aceh rebel faces treason charges in Indonesia," Deutsche Presse-Agentur, July 21, 2003.

[47] "Law enforcement in Aceh not working," Kompas, March 27, 2004.

[48] The only organization to have been banned in Indonesia is the Indonesian Communist Party, which was banned in 1966 by a decree of the Provisional People's Consultative Assembly (Decree XXV/MPRS/1966).

[49] KUHP, Articles 106-108.

[50] Information provided by DepKeh-Ham (Departemen Kehakiman dan Hak Asasi Manusia, Department for Justice and Human Rights).

[51]Legal evidence materials are defined under KUHAP article184 as, "a) the testimony of a witness; b) information of an expert; c) a letter; d) an indication; e) the statement of a defendant," These are further explained in subsequent articles, Article 184, Chapter XVI, KUHAP.

[52] Article 53 is a general article related to an "attempt" to commit a crime.This requires evidence that there was an intention to commit a crime and that the person undertook an act towards that goal, even if the act was not completed.

[53] Report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on its visit to Indonesia (January 31 February 12, 1999), E/CN.4/2000/4/add.2, August 12, 1999.

[54] Human Rights Watch interview with defense lawyer from Aceh, Medan, May 7, 2004.

[55]Law No. 23/1959 covers both a state of military and civil emergency and states, "Martial Law authority is entitled to arrest and detain people for 20 days at most, but the arrest must be reported to the martial law authority within 14 days; Within 10 x 24 hours, the detainee must be investigated, the result of which must be reported to the martial law authority. The investigations must result in a dossier (BAP); If in 20 days the investigation is not completed and if detention is still required, the said person can be detained up to 50 days by the central authority of martial law; All arrests and detentions must be made with an arrest warrant," Article 32, Law No. 23, 1959 on States of Emergency.

[56] KUHAP, Article 18.

[57] Human Rights Watch interview with Indonesian lawyer from Aceh, Medan, May 7, 2004.

[58] Human Rights Watch interview with 30-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[59] Human Rights Watch interview with 22-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[60] Human Rights Watch interview with 30-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[61]If arrests and detentions are conducted beyond what is regulated in the 1959 law, Article 1 of Chapter X in the Criminal Code applies, and the military authority can be brought to court, "A court of first instance has the authority to examine and decide, inline with the provisions contained in this law: a) whether or not an arrest, detention, termination of an examination or prosecution is valid," Article 77a, Chapter X, KUHAP; Luhut M.P Pangaribuan, Lawyer, Jakarta, "Aceh Martial Law authority not unaccountable," The Jakarta Post, June 23, 2003.

[62] Human Rights Watch interview with defense lawyer from Aceh, Medan, April 7, 2004. Human Rights Watch has also documented cases of men being taken from villages and then not being seen again. Disappearances are common in Aceh. See Human Rights Watch "Aceh Under Martial Law: Inside the Secret War," Human Rights Watch Report, Vol. 15, No. 10 (C) December 2003.

[63] Human Rights Committee, General Comment 20, paragraph 1.

[64] HRC, Concluding Observations: Georgia, UN Doc CCPR/C/79/Add.74, April 9, 1997, para. 28; Basic Principles on the Roles of Lawyers, principle 7 [CHECK]

[65] See Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, principle 6; Human Rights Committee, Vasilskis v. Uruguay (80/1980); Estrella v. Uruguay (74/1980).

[66] This is contrary to international legal standards, which require that all criminal suspects who do not have means to pay be afforded free legal counsel. See e.g. ICCPR, article 14(3)(d); Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons Under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, principle 17(2); Basic Principles on the Roles of Lawyers, principle 6. Principle 3 of the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers states: "Governments shall ensure the provision of sufficient funding and other resources for legal services to the poor and , as necessary, to other disadvantaged persons."

[67]"Article 54: In the interest of defense, a suspect or defendant has the right to get legal assistance from one or more legal advisors during the period and at every level of examination, according to the procedure determined by this law; Article 55: In order to get the legal advisor as mentioned in article 54, a suspect or defendant has the right to choose his own legal advisor; Article 56: (1) In case a suspect or defendant is suspected of or charged with having committed a criminal act which is liable to a death sentence or a prison term of fifteen years or more or for those who are not capable who are liable to a prison term of five years or more while they have no legal advisors of their own, the official concerned at all levels of examination in the trial process is obliged to appoint a legal advisor for them; (2) Every legal advisor who is appointed to act as intended in section (1), shall give his assistance free of charge," Chapter VI, KUHAP.

[68] Human Rights Watch interview with Indonesian NGO worker, Jakarta, May 11, 2004.

[69] Human Rights Watch interview with 40-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[70] Human Rights Watch interview with 31-year-old- prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[71] Human Rights Watch interview with 46-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[72]"Amnesti Tidak Akan Diberi Sambil Perang," Kompas, July 17, 2004;Fabiola Desy Unidjaja, "GAM members deprived of right to lawyers," The Jakarta Post, July 17, 2003.

[73] See generally, ICCPR, article 14,

[74] Human Rights Watch interview with Indonesian NGO Worker, Jakarta, May 11, 2004.

[75] Human Rights Watch interview with 34-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[76] Human Rights Watch interview with 34-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[77] Human Rights Watch interview with defense lawyer from Aceh, Medan, May 7, 2004.

[78] Human Rights Watch interview with 30-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004

[79] Human Rights Watch interview with 22-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[80] Human Rights Watch interview with 29-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[81] Human Rights Watch interview with 28-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[82] Human Rights Watch interview with 37-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[83] Human Rights Watch interview with 26-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[84] Human Rights Watch interview with 28-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[85] Human Rights Watch interview with 18-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[86]Human Rights Watch interview with 42-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[87] Human Rights Watch interview with defense lawyer from Aceh, Medan, May 7, 2004.

[88] Human Rights Watch interview with human rights defender from Aceh, Medan, May 7, 2004.

[89] Human Rights Watch interview with 42-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[90] Human Rights Watch interview with 31-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[91] Human Rights Watch interview with 45-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[92] Human Rights Watch interview with 23-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[93] Protocol I of 1977 to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, article 37.

[94]Nani Farida, "GAM negotiators, activist get long sentences," The Jakarta Post, October 22, 2003.

[95] Press Release, The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HDC), Geneva, October 21, 2003.

[96] Human Rights Watch interview with 23-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[97] It is estimated that many prisoners starved to death on the island, unable to produce enough food to live on from the dry and unfertile land.

[98] Nani Farida, "Surrendered GAM rebels express fears over their safety," The Jakarta Post, July 4, 2003.

[99] "Indonesia cancels plans to hold rebels in island prison," Agence France Presse, July 23, 2004.

[100] Nurdin Hasan, "First group of former Aceh rebels leaves re-education program," Agence France Presse, January 18, 2004.

[101] Nani Farida, "More GAM members to receive re-education course," The Jakarta Post, April 12, 2004; "School for change," Tempo Magazine, August 26, 2004 September 1, 2004.

[102] Nani Farida, "438 ex-rebels go home after 're-education'," The Jakarta Post, January 19, 2004.

[103]"Indonesia to release 660 Aceh rebels after 're-education'," Agence France Presse, May 9, 2004; Govt. frees 221 former separatists and supporters in Aceh," Agence France Presse, July 6, 2004.

[104] Human Rights Watch interview with foreign Ambassador to Indonesia, Jakarta, April 15, 2004.

[105]Syaiful Amin and Zainal Bakr, "Napi GAM kloter kedua tiba di Jawa Tengah," Tempointeraktif, January 25, 2004; "Aceh rebels to be jailed in Java," The Jakarta Post, January 20, 2004; "Indonesia Moves 54 Aceh Rebel Prisoners To Java Jails," Associated Press, January 22, 2004.

[106] Human Rights Watch email communication with representative from UNICEF, Indonesia, July 27, 2004.

[107] Slamet Susanto and Teuku Agam Muzakir, "Another 89 GAM prisoners exiled to Javanese jails," The Jakarta Post, January 26, 2004.

[108] "The transfer of Acehnese prisoners to Java," Press Release, State of Acheh, Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, January 26, 2004.

[109] "Aceh rebels to be jailed in Java," The Jakarta Post, January 20, 2004.

[110] "The transfer of Acehnese prisoners to Java," Press Release, State of Acheh, Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, January 26, 2004; "Slamet Susanto and Teuku Agam Muzakir, "Another 89 GAM prisoners exiled to Javanese jails," The Jakarta Post, January 26, 2004.

[111] Human Rights Watch interview with defense lawyer from Aceh, Medan, May 7, 2004.

[112] Human Rights Watch interview with 22-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[113] Human Rights Watch interview with 29-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[114] Human Rights Watch interview with 28-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[115] "More GAM prisoners to be moved," The Jakarta Post, July 1, 2004.

[116] U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners , Rule 44(3)

[117] Human Rights Watch interview with 28-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[118] Most prisons in Aceh allow regular family visits to detainees and prisoners.

[119] Human Rights Watch interview with 20-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[120] Human Rights Watch interview with 37-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[121] Human Rights Watch interview with 18-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[122] Human Rights Watch interview with 21-year-old prisoner from Aceh, prison in Central Java, 2004.

[123] U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, Rule 37

[124] "Conclusions and Recommendations of the Committee Against Torture: Indonesia," CAT/C/XXVII/ Concl.3, Committee Against Torture, 27th session, November 12-23, 2001.

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