01 January 2009

Justice or Injustice?


The murder, and just about everyone agrees that it was a murder, of Munir Said Thalib or more simply Munir, has seen a tortuous pursuit of justice that seems to have been thwarted yet again with the acquittal of the most recent defendant in the case, Muchdi Purwopranjono.

I am looking forward to getting a copy of the judgment and reading for myself the legal reasoning of the judges in dismissing the charges and ordering Purwopranjono's immediate release. The statement that "Muchdi Purwopranjono cannot be proved legally and convincingly to have ordered the murder of Munir," as stated by Soeharto J. (no relation to the former dictator) hardly seems to be sufficient.

The investigators, prosecutors, and courts have failed to convict anyone for ordering the killing and have in the the years since the murder in 2004, on a flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam, have managed to convict a couple of people for being part of a conspiracy. Interestingly, those convicted (Indra Setiawan, former Head of Garuda, and pilot Pollycarpus Priyanto) of being part of the conspiracy have fingered Purwoprajono as being the person to have ordered the killing.

Purwopranjono had motive, revenge. Purwopranjono had been appointed to head up the Kopassus unit (Indonesian Special Forces), but held the appointment only briefly. He was removed from the appointment after Munir alleged that Purwopranjono had been instrumental in the kidnapping and subsequent disappearances of activists.

This did not hinder Purwopranjono's ability to get himself appointed to the Deputy Head position of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN). It is alleged that it is from this position that Purwopranjono orchestrated the assassination of Muir.

In essence, this decision means that as of today no-one has been held accountable for the ordering of the murder and orchestrating the conspiracy. Therefore, it is reasonable to hold the belief that there are still significant problems with the pursuit of justice in Indonesia. It seems that some people are more equal before the law than others and in some cases these people are not even accountable to the law.

It is sad all round, but perhaps it is most sad for Munir's widow, Suciwati, and his children. Who have lost a husband and a father to the murderous excesses of the state without seeing any hint of justice.

I remain the eternal optimist and hence remain confident that one day the people responsible will be held accountable for this assassination. If not, then there is always a belief that "what goes around, comes around". Furthermore, I firmly believe that "bad karma" will revisit those who perpetrate evil when they least expect it.

11 comments:

schmerly said...

Rob...

I think it will be a good few years yet before Indonesia has any sort of clean and proper justice.

Rob Baiton said...

Schmerly...

Clean and proper justice across the board I would agree. The Indonesia judiciary does have its moments though and there are some good decisions in amongst the bad.

In the big scheme of things this decision should not have been unexpected. That does not mean that it is not disappointing.

However, when the little fish fry and the big fish get away this tends to open up the doors for the conspiracy theorists. For example, if Purwopranjono had gone down who would he have rolled on so that he did not go down alone.

This assassination is more than a pilot looking to mix with the big boys and the second in command at BIN. Hopefully, one day we will know the truth.

tikno said...

I believe the truth will emerge one day.

Rob Baiton said...

Tikno...

Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment.

Yes, I hope that one day the truth does emerge. If it does not then I hope that the bad karma returns to haunt those responsible!

tikno said...

Yes, according to Buddhist or Hindu, and I myself.

Rob Baiton said...

And when this karma does come, I hope it is a truly enlightening experience for them.

oigal said...

Go Karma..

Rob Baiton said...

Stump...

Indeed.

tikno said...

Talking about justice, I like to know your opinion to my latest post "Veto VS Democracy". It's very interesting because I see you from law background.

Rob Baiton said...

Tikno...

I am reading it now and will make a comment or two once I have finished...

tikno said...

Thank you very much.