13 July 2010

Police Promise Arrests, Not Justice...

In a closed-door meeting between police and a delegation of human rights and anti-corruption activists, the police have promised to make arrests in the beating of Tama Satrya Langkun. This promise should be taken with a grain of salt, or taken for what it means in reality.

An arrest is not the same as justice. If you doubt that, then take a look at the assassination of Munir in 2004. Until today, arrests have been made, prosecutions undertaken and convictions recorded, but it is debatable as to whether justice has been done. I would argue that justice has not been done.

Similarly, in this case, even if the police were to make arrests this week in line with their promise, this is not an iron-clad guarantee of justice being served. According to Usman Hamid, the former head of Kontras, the Chief of Police, Bambang Hendarso Danuri, asked that the activists be patient as these sorts of investigations take time. This is understatement in the extreme. Once again, the Munir case highlights just how much time the police might want to take in this investigation.

Nevertheless, the police have plenty on their plate at the moment thanks to the work of Langkun and the reporting of Tempo Magazine. The police are supposed to be releasing details this week of an internal investigation into allegations that senior police officers have substantial amounts banked in their personal accounts that are seemingly not able to be justified based on their known sources of income and assets.

I guess if one gives the police the benefit of the doubt, then they have until the end of the week to come up with some arrests. The question as to whether this leads to justice being done remains to be seen.

Photo courtesy of Antara via The Jakarta Globe.

4 comments:

H. Nizam said...

Rob,
You are right that arrests does not always mean that that there will be justice.

Rob Baiton said...

@ Harry...

I think that most people understand this. However, the police do not give Indonesians the credit they deserve with respect to "smarts". The police seem to act on the belief that if they say the "right" things then the people will be fooled.

Too bad for the police that the Indonesian people are smarter than that!

umihoney said...

In some cases the one convicted in this sort of case involving the police dept. will be the 'small fish'.. wouldn't an independent commission be more appropriate to take on this sort of investigation.

Rob Baiton said...

@ Umihoney...

An independent investigator would have made sense in this case. It would have made sense because there is an obvious conflict of interest in the allegation that the police were involved in the beating and then the very same police being tasked with completing the investigation.

Isn't it always the way that the big fish get away and the small fish fry?