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INDONESIA: Police indiscriminately shoot civilians in Nabire

8 May 2014

INDONESIA: Police indiscriminately shoot civilians in Nabire, injuring three Papuans

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the indiscriminate shootings against civilians in Moanemani, Nabire, Papua by officers of Moanemani Sub-District Police. Three civilians were injured in the incident and their condition remains critical.

CASE NARRATIVE:
According to the information the Asian Human Rights Commission has received from an activist of KINGMI (Gospel Tabernacle Church) Papua, a group of civilians visited the headquarters of the Mobile Brigade of Moanemani Sub-District Police at 10 a.m. on 6 May 2014. They demanded the police to hand over a truck driver who was responsible for a traffic accident in which two villagers were killed earlier in the morning of the same day. The truck driver went into hiding at the police station for his safety.

As the police refused to hand over the truck driver to them, a group of civilians – amongst them were families of the traffic accident victims – started throwing stones on the police station. The police responded to the attack by opening fire at the civilians, which resulted in the injury of three of them. Yulius Anouw (27) was shot in his chest; Gayus Auwe (32) was shot in his abdomen and right thigh, whereas Anton Edoway (28) was shot on his left thigh. A reverend who was present during the shootings recalled that it was not only ‘one or two shots’ but more like rain of bullets.

The three injured victims were taken to Nabire Public Hospital for medical treatment. According to the latest information received by the AHRC, Yulius Anouw and Anton Edowai have undergone surgery but are still unconscious. Gayus Auwe is still receiving medical treatment at the public hospital but has not undergone surgery yet.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
The shootings have been confirmed by the Chief of Papua Regional Police, Tito Karnavian. To the Jakarta Globe, Karnavian claimed that the shooting was inevitable “because the mob had started to get out of control”. The Chief of Police also claimed that his officers had previously released warning shots before shooting at the civilians, but this version of story was refuted by the witnesses.

Under international law, the use of lethal weapons by law enforcement officials is subjected to the strict tests of necessity and proportionality. The proportionality test requires law enforcement officials, such as the police, to only use lethal weapons if it is required to protect life. The necessity test, in the other hand, requires the officials to only use lethal weapons when there is no other means – such as capture or nonlethal incapacitation – of preventing such threat to life (Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, A/HRC/14/124, 20 May 2010, para. 32)

Provisions regarding the lethal use of firearms can be found, among others, in Article 9 of the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials. In the same UN document, the government is also mandated to establish effective reporting and review procedures for the use of lethal weapons by law enforcement officials. Such establishment is yet to exist in Indonesia, which means the police claim on the necessity and proportionality of their use of lethal weapons cannot be challenged by anybody.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write to the listed authorities below, asking them to ensure that an effective and impartial investigation on this case to take place. Please also use this opportunity to call for the establishment of an independent mechanism to review the use of lethal weapons by the police in Indonesia.

The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, asking for his intervention on this matter.

To support this appeal, please click here.

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear .....................,

INDONESIA: Police indiscriminately shoot civilians in Nabire, injuring three Papuans

Name of victims: Yulius Anouw (27), Gayus Auwe (32), and Anton Edowai (28)
Names of alleged perpetrators: Unidentified officers of Mobile Brigade of Moanemani Sub-District Police
Date of incident: 6 May 2014
Place of incident: Moanemani, Nabire, West Papua

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the indiscriminate shootings against civilians by the officers of Mobile Brigade of Moanemani Sub-District Police in Nabire, West Papua. I have been informed that the shootings have resulted in the injury of three civilians: Yulius Anouw, Gayus Auwe, and Anton Edowai – all of them are currently in critical condition at Nabire Public Hospital.

According to the information I have received, a group of civilians visited the headquarters of Mobile Brigade of Moanemani Sub-District Police in the morning of 6 May 2014. Among the civilians were Yulius Anouw, Gayus Auwe, and Anton Edowai. The purpose of their visit is to demand the police to hand a truck driver responsible for a traffic accident took place earlier on the same day. Following the accident which killed two men, the truck driver went into hiding to Moanemani Sub-District Police for his safety.

The police dismissed the group of civilians’ request to hand the truck driver, which triggered the latter’s anger. The civilians started throwing stones at the police station, expressing their frustration. The police responded by indiscriminately firing at the civilians, which resulted in the injury of three of them. Yulius Anouw was shot on his chest; Gayus Auwe was shot on his abdomen and right thigh; whereas Anton Edoway was shot on his left thigh. A reverend who was present during the shootings recalled that it was not only ‘one or two shoots’ but more like rain of bullets.

I am aware that the Chief of Papua Regional Police, Tito Karnavian, has confirmed the event to the media, although it is worth mentioning that his version of story is quite different from the witnesses’. To The Jakarta Globe, Karnavian claimed that his officers had released warning shots before eventually opened fire on the civilians.

Whereas I am not justifying the stoning attack against the police station by the civilians, I wish to emphasise that the indiscriminate shootings on civilians in this case violated the international human rights standards. Under international law, the use of lethal weapons by law enforcement officials can be justified only if it meets the tests of proportionality and necessity. The proportionality test requires law enforcement officials, such as the police, to only use lethal weapons if it is required to protect life. The necessity test, in the other hand, requires the officials to only use lethal weapons when there is no other means – such as capture or nonlethal incapacitation – of preventing such threat to life.

I am strongly of the view that the tests of proportionality and necessity are met in this case, that the indiscriminate shootings at stake can be justified. Whereas the stones attack may damage the police station, it unlikely would threat the life of the officers inside it. I also believe that there are more lenient measures the police could have taken in dealing with the angry civilians. The police could have, for instance, used tear gas to disperse the crowd.

I am, therefore, calling for an effective and impartial investigation on this case. The police officers who are responsible for the shootings should be tried and punished criminally as well as adequately by a civilian court, and not merely by an internal disciplinary mechanism. I would like to use this opportunity to also call for the establishment of effective reporting and review procedures for the use of lethal weapons by law enforcement officials, as required by the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials. As of today, such mechanism is yet to exist in Indonesia.

I look forward for your positive and swift actions on this matter.

Sincerely yours,

----------------
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
President of the Republic of Indonesia
Jl. Veteran No. 16
Jakarta Pusat
INDONESIA
Tel: +62 21 3458 595
Fax: +62 21 3483 4759

2. Ms. Harkristuti Harkrisnowo
General Director of Human Rights
Ministry of Law and Human Rights
Jl. HR Rasuna Said Kav. 6–7
Kuningan, Jakarta 12940
INDONESIA
Tel: +62 21 525 3006, 525 3889
Fax: +62 21 525 3095

3. Gen. Sutarman
Chief of the Indonesian National Police
Jl. Trunojoyo No. 3
Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta Selatan 12110
INDONESIA
Tel: +62 21 384 8537, 726 0306
Fax: +62 21 720 7277
E-mail: info@polri.go.id

4. Mr. Tito Karnavian
Chief of Papua Regional Police
Jl. Samratulangi No. 8 Jayapura
INDONESIA
Tel: +62 967 531014
Fax: +62 967 533763

5. Mr. Djoko Suyanto
Chairperson of National Police Commission
Jl. Tirtayasa VII No. 20
Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta Selatan
INDONESIA
Tel: +62 21 739 2317
Fax: +62 21 739 2317
E-mail: secretariat@kompolnas.go.id, skm@kompolnas.go.id

6. Mr. Hafid Abbas
Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission
Jl. Latuharhary No. 4-B
Jakarta 10310
INDONESIA
Tel: +62 21 392 5227-30
Fax: +62 21 392 5227
E-mail: info@komnas.go.id


Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

Send an appeal letter

Visit our new website with more features at www.humanrights.asia.

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ENDS

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