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New police chief faces pressing issues of terror, human rights

New police chief faces pressing issues of terror, human rights

Candidate of the new Indonesian Police Chief Com.Gen.Listyo Sigit Prabowo (second right) after a a fit-and-proper test at the House's Commission III, in Jakarta on Thursday (Jan 21, 2021). ANTARA PHOTO/Galih Pradipta/foc.

Indonesia will soon have a new police chief with the House of Representatives (DPR) approving Com.Gen.Listyo Sigit Prabowo as the successor to General Idham Azis, who retires on February 1, 2021.

Prabowo, who was nominated by President Joko Widodo as Azis' successor, underwent a fit-and-proper test at the House's Commission III, which oversees legal affairs, on Wednesday (January 20, 2021).

After his inauguration, Prabowo will be mandated to resolve several crucial matters that Indonesia is facing as a nation.

At the time of his inauguration on November 1, 2019, General Idham Azis had been urged by the Indonesian public to immediately solve the acid attack case on Novel Baswedan.

Idham Azis, who had replaced General Tito Karnavian, had managed to uncover the acid attack on the senior investigator of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), which took place on April 11, 2017.

The two perpetrators, Rahmat Kadir and Ronny Bugis, were brought to court, and the North Jakarta District Court's panel of judges read out their verdict on July 16, 2020.

Rahmat Kadir was sentenced to two years in jail, while Ronny Bugis received a one-and-a-half year prison sentence after they were found guilty of attacking Novel Baswedan.

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Idham Azis was successful in resolving the Novel Baswedan case, but security threats posed by armed Papuan groups in the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua continuously posed a challenge during his 15-month-long term.

The armed Papuan criminals' latest act of terror occurred on January 6, 2021. On that day, about 10 armed Papuans set ablaze a Quest Kodiak aircraft belonging to Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) at the Pagamba village airstrip, Intan Jaya, Papua province.

The torching of the civilian aircraft, bearing the registration number PK-MAX, has been considered brutal on account of the fact that MAF planes have been conducting their noble mission for Papuan communities for decades.

The act of terror, which is believed to have been carried out by the Sabinus Waker-led group, is among the several violent acts carried out by armed Papuan groups against civilians and security personnel over the past years.

Thus, issues closely related to law and order and security disturbances in Papua and West Papua will be one of the crucial ones Com.Gen.Listyo Sigit Prabowo will need to tackle.

Without undermining any other significant problems such as drug and cyber crimes, the second important matter that he will need to resolve soon after taking over the mantle as the police chief is the recent shooting of six Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) members.

Investigators from the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) have concluded their probe into the fatal shooting.

The commission's investigators, headed by Choirul Anam, publicly announced the results of their investigation at a press conference in Jakarta on January 8, 2021.

Anam did not only present the investigation’s results, but also issued several recommendations that are expected to be followed up by the related law enforcement agency.

Komnas HAM, for instance, has recommended a transparent trial at a criminal court on the shooting, which took place on December 7, 2020, since the deaths of four FPI members have been categorized as human rights violations.

Anam contended that the shooting of the four FPI members has been deemed a human rights violation since the on-duty police officers allegedly gunned them down without making any effort to prevent further fatalities.

Hence, Anam said there is reason to believe the shooting case cannot be handled internally, and instead, needs to be resolved through a law enforcement mechanism at a criminal court.

The commission has reported that 18 gunshot wounds were found on the bodies of the FPI members -- Muhammad Reza (20), Muhammad Suci Khadavi (21), Faiz Ahmad Syukur (22), Lutfi Hakim (25), Ahmad Sofiyan (26), and Andi Oktiawan (33).

The families of the six slain FPI members have demanded justice and a transparent and fair trial to bring those responsible for the killings to justice.

It is worth noting that the fatal shooting has drawn public and media attention in Indonesia and abroad. The victims' advocacy team has even filed a report with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Netherlands.

Republika has quoted Munarman, a member of the victims' advocacy team, as saying that the report on the six slain FPI members has been filed at the Hague-based international criminal court on January 16, 2021.

Apart from whether the report will be received or rejected by the ICC, the shooting case needs to be resolved through a transparent and fair trial in order that a sense of justice can prevail.

In this regard, the national police, under the strong leadership of new police chief, Com.Gen.Listyo Sigit Prabowo, will be tested on its ability to promote the public's common sense of justice.

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