Minister seconds team to investigate shooting in Intan Jaya – Papuan civil society rejects team

The coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Human Rights, Mahfud MD, has formed a fact-finding team (Tim Gabungan Pencari Fakta or TGPF) to investigate the death of a military member and a Papuan pastor in the regency of Intan Jaya. The fact-finding mission consists of 30 members, comprising of government officials, religious and public figures from Papua, as well as police and state intelligence members. Members of the national human rights commission (Komnas HAM), the institution which holds the legal mandate to investigate and process human rights violations, were not appointed to the team. Mahfud MD announced that the team was given two weeks to investigate and compile a report on the incident. In response, the Papuan Governor, Lukas Enembe, announced that he would also establish a humanitarian aid team to deal with the situation in Intan Jaya. Multiple stakeholders in West Papua, including church representatives, NGOs and government officials, reject the TGPF. On 9 October 2020, a member of the TGPF and a military officer were shot down after an investigation in the Hitadipa District, Intan Jaya Regency.

Papuan civil society reacted with distrust to the formation of the team. The Association of Human Rights Lawyers for Papua (PAHAM Papua) and other NGOs consider that Komnas HAM should investigate the case through the establishment of an investigation commission (KPP HAM). The Director of PAHAM Papua, Gustaf Kawer, criticised that the formation of the TGPF was not transparent and outside the legal framework for the settlement of human rights violations under exclusion of local human rights groups, Komnas HAM and the victims.

Many stakeholders in West Papua believe that the team is just another state initiative to whitewash the government’s human rights record for the international community without bringing any new insights into the case or prosecuting the perpetrators. In 2016, the Indonesian government established a similar team under the supervision of the former Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister, Luhut Pandjaitan. The team was supposed to settle twelve cases of human rights violations in West Papua but did not bring any progress to the settlement of the cases. Still, the formation of the team was mentioned among the state efforts to resolve human rights violations in West Papua during Indonesia’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the United Nations Human Rights Council in May 2017.

On 9 October 2020, a member of the TGPF and a military officer were shot down as TPN PB fighters attacked their car convoy in the Mamba village of Intan Jaya regency. The team was on its way back from the Hitadipa district where the TGPF members were investigating the site where Rev. Zanambani was killed. Bambang Purwoko, a lecturer of the Gajamadah University in Yogyakarta sustained a bullet injury on the left leg, while a military member named Zainudin was shot in the waist. Both injured victims were hospitalised at the Sugapa General Hospital.