Task Force fails to resolve Novel Baswedan’s case

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Novel Baswedan. (photo: Syahrullah)

IO, Jakarta – The Anti-corruption Civil Coalition, comprised of the Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW), the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Komisi untuk Orang Hilang dan Korban Tindak Kekerasan – “KontraS”), the Legal Assistance Agency (Lembaga Bantuan Hukum – “LBH”) of Jakarta, the Indonesian Legal Assistance Foundation (Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia – “YLBHI”), Amnesty International, and Change.org, concludes that the Task Force established by Chief of Police Tito Karnavian to resolve the attack against Novel has miserably failed to discharge their duties.

On 8 January 2019, Chief of Police Tito Karnavian established a Task Force to resolve the attack against Novel Baswedan. The Team was formed according to Decree Number Sgas/ 3/I/HUK.6.6/2019. It has 65 members, mostly dominated by elements of the Police. The deadline for its work is 7 July 2019 or six months after its establishment. However, up until the deadline, the Team has failed to name any actor responsible for the irreparable damage caused to the left eye of the unfortunate Corruption Eradication Commission (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi – “KPK”) investigator. “The people have been pessimistic about this Team’s sincerity since its creation,” said ICW Researcher Wana Alamsyah in a written statement on Sunday (07/07/2019).

The Anti-corruption Civil Coalition concludes that the following factors cause the failure of the Task Force: First, 53 of its members are elements from the Police, while there was a suspicion that the Police themselves were involved in the attack against Novel. In other words, it is vulnerable to a conflict of interest. Therefore, the people at the time requested the establishment of an Independent team reporting directly to President Joko Widodo. “Unfortunately, the President seems to have shirked his responsibility as the highest person in command. This is contrary to one of his political promises to eradicate corruption, by strengthening KPK,” Wana pointed out.

Second, the process of the Team’s investigation was very slack, and looked as if it were performed as a mere formality. This is obvious from the fact that the Team asked the same questions repetitively to Novel Baswedan in the latest interview on 20 June 2019. Furthermore, the result of the Team’s travel to Malang for so-called “investigation purposes” was never revealed to the public. It is only natural that the Team’s seriousness and accountability should be questioned, as since its formation there is no information about any suspect for the attack. In the context of time taken for resolving a case, the Police once captured the perpetrator of a murder case in Pulomas within a mere 19 hours since the victim was held. On the other hand, they have spent two years investigating Novel’s case but there are no results. This would naturally give rise to a suspicion of the involvement of police elites in the attack.

Third, there is no transparency in the handling of the acid splash attack against Novel Baswedan. According to ICW records, there were 91 cases with 115 victims against KPK commissioners from 1996-2019. The last case occurred to two KPK investigators who were threatened with bombs.

Unfortunately, our Government is evasive about its responsibility to protect its citizens who actually participate in the eradication of corruption. This, despite the President having signed Government Regulation Number 43 of 2018 concerning Procedures for Executing the People’s Participation and Awarding in the Prevention and Eradication of Corruption Crime. Based on these issues, the Anti-corruption Civil Coalition urged the Government to perform two things: “First, the President must immediately form an independent Joint Fact-finding Team in order to show that he supports the eradication of corruption. Second, the Task Force must submit their report to the public as a form of transparency and to acknowledge their accountability,” said KontraS Coordinator Yati Andriani, also Novel Baswedan’s legal counsel.  (dsy)