"Questioning the Appointment of Ex-Mawar Team Members to Strategic Positions in the TNI and the Ministry of Defense"

Imparsial Live Press
No.001/Siaran-Pers/IMP/I/2021

The Commander of the Indonesian Armed Forces, General Andika Perkasa, has made another mutation in the Indonesian National Ground Army (TNI AD). This time, the Commander-in-Chief appointed Major General Untung Budiharto, a former member of the Mawar Team, to be the Commander in Chief of Jaya to replace Major General Mulyo Aji. The appointment of a former member of the Mawar Team who was once involved in carrying out the enforced disappearances (kidnapping) of pro-democracy activists has certainly disturbed the sense of justice in the community, especially the victims and their families of abductees, who even now (23 years old) have not returned and whose fate is unknown. The case of enforced disappearances (kidnapping) that occurred around 1997-1998 became one of the black records of human rights issues involving the military.

Major General Untung is a former member of the Mawar Team from the Special Forces Command unit (Kopassus) Group IV TNI AD which was formed by Major Bambang Kristiono in July 1997. The Mawar team, which consisted of 10 people, carried out the enforced disappearance (kidnapping) of several pro-pro-active activists. democracy before the fall of Suharto's military regime. All members of the Mawar Team were then tried at the Second Military High Court in April 1999 and found guilty of carrying out enforced disappearances with different sentences. Major General Untung himself was sentenced to 20 months in prison and fired from the TNI.

However, the Mahmilti II decision was revised on appeal in 2000 and stated Untung was sentenced to 2 years and 6 months in prison without dismissal. Likewise, several other former members of the Mawar Team, the dismissal decision made by the High Military Court II was later annulled at the appeal level, so that some of them currently occupy strategic positions in the TNI and in the Ministry of Defense under the leadership of Prabowo Subianto. In fact, the military trial which was held for former members of the Mawar Team has become a means of impunity for perpetrators of enforced disappearances (kidnapping).

The appointment of Major General Untung as Pangdam Jaya and other former members of Team Mawar who filled other positions at the Ministry of Defense shows that respect for human rights has not been considered important in the development of the TNI, including related to promotions, careers and the placement and filling of strategic positions in the TNI. When strategic positions in the TNI and the Ministry of Defense are occupied by people who have a bad record in the context of human rights, this is of course a major obstacle for the TNI and the Ministry of Defense itself to respect human rights principles.

The TNI commander should listen to public input and use various public records and human rights institutions such as the National Human Rights Commission to examine the track record of its members to occupy certain strategic positions or positions. One important aspect that needs to be considered is ensuring that the TNI soldiers are not linked to cases of gross human rights violations. Moreover, the appointment of Major General Untung and other former members of the Mawar Team in strategic positions in the TNI and the Ministry of Defense is also a form of betrayal of the 1998 Reformation movement. The freedom (democracy) enjoyed by all elements of the Indonesian nation today is the fruit of the struggle of those who became victims like being kidnapped and even some have not returned since the past.

Based on the foregoing, Imparsial urges:

  1. President Joko Widodo to review all decisions on the appointment of former members of the Mawar Team in strategic positions/positions both in the TNI and at the Ministry of Defense. In addition, the president also needs to immediately resolve cases of past gross human rights violations through an ad-hoc human rights court mechanism.
  2. TNI Commander General Andika Perkasa to evaluate and not place soldiers who have a bad record in cases of gross human rights violations, especially former members of the Mawar Team, in strategic positions/positions in the TNI or in institutions that allow active TNI soldiers to be occupied.

Jakarta, January 7th, 2022

Gufron Mabruri
Director

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