The Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Desk of the Papuan Tabernacle Church (JPIC Kingmi Papua) have documented a further case of police violence in the Paniai Regency. Police officers shot down an indigenous Papuan in the Bapouda Village, Paniai Timur District, on 15 April 2022. The victim, 17 year-old Petrus Tebai, was injured as a police officer released multiple shots at him. Two bullets reportedly hit Petruis Terbai the waist. Mr Tebai was admitted to the public hospital in Madi, where he continues to receive medical treatment.
According to information received, Petrus Tebai came to Bapouda village to use the internet café there. Police officers reportedly saw Petrus Tebai near the internet café and immediately opened fire at him without asking clarifying questions or making an effort to arrest him with minimal use of force. Shortly before the incidents, the owners of the internet café had reported a theft to the local police. It is alleged that the police mistook Petrus Tabai as the perpetrator of the theft. However, Mr Tebay denies any involvement in the theft.
Human rights defenders and the victim called upon the police to immediately initiate an effective investigation into the non-procedural use of force during the incident. They demand that the perpetrator should be held accountable in a public trial. The Papuan Regional Police (Polda Papua) has not yet commented on the incident.
The non-procedural use of excessive force and firearms by law enforcement personnel and the military in West Papua is rampant. The case patterns mirror the racial discrimination towards indigenous Papuans in the Indonesian law enforcement apparatus and the military. The vast majority of victims of torture and ill-treatment between 2017 and 2021 were indigenous Papuans. The annual statistic figures for this period vary between 89% and 100%.
The widespread use of torture and ill-treatment is closely linked to the impunity granted to perpetrators in the police and the military. This situation is aggravated by the lack of a legal definition of torture in the current Criminal Code (KUHP) in accordance with the International Convention against (CAT) Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which Indonesia already ratified in 1998.
Security force members in West Papua tend to use firearms, not in line with international standards. According to the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, “law enforcement officials, in carrying out their duty, shall, as far as possible, apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force and firearms. They may use force and firearms only if other means remain ineffective or without any promise of achieving the intended result.” (General Provisions, No. 4)
General Provisions elaborate: “Whenever the lawful use of force and firearms is unavoidable, law enforcement officials shall:
(a) Exercise restraint in such use and act in proportion to the seriousness of the offence and the legitimate objective to be achieved;
(b) Minimize damage and injury, and respect and preserve human life;
(c) Ensure that assistance and medical aid are rendered to any injured or affected persons at the earliest possible moment;” (General Provisions, No. 5)
“Law enforcement officials shall not use firearms against persons except in self-defence or defence of others against the imminent threat of death or serious injury, to prevent the perpetration of a particularly serious crime involving grave threat to life, to arrest a person presenting such a danger and resisting their authority, or to prevent his or her escape, and only when less extreme means are insufficient to achieve these objectives. In any event, intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life;” (Special Provisions, No 9)
Detailed Case Data
name of the location: Bapouda Village, Paniai Timur administrative region: Indonesia, Papua Province, Paniai Regency, Paniai Timur District
total number of victims: 1
period of incident: 15.04.2022
perpetrator details: unknown police officers
Sources: JPIC Kingmi Papua
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