Impunity: Military prosecutor demands sentence of 2 years for the killing of two indigenous Papuans in Timika

A second military trial against two of the four suspects of the extra-judicial execution of Mr Eden Bebari and Mr Ronny Wandik in the Mimika Regency in April 2020 is currently taking place at the Military Oditur III-13 Denpasar (see photos, source: PAHAM Papua). The trial against the other two perpetrators ended in July 2023 with a guilty verdict and sentences of six and seven years. The defendants in the second trial, Sergeant Vicente De Oliviara and Private Bahari Muhrim, both members of the Yonif Raider 900/SBW Unit, face charges related to murder and the use of violence resulting in death. Despite the severity of the crime, the Military Prosecutor requested a two-year sentence and dismissal from the Army during the court session on 29 August 2023. The trial is one of many examples highlighting a lack of accountability within the military justice system. The verdict will be delivered on 5 September 2023.

The Papuan Association of Human Rights Advocates (PAHAM Papua) highlights the discrepancies in the two separate trials against different perpetrators of the same crime. While the prosecutor demanded sentences of ten and nine years imprisonment for the defendants Wijaya and Sugi in the trial in Manado, the accused soldiers De Oliviara and Muhrim are facing two years imprisonment demanded by the prosecutor in the trial in Denpasar. In that first trial, Lieutenant Inf Gabriel Bowie Wijaya was sentenced to seven years, and Private Sugi Harnoto received a six-year sentence. Both were found guilty of their involvement in the killing of Mr Eden Bebari and Mr Ronny Wandik. The verdict was delivered by Military Court III-17 in the city of Manado, North Sulawesi, on 6 July 2023. PAHAM Papua appreciated the verdict but still criticised its leniency compared to the prosecutor’s demands.

Human rights organisations are concerned that the military prosecution tries to protect the accused defendants from legal consequences instead of executing its role as a law enforcement agency by promoting justice and fighting the widespread impunity in the country. PAHAM Papua, the legal representative of the victims’ families, had expressed concerns because both defendants in the second trial had not been detained before the trial. The relatives urged the judge to impose the maximum sentence on the defendants. They seek a just resolution through fair sentencing and a transparent legal process freely accessible to the community.

Court session at the Military Oditur III-13 Denpasar on 29 August 2023

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