Military trial in Mutilation Case launched in Jayapura without informing relatives

A military trial (trial number 404-K/PM.III-19/AD/XII/2022) against five members of the Brigif R20/IJK/3 Timika Military Command, namely Captain Dominggus Kainama, Private Rahmat Amin Sese, Private Risky Oktav Muliawan, Private Robertus Putra Clinsman, and Private Pargo Rumbouw, has been launched at the III-19 Military Court in Jayapura (see photo, source: Jubi) on 12 December 2022. They are accused of killing four indigenous Papuans in the town of Timika on 22 August 2022. The victims had agreed to buy two firearms from the perpetrators. Subsequently, the perpetrators dismembered the bodies, wrapped the remains in plastic sacks, and disposed them in a nearby river. Another military member holding the rank of a major, Mr Helmanto Fransiskus Dakhi, is tried in a separate trial in Surabaya, Java Timur Province. The police also arrested four civilian suspects in relation to the crime. It is yet unclear when the public trial against the civilian suspects will begin.

Earlier, military representatives had declared that the law enforcement process would be fully transparent to the victims and the public. However, the relatives of the four victims were reportedly only informed about the trial a few days prior to its beginning. Human rights lawyer Mr Gustaf Kawer, who is providing legal support to the victims’ families, criticized the military for the lack of transparency. Mr Kawer expressed concerns that the trial was moved to Jayapura to impede relatives and witnesses from attending the trial. Previously, the relatives had called upon the military authorities to hold the trial in Timika, where the incident occurred, and the victims’ relatives live. The demand was echoed by the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM).

The five defendants have been charged with articles 340 and 338 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) on premeditated murder, carrying a minimum penalty of 15 years imprisonment. The maximum penalty is the death penalty.  

Trial process

As of 22 December 2022, two court hearings have taken place. The trial was opened on 12 December 2022, with the reading of the indictment. Apart from the main charges, the military prosecutor mentioned eight other charges related to robbery, arson, and the mutilation of the bodies to destroy evidence. The defendants’ lawyer refrained from filing an exception against the indictment.

The court session continued with the examination of witnesses. The first witness to be examined was Major Helmanto Fransiskus Dakhi. He confessed that he had participated in the planning of the ambush. However, he stated that he was not present at the sight of the crime as the weapon transaction and the killings took place. The five defendants confirmed his testimony.

The trial was continued on 14 December 2022 with the examination of Mr Andre Pudjianto Lee (alias Jack), Mr Dul Umam, Mr Rafles Lakasa and Mr Roy Marthen Howai. All are civilian suspects and will be held accountable in a separate civil trial process.

Mr Andre Pudjianto Lee and Mr Dul Umam both testified that they were neither involved in the planning nor the killing of the four victims. Their statements were denied by the five defendants, saying that both men were involved in the planning of the crime, the killing, and the disappearance of the bodies. The judges raised doubts regarding the truthfulness of Mr Lee’s and Mr Umam’s testimonies because both strongly differed from the criminal procedure report.

One of the key witnesses in this trial, Mr Roy Marthen Howai, incriminated the five defendants, saying that all of them were present as the murder and the subsequent mutilation of bodies occurred. He added that the crime was masterminded by Mr Andre Pudjianto Lee. Mr Howai allegedly attended only the last out of three planning meetings. During the meeting at Mr Andre Pudjianto Lee’s storage on 20 August 2022, he was told to call the four victims and arrange a meeting for the weapon transaction on 22 August 2022.

Mr Howai testified that Private Rizky Oktaf Muliawan and himself met with the victims to carry out the transaction while the other defendants and suspects hid in the bushes. Mr Howai confessed that he stabbed one victim who was trying to escape, while Private Robertus Putra Clinsman and Captain Dominggus Kainama shot dead the other three victims. Thereupon, Mr Roy Howai went back home with the money that he found in the victims´car.

At 1.30 am, he was reportedly picked up at his house by the other suspects. The group drove to Logpond to dismember and disappear the bodies. Mr Howei declared that the victims’ bodies were already beheaded and hidden in the car’s trunk when they arrived at Logpond. Mr Andre Pudjianto Lee told Mr Howay and Private Rahmat Amin Sese to dismember the bodies, while Mr Dul Umam helped to put the body parts into plastic sacks, said Mr Howay. The following day, the perpetrators allegedly met again at Mr Andre Pudjianto Lee’s workshop to distribute the money.

The four defendants denied Mr Marthen Howai’s testimony, saying that only one victim was killed during the transaction while the other three were still alive. Private Pargo Rumbouw declared that all four victims were still alive when the perpetrators left the transaction site. According to the defendants, the perpetrators brought the three victims to Logpond where they were killed and mutilated.

On 24 December 2022, the defendant, Captain Dominggus Kainama, reportedly passed away during detention. According to information by the spokes person of the XVII/Cenderawasih militrary command, Colonel Herman Taryaman, Captain Kainama died as a result of a heart attack. He was still admitted to the Dian Harapan Hospital in Jayapura.

The next court hearing was scheduled for 10 January 2022