Military tribunal sentence army member to ten years for killing civilian

A military tribunal in Manokwari (see photo, source: Jubi) found Staff Seargeant AFTJ, a member of the XVIII/Kasuari Military Command (Kodam), guilty of killing 16-year-old Rafael Ivan Balaweling. The extra-judicial killing occurred during a wedding ceremony in the Prafi District of Manokwari Regency, Papua Barat Province, on 4 June 2022. The panel of judges, consisting of military members, sentenced Seargeant AFTJ to ten years imprisonment with the recommendation to dishonourably dismiss the perpetrator from military service.

The trial also revealed negligent behavior among the perpetrator’s superior, who had failed to inventory all the weapons distributed among his personnel. The license of the murder weapon had already expired in 2021. Nevertheless, Staff Seargeant AFTJ was not urged to return the gun. It is unclear how the finding will be followed up.

Human rights organisations have often criticised the Indonesian military justice system for its lack of independence and transparency. In many cases, the sentences applied by military tribunals have been considered too lenient, failing to restore justice for the victims and their relatives. It is beyond the control of civilian law enforcement institutions and observers whether the perpetrators serve their sentences. Moreover, military trials commonly ignore the right to restitution of victims and their relatives.

Case details: