Trial update ‘Mutilation Case’: Major Dakhi sentenced to life imprisonment, other trials continue

On 24 January 2023, the panel of judges found Major (Inf) Helmanto Fransiskus Dakhi guilty and sentenced him to lifelong imprisonment. The victims’ relatives appreciated the verdict. Meanwhile, two trials against the civilian defendants Mr Roy Marten Howay, as well as Mr Andre Pudjianto Lee alias Jack, Mr Dul Umam, and Mr Rafles Lakasa have begun in Timika, Mimika Regency. The trial against the other four military members at Military Court III-19 in Jayapura is still ongoing. Private Rahmat Amin Sese is held accountable in a separate trial at the military court for alleged violation of Emergency Law No 12/1951. One of the defendants affiliated with the military, Captain Dominggus Kainama, reportedly passed away during detention on 24 December 2022.  

Verdict against Major Helmanto Fransiskus Dakhi

The relatives and human rights observers expressed disappointment after the military prosecutor demanded four years imprisonment for the defendant Major. Major Dakhi is the highest-ranking army member among the ten defendants consisting of four civilians and six army members. Despite the low sentence demanded by the military prosecutor, the panel of judges found Major Dakhi guilty of premeditated murder and sentenced him to lifelong imprisonment. The victims’ relatives declared they accepted the verdict.  

Human rights observers declared that the sentence re-established justice for the relatives and the Papuan people. Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), Mrs Atnike Nova Sigiro, declared that the life sentence provides a sense of justice for the victims’ families. According to Mrs Sigiro, the verdict showed a development in the justice field in Indonesia, as the decision illustrated a certain level of objectivity and appeared to be based on facts.

Trials against four civilian defendants in Timika

Two trials against the civilian defendants Mr Roy Marten Howay (Trial number: 8/Pid.B/2023/PN Kota Timika), as well as Mr Andre Pudjianto Lee alias Jack, Mr Dul Umam, and Mr Rafles Lakasa (7/Pid.B/2023/PN Kota Timika), were launched at the Timika District Court on 26 January 2023. So far, the four civilian defendants have only testified as witnesses at the military tribunals. Human rights observers expressed concerns regarding the transparency and professionality of the trials. In contrast to the trials at the military court in Jayapura, the victims’ relatives were not allowed to take pictures or record the trial process. The courtroom was reportedly too small. Some relatives could not witness the trial inside but had to wait outside the courtroom.

In the first primary charge, the public prosecutor charged Mr Roy Marten Howay with Article 340 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) on premeditated murder. The article carries a maximum penalty of death. In the first count of the subsidiary indictment, the public prosecutor charged him with murder followed, accompanied, or preceded by a punishable act as regulated under Article 339 KUHP. More subsidiary charges were the deliberate killing of a person as stipulated in Article 338 KUHP, and more subsidiary the criminal offense of jointly committing theft with violence resulting in the death of another person regulated under Article 365 KUHP.

In the second count of the indictment, Mr Howay was charged with committing a crime that endangered public security as stipulated in Article 187 (1)KUHP. The other three defendants were charged with Article 340 on premeditated murder (primary), Article 339 on murder followed, accompanied, or preceded by a punishable act (subsidiary), and Article 338 on deliberately killing a person (more subsidiary).

Both trials will continue on 2 February 2023 with different trial agendas.

Trial against four military members in Jayapura

The trial against the Brigif R20/IJK/3 Timika Military Command members Private Rahmat Amin Sese, Private Risky Oktav Muliawan, Private Robertus Putra Clinsman, and Private Pargo Rumbouw (see photo, source: Jubi) was already launched on 12 December 2022 and will proceed on 6 February 2023. The military prosecutor will demand sentences for the four soldiers. The victims’ relatives declared that the judges should establish justice by imposing the highest possible sentence against the four defendants.

Trial against Private Rahmat Amin Sese

Private Rahmat Sese is one of the four military members held accountable for the murder and subsequent mutilation of four indigenous Papuans from the Nduga Regency. In contrast to the other defendants, he has also been charged with Article 1(1) of Emergency Law No 12/1951 on the illegal possession, distribution, and use of firearms. The reading of the indictment on 19 January 2022 was postponed. The following court session on 30 January 2023 continued with the examination of an expert on firearms.