Each human rights violation is a crime that should be punished. The perpetrators are those who commit these violations, often on the basis of their powerful position in society. Unfair trials are often carried out by the law-enforcement officers like police officers and prosecutors. Each country should have independent bodies that have the power and the courage to speak out about human rights violations. Other violations of human rights are often also perpetrated by those in power, with the aim to remain in power. Not being punished for these abuses is part of that power play. That is what impunity is about.
So the state is responsible to protect its citizens from human rights violations as well as from impunity. If a government fails in dealing with these violations in a fair and justified way, the state is responsible for those cases of impunity. This key-role of the government makes it the more difficult to hold the state accountable. Sometimes other states call for better law-enforcement by political diplomacy. Often human rights organisations and human rights activists exert pressure on the government to improve the application of the justice system. Sometimes those human rights activists are being threatened. The murder of the Indonesian human rights activist Munir in 2004 is still being felt by his colleagues.
Munir Said Thalib (Munir for short) was an outspoken human rights activist when he was murdered. In September 2004 he was on his way to The Netherlands for study purposes. One of the perpetrators was a pilot of the Garuda Company, and he was sent to trial and convicted. The person who organized it was acquitted. But the suspected "dalang" (puppetteer) has never even been questioned. Human rights activists keep on pressurizing the Indonesian government.
Activists press AGO to resolve Munir case - The Jakarta Post 13-04-2011
Ten activists under the Sahabat Munir [friends of Munir] movement strolled into the Attorney General's Office building, Tuesday, to demand that the murder case of Munir be taken seriously. The gruop of activists from various human rights organization protested in front of the building before being received by Junior Attorney for Specific Crime (Jampidsus) Amari. Acoording to Choirul Anam, one of the activits from the human right working group, Sahabat Munir voiced two demands to Amari.
The first is a clarification on the progress of the case of Munir. "When will the case review of Muchdi PR take place?" he said, referring to a former state intelligence agency deputy chief who was charged with masterminding the murder of Munir. The high court has denied prosecutor's appeal on the trial of Muchdi. Sahabat Munir now urge the AGO to do its utmost to earn a case review.
The second demand is concerns the punishment of Rohainil Aini. The flight operator support officer who is also an actor in the murder case, has been sentenced to jail for her part in the murder. "We know for a fact that she is not in prison," Anam said.
Dorus Wakum, an activist who also heads the Anti-Corruption Papuan Society Alliance Community (KAMPAK), also vioced his concerns. "It was murder, not a heart failure or stroke," he said of the death of Munir, who served as an advocate of 'bloody Wasior and Wamena', a human rights case in 2003. Wakum said that unless the Munir case is resolved, human right violation will always be swept under the rug. "The credibilty of the AGO is at stake here," he said.
11 Years after Munir’s murder - Kompas, 08-09-2015
The Government should more thoroughly investigate the murder of human rights defender Munir Said Thalib. The legal procedure that has been carried out is considered not yet to have reached the mastermind of the murder. Commemorating 11 years after the murder of the activist a number of activists, gathered in the KASUM (Komite Aksi Solidaritas untuk Munir) showed a Black Umbrella Convoy. Last Tuesday the demonstration, started from the Office of the Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) to the Office of the Administrative Court of Jakarta, also opposed the conditional release of the murderer of Munir.
Dozens of activists carried the black umbrellas in front of the Administrative Court of Jakarta. The demonstrated for the appeal procedure in opposition against the conditional release of Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto who was convicted of carrying out the murder
Bernard Agapa (25), an activist from Paniai, Papua, graduate from Universitas Kristen Indonesia (UKI), said he did not know Munir directly, but people around him are active until this very day for the fate of the Papua communities and the human rights situation in Papua.
From Banda Aceh, a number of human rights activists, working for KONTRAS Aceh, asked the government to take up the case again. Coordinator Hendra Saputra said that the matter is urgent. "It is a signal the perpetrators and the people who oppose human rights. If the government does not take a firm stand we are afraid that such cases can be repeated in the future," he said.
Munir has, together with others, pleaded for investigating a number of cases of violence in Aceh, such as the death of Tengku Bantaqiah in Kecamatan Beutong, Nagan Raya, in 1999. The name of Munir has been immortalized in the religious school of Tengku Bantaqiah.
The Programme Director of Imparsial, Al Araf said that Munir is often seen as a person opposed to the army. According to Al Araf Munir forcefully fought for the wellbeing of the soldiers as laid down in the Law on the army, UU TNI. The Director of LBH Jakarta, Alghiffari Aqsa said that the measure of (former) President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to establish a Factfinding team (tim pencari fakta, TPF) should be continued by President Joko Widodo.
Human right activist Munir died on board a Garuda flight to Amsterdam in 2004 from arsenic poisoning. The pilot, Pollycarpus Budihari Prijanto, was conditionally released on 7 December 2014. The organizer, Muchdi PR was the deputy head of the intelligence agency BIN (Badan Intelijen Negara). He was acquitted. His superior, the head of BIN was general Hendropriyono, who refused to be questioned. See for more information the event page Murder of Munir.