INDONESIA: Police defy court order to pay compensation to shooting victim

According to the PBHI, Iwan (28) was shot on 20 January 2006. On that afternoon, Iwan and his friend were cooking in a hut when law enforcement agent Novrizal, who was in civilian clothes, came and asked both Iwan and his friend to come out of the hut. Novrizal had previously received a report claiming that Iwan was responsible for vandalising a palm plantation. As Iwan was coming out of the hut, Novrizal shot him in the torso from behind. (Picture: Iwan was shot by the police that he is permanently paralysed. The police have been failing to provide him with compensation, ignoring the courts’ orders. Courtesy of AHRC/Monicha Lelly Awang)
Financial constraint forced Iwan’s family to accept a peace settlement with Novrizal. One of the agreed clauses in the agreement was that Iwan’s medical expenses will be paid by Novrizal until Iwan is fully recovered. However, after only 21 days of being hospitalised, Iwan was discharged from M. Jamil Padang Hospital while the bullet still remained in his body. Iwan has been staying at home and his injury has been left untreated since then. His medical report states that the bullet wound resulted in him being permanently paralysed.
According to Iwan’s lawyer, Sahnan Sahuri Siregar, the PBHI brought the case to the attention of the local government who agreed to bear the cost of temporary medical treatment for Iwan. The PBHI also brought the case to the National Commission on Human Rights and, upon the Commission’s recommendation, the perpetrator was prosecuted. Novrizal was found guilty of Article 354 (1) of the Penal Code on aggravated assault and sentenced to 1 year and 6 months of imprisonment by West Pasaman District Court. Although there are indications that the shooting was intentional, the court ruled that such act was merely an accident.
Unsatisfied with the judgment of the criminal court, Iwan and the PBHI submitted a civil lawsuit against Kinali Sub-District Police – represented by its Chief – and Novrizal. In 2011, the Supreme Court delivered the final judgment of the case, reaffirming the previous rulings delivered by West Pasaman District Court in 2008 and West Sumatra High Court in 2010. In all these rulings, Kinali Sub-District Police and Novrizal were ordered to provide Iwan with IDR 300,000,000 (approximately USD 30,000) compensation.
Indah Suryani Azmi of the PBHI reported that Iwan’s family has requested West Pasaman District Court to enforce the judgments on 13 September 2012. Responding to the request, the court resent the order to Kinali Sub-District Police four more times (the latest one on 21 January 2014) asking them to comply with the judgment and to pay compensation to Iwan. The police, however, have refused to give a positive response and treat the courts’ rulings on Iwan’s case as unenforceable. To the national media TEMPO, the Chief of the Indonesian National Police General Sutarman said that the police do not have the budget to provide compensation to the victim of wrongdoings perpetrated by its rogue officers.
Under Indonesian law, victims of human rights violations may pursue two legal venues if they wish to obtain compensation. The first mechanism is under Law No. 13 Year 2006 on Witnesses and Victims Protection and the other one is by submitting a civil lawsuit against the perpetrators. The civil lawsuit is typically submitted on articles 1365-1367 of the Civil Code which are approximately equivalent to tort provisions in common law countries.
Article 50 of Law No. 48 Year 2009 on the Judiciary establishes that the execution of court’s judgment in civil cases is the responsibility of the head of the district court. In the circumstance where the losing party fails to comply with the judgment, the court may auction his or her property. However, according to article 50 of Law No. 1 Year 2004 on State’s Treasury, such auction cannot be performed on the state’s properties. This article was reviewed in 2008 by the Constitutional Court. The court, however, did not find such article to be contrary to the constitution.
Indonesia has the obligation to ensure that the right of victims to redress is effective, as guaranteed by Article 2 (3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 2 (3) point c of the Covenant is relevant in this case, as it obliges Indonesia as a state party ‘to ensure that the competent authorities shall enforce such remedies when granted.’ Indonesia is also obliged to take measures to abolish specific obstacles that impede the enjoyment of the right to redress. Among such specific obstacles is ‘the failure of a State party to execute judgements providing reparative measures for a victim of a torture’, as pointed out by the UN Committee against Torture in its General Comment No. 3.