An Indonesian human rights court on Friday indicted a retired Indonesian army officer for his role in a 2014 massacre in Papua, Human Rights Watch said. Retired Major Isak Sattu is charged with crimes against humanity for the 2014 killing of five teenage protesters and wounding 17 others in Papua, Indonesia.
The Indonesian Court of Human Rights is a little-used specialized court established in 2000 to hear cases involving “gross violations of human rights”, such as genocide and crimes against humanity. Sattu is accused of crimes against humanity and of violating his “command responsibility” by failing to prevent his men from arming themselves. Sattu himself would not have fired on the demonstrators.
On December 7, 2014, a fight broke out between elementary school students decorating a Christmas tree and the Indonesian Army’s 753 Battalion. The battalion molested children as young as 12 years old. The next day, 800 protesters gathered outside a local police station and a military command post to demand an explanation for the attack. Apparently, “[t]Police ordered protesters to disperse, then beat them with truncheons and sticks when they refused to comply. Eventually, security forces began firing live ammunition at protesters. On December 28, 2014, President Joko Widodo promised a full investigation into the case.
Violence between Papuan and Indonesian military forces has increased dramatically since the West Papua National Liberation Army issued a declaration of war against Indonesia in 2018. The history of violence between the Indonesian government and indigenous Papuans goes back much further and is probably much more extensive. as currently understood; Since 1967, Indonesia has essentially denied human rights monitors and foreign journalists entry to Papua. Earlier this month, six Indonesian soldiers were arrested for killing and maiming indigenous Papuans.