INVESTIGATION INTO THEYS' MURDER IN PAPUA DRAWS SKEPTICISM

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By Tiarma Siboro

JAKARTA, Indonesia (January 31, 2002 - Jakarta Post/Kabar-Irian)---The Papuan people's hope for a thorough investigation into the apparent murder of pro-independence Papua Presidium Council (PDP) Chairman Dortheys "Theys" Hiyo Eluay may have been dashed as the government decided to include the military (TNI) and police in the proposed investigation team.

Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Wednesday that President Megawati Sukarnoputri would issue immediately a decree on the proposed establishment of the independent commission that would include both the TNI and the police.

He said the inclusion of the TNI and the National Police in the commission was to "accommodate the team's requirement should they encounter problems in dealing with the military and police during the investigation."

Besides officials from the military and the police, the investigating commission would also have prominent Papuan members, including religious leaders and several human rights activists from the National Commission of Human Rights (Komnas HAM) in Jakarta and Papua.

Susilo, however, declined to reveal the names of the commission members, saying that he was awaiting approval of the President before exposing it to the national and foreign press and the people.

Susilo made the statement only weeks after the government said that both the police and military would be included in the commission.

Both Papuan officials and religious figures have called on the government not to include the military and the police but to appoint independent and credible professionals to carry out the investigation. They are of the opinion that it would be impossible to conduct a fair and objective investigation should the military and the police be included in the commission.

A group of Papuan religious leaders also proposed a number of independent professional activists to carry out the investigation.

The establishment of an independent commission was proposed after numerous teams from numerous institutions, including the Irian Jaya police, failed to fully identify Theys' murderers.

Theys was found dead in his car in Koya Tengah Village near the provincial capital of Jayapura -- which is close to the border with Papua New Guinea -- on Nov. 10, 2001, a day after he and his driver, Aristoteles Masoka, were kidnapped by unidentified gunmen.

The Irian Jaya police have said the Army's special forces unit in Hammadi, Jayapura, was allegedly involved in the murder but they could not carry out further investigations into the case because servicemen were not under police jurisdiction, which only includes civilian law.

KABAR-IRIAN ("Irian News") Websites: http://www.irja.org/index2.shtml and http://www.kabar-irian.com 

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