Poverty and Judicial Corruption behind Torture in Indonesia
Posted by dinasavaluna at March 15th, 2010
Today, there is no doubt that torture and ill treatments are related in many ways to poverty disrespect of ESC Rights. The author agrees with many papers that argue that the poor, excluded and other vulnerable groups are often the first and most numerous victims of violence and ill treatments.
Poverty can make one to be subject to violence such as torture. And it happens on a regular basis in Indonesia when a poor person conflicted with the law. Poverty makes people have limited access to information and education. Poverty, at some extend, deprived people from awareness, included awareness of right to be free from ill treatments. Poverty also deprived people from human dignity. The poor feels inferior to public official, who has gigantic power from State.
The 2007 Jakarta Legal Aid’s Report regarding monitoring on torture in Jakarta states that out of 367 persons endured torture, 4.9% of them never went to school, 23.43% of them were elementary graduate, 29.7% of them were junior high school graduate, and 34% of the were high school graduate. In the contrary, only 0.5% of them were graduated from college. It shows the highest prevalence of torture victims laid down on less educated people. And based on AUSAID data, poverty in Indonesia is heavily concentrated among those with little or no formal education.
The combination of those factors above has made torture is not only being used for gaining information or confession from suspects, but also as a media to blackmail the poor. Moreover, Indonesia has a corrupt criminal justice system and police institution, and inadequate income of police”. But sometimes, torture used aims at exert power to subdue a person, particularly those who has weaker position in an imbalance power relation.
This condition was worsened by the enactment of some discriminatory bylaws against the poor, such as Jakarta bylaws No.8/2007 on public order. The enactment of discriminatory bylaws has raised the risk of the poor to be subjected to torture. This has created an irony, because, in one hand, the state has failed to provide decent jobs for the people; but on the other hand, it criminalizes people who cannot get a decent job and subjected them to cruel and inhuman treatments and torture.
Based on a research conducted by Legal Aid Jakarta in 2007, 83.55% of detainees in detention have endures torture. But the rate of complain on these cases is very minimum. There are two possibilities allow this phenomenon to happen. First, it was due to the lack of awareness among victims on their freedom from torture; and second, they were aware but they were too afraid to complain, due to their inferior position and frustrating criminal justice system which quite far from justice for the poor.
Less complains could mislead the on the massive and widespread of torture, and public would give less attention as a result of that. The permissiveness of public on torture creates a massive impunity on such crime.
1. What is the best way to attack the poverty and judicial corruption as the root causes of torture and ill treatment?
2. What kind of knowledge has to be given to the state officials in particular to the officials from those institutions that have authority to detain people?
 OMCT, Attacking the Root Causes of Torture: Poverty, Inequality and Violence – An Interdisciplinary Study, Geneva, 2006, www.omct.org.
 In the light of the International Bill of Rights, poverty may be defined as a human condition characterized by sustained or chronic deprivation of the resources, capabilities, choices, security and power necessary for the enjoyment of an adequate standard of living and other civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights.
 AUSAID, Indonesia fact sheet, see http://www.ausaid.gov.au/country/country.cfm?CountryId=30
 Based on investigation conducted by WGAT in Krobokan correctional institution (Denpasar) on 2007, used of torture by the police not only aimed at gaining the confession and information but also blackmailing people conflicted with law. One of the factors, included but not limited to, is the low of officials’ salary.
 From survey conducted by Transparency International Indonesia (TII), police is the most vulnerable institution of committing bribery. See http://www.ti.or.id/press/91/tahun/2009/bulan/01/tanggal/21/id/3817; In TII’s survey 2006, it found Police, Armed Force and Judiciary is the most three corrupt institutions in Indonesia. See http://www.hukumonline.com/detail.asp?id=16283&cl=Berita; And in Global Corruption Barometer 2007, TII found Police is the most corrupt institution with perception index of corruption 4.2. See http://www.hukumonline.com/detail.asp?id=18140&cl=Berita
 In 2006, the lowest salary of police is IDR 1.232.100 per month and the 2006 minimum wages is IDR 819.100. See http://www.tempointeraktif.com/hg/jakarta/2005/11/01/brk,20051101-68776,id.html; see also http://www.beritaindonesia.co.id/hankam/kalau-gaji-polisi-melambung/
 Asian human Rights Commission, Indonesia: Reforms have started but atrocities continue, p.4, see http://material.ahrchk.net/hrreport/2007/Indonesia2007.pdf