Cars at Tjililitan Airfield at Batavia (circa) 1930

The Ambition

By Muhammad Yamin

Night has fallen, cool and still
The breeze is so gentle and soft;
The ocean heaves, murmuring quietly
The smooth surface glistening and glinting.

Out stretched hands reach into the night air
Unsteadily withdrawn, by a heart without joy
Because of the “wish”, remembered so often
So brilliantly, beyond words.

Every star shines brightly
Finally aware is this body of mine
The desired is reaching through nobility.

Who can doubt, can not believe
That we are always guided
By God, the Lord who is so rich?

On the Indian Ocean, June 1921

Gezicht over Tandjong Priok, de haven van Batavia

Gezicht over Tandjong Priok, de haven van Batavia  Deze foto is genomen vanaf het spoorwegstation van de Staatsspoorwegen (SS) in de haven Tandjong Priok bij Batavia (Jakarta). Rechts is de “Eerste Binnenhaven” te zien.

The Ambition (Tjita-Tjita) was first published in Indonesian in the Dutch-language journal Jong Sumatra : organ van den Jong Sumatranen Bond, Batavia, June 1921. It was republished in Pane, Armijn (ed), Sandjak-Sandjak Muda Mr. Muhammad Yamin [The Young Poems of Mr. Muhammad Yamin], Firma Rada, Djakarta, 1954, p. 6.

The Role of the Indonesian Attorney General’s Office as dominus litis in the Fight Between the Corruption Eradication Commission and the Indonesian National Police

By Adery Ardhan Saputro S.H. (Researcher with the Indonesian Justice Monitoring Community of the University of Indonesia Faculty of Law – MAPPI FHUI), Thursday, 5 February 2015

Background

The chaos occurring now between two Indonesian law enforcement agencies, the Corruption Eradication Commission (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi or KPK) and the Indonesian National Police (Polisi Republik Indonesia or POLRI), was triggered by the decision of the Corruption Eradication Commission to declare Police Commissioner General Budi Gunawan a suspect in a corruption investigation. Gunawan was also it should be noted candidate for promotion to the position of national police chief, announced by President Joko Widodo and approved by Commission III of the Indonesian House of Representatives. Several days later officers of the Indonesian National Police declared Deputy Head of the Corruption Eradication Commission Bambang Widjojanto a suspect in a criminal investigation in relation to allegations he had obtained false statements from a witness, in breach of Articles 242 and 55 of the Indonesian Criminal Code, during a Constitutional Court case concerning the disputed election for the District Head of West Kotawaringin Regency in Central Kalimantan Province in 2010.

Upon the arrest of Widjojanto, anti-corruption activists and members of the public reacted strongly, flocking to the Corruption Eradication Commission’s offices and protesting strongly over the police action, widely regarded as an arbitrary abuse of power. The storm of protest and controversy has even destabilize the country, evidenced by the statement of head of the Indonesian Armed Forces’ public relations unit Major General Fuad Basya that, “the military is ready to secure the Corruption Eradication Commission’s offices in the event the Police decide to raid the Commission.” President Joko Widodo on the other hand has not taken any meaningful action, afraid of appearing to intervene improperly in a law enforcement issue.

Friction between two investigative agencies is common in other countries. In the United States for example, a dust up over the authority to investigate narcotics cases between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has broken out on a number of occasions. However, this friction doesn’t cause such serious problems because hierarchically both agencies are directly under the authority of the US Attorney General. The Attorney General in fact has a critical role and is vital to the criminal justice system. A situation such as the controversy now being referred to in Indonesia as “KPK vs POLRI” would not be possible in the United States.

Position and Duties of the Attorney General in Indonesia’s Code of Criminal Procedure

If we reflect on the situation in Indonesia, even though the Attorney General’s Office is generally seen as holding the position of dominus litis, in this controversy it has not taken any meaningful steps to act as intermediary in the fracas. This is clear from the statement of the head of the Attorney General’s public information office Tony Spontana that, “We are guided solely by the Code of Criminal Procedure and we don’t want to be drawn into the polemic. The Attorney General’s Office is currently preparing to issue a direction appointing an investigating prosecutor to be assigned to monitor developments in the investigation.”

From Spontana’s statement we can draw a number of conclusions. 1. The Attorney General’s Office can only monitor and issue directions in relation to the result of an examination of a case file prepared by the Police. 2. The Code of Criminal Procedure prohibits the Attorney General’s Office from becoming directly involved in an investigation conducted by the Police. 3. The relationship between the police as investigator and the Attorney General’s Office according to the Code of Criminal Procedure is limited to functional coordination only. In the light of this, based solely on the Code of Criminal Procedure, Spontana’s argument can be regarded as appropriate, which is to say the authority of the Attorney General’s Office is limited to only monitoring a police investigation and does not extend to the supervision of a police investigation into a case. This is because the principle of functional differentiation on which the Code of Criminal Procedure is founded is the root cause of the problem of frequent friction between the two investigative agencies.

In relation to the police case against KPK Commissioner Bambang Widjojanto, the principle of functional differentiation will lead to significant problems in the future especially for the institution of the Attorney General’s Office. The institution of an attorney general which investigates solely on the basis of case files alone without being permitted to conduct investigations directly can create obstacles to the presentation of  evidence during court hearings. Assuming the case file for the Bambang Widjojanto investigation is regarded as complete by the Attorney General’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office would issue a P-21 Form on the basis of evidence obtained during the investigation. Later at the trial phase, should it become known that in fact some of the items of evidence were obtained other than in accordance with the law, or even, that a certain number of witness statements provided to investigators had been coerced, this could have the implication that the provision of evidence by the prosecution was less than optimal with a reduction in the evidence available for use by the public prosecutor to prove the guilt of the accused.

Thus there is a need for a strong connection between public prosecutors and cases being brought against accused persons which is not simply limited to an examination of case files, or merely to the provision of guidance to investigators. Rather, prosecutors should be able to conduct investigations directly (opsporing) or at least be able to conduct follow-up investigations (nasporing) in relation to enquiries already undertaken by investigators. The aim of this would be for prosecutors to be able to establish how investigators obtained evidence in a case and at the same time to establishing whether a suspect really was a party worth taking to trial.

In contrast, the position and duties of the Attorney General’s Office as dominus litis is in fact very clear in the provisions of the Revised Indonesian Code (Herziene Indonesisch Reglement or HIR). While the HIR remained in force, an investigation was an inseparable part of a prosecution. This authority establishes the Prosecuting Investigator as public prosecutor to be both the coordinator of an investigation and also as having the ability to conduct its own investigations. As a result, the Attorney General’s Office was in the position of a key institution in the overall process of criminal law enforcement from beginning to end.

With the repeal of the HIR by the Code of Criminal Procedure, the authority of the Attorney General’s Office to conduct investigations (opsporing) has been de-legitimised indirectly by the Code. However, the authority of the Attorney General’s Office as dominus litis did not disappear immediately with the repeal of the HIR. This is because of Article 27, paragraph (1), subparagraph (d) of Law No. 5/1991 concerning the Attorney General’s Office which provides that: “(1) In the area of crime, the attorney general’s office has the task of and authority to: (d) complete a particular case file and for this supplementary inquiries can be conducted before being transferred to the court which in their conduct are coordinated by the investigator.”

This provision clearly affirms that the attorney general has the authority to conduct additional investigations (nasporing). This authority affirms that the attorney general continues to constitute the agency in control of a case even at the investigation stage. This is also provided for by Article 30 paragraph (1), subparagraph (d) of Law 16/2004 concerning the Indonesian Attorney General. So the attorney general does in fact have the authority to carry out additional enquiries (nasporing) and as a result, the attorney general has the authority to ensure that investigations carried out by investigators have been conducted properly.

Thus although the Criminal Procedure Code appears to provide for the attorney general having a merely functional coordinating role in investigations which are to be conducted by the police, in fact if one relies on Article 30, paragraph (1), subparagraph (d) of Law No. 16/2004, in fact the Attorney General is able to take action beyond that of merely monitoring the results of police investigations or examining case files based on witness testimony alone. Quite the contrary, the Attorney General’s Office may take a more important role in the process of the inquiry into the case of Commissioner Bambang Widjojanto by way of additional inquiries into the relevant witnesses or suspects.

Quite apart from the attorney general being able to conduct additional inquiries, the writer is of the view that there are still problems in our criminal justice system. This is illustrated by the possibility of conflict between law enforcement agencies in dealing with an investigation. The current dispute indicates that the differentiation and the independence of each law enforcement agency in handling cases represents a conceptual mistake. Because of this there is a need for change in the criminal justice system in Indonesia to minimize friction between law enforcement institutions.

Integrated Criminal Justice System Reform

Change in the roles and duties of the Attorney General’s Office has in fact been accommodated by the proposed Criminal Procedure Code Bill. This is evident from the provisions of Article 46, paragraph (3) and (4).

Article 46 paragraph (3): If the public prosecutor still finds deficiencies in relation to a case file, the public prosecutor may ask the investigator to conduct additional investigations by giving instructions directly or can conduct additional inquiries prior to transferring to the court the implementation of which is coordinated with the investigator.

Article 46 paragraph (4): In subsequent case inquiries if necessary certain legal action to facilitate the conduct of hearings in court or the execution of judicial decisions, the public prosecutor can take legal action himself or ask for investigation assistance to be conducted.

These two articles affirm that the public prosecutor represents the party in control of a case at the investigation stage, even though the case is conducted by a different agency. The writer would add that despite the expanded authority of the attorney general in coordinating investigations, the Bill is not yet able to make the position of the attorney general into that of mediator in the event that the problem of sectoral egos arises between law enforcement agencies in the conduct of a case.

In relation to this problem, solutions can be suggested from the example of criminal justice systems in other countries. Examples include: 1. Coordination between police and prosecutors in the Netherlands is provided for by the Wet Bijzondere opsporingsbevoegd-heden, the Special Powers of Investigation Act or BOB, which came into force on 1 February 2000. This provides that the public prosecutor’s office is the appropriate agency to lead a criminal investigation. 2. Changing the hierarchy and position of the attorney general in Indonesia to be like that in the United States. By positioning the attorney general to be at the same time the Minister of Justice representing the highest agency in control of a case and the use of one investigation warrant (Surat Perintah Pemeriksaan or SPP).

Hopefully the case between the Corruption Eradication Commission and the Indonesian National Police will create momentum for improvement in the criminal justice system in Indonesia. At the same time hopefully it will be a forum that demonstrates the role of the Indonesian Attorney General as the dominus litis agency which is in control of criminal cases. Finally it is to be hoped that reform of the criminal justice system and the future operation of the criminal justice system will be based solely on legal perspectives without being influenced by considerations of a political nature.


Traveling Images: Photographs from colonial Indonesia and the Meaning of Colonial Space around 1900

Traveling Images: Photographs from colonial Indonesia and the Meaning of Colonial Space around 1900 – Leiden Southeast Asia Seminar

Traveling Images: Photographs from colonial Indonesia and the Meaning of Colonial Space around 1900  By Sophie Junge

Leiden Asia Year

Leiden Asia Year

Images from the Dutch East Indies have been legitimizing Dutch colonial activity since the 17th century. Especially 19th century-photography was used to repress indigenous populations and to demonstrate Dutch authority on the archipelago. Nevertheless, it was not photography but the reproduction of photographic images that made the colony a place to be seen. Throughout the 19th century only few local studios took pictures of the Dutch East Indies and even fewer photo albums traveled back to the Netherlands in the luggage of retired colonial staff to stay in the private space of the family. It was not until the introduction of mass-reproduced images around 1900 that the visibility of the colony drastically increased.

The seminar examines the medial and trans-colonial circulation of printed photographic images on picture postcards, in illustrated magazines and travel guidebooks that reached broad audiences within the colony and beyond its borders. These images, often produced by a transnational network of photo studios, printers and publishers, give insight in the meaning of colonial space and the meaning of the photographic image around 1900. In extending postcolonial research on representations of indigenous “Others”, the paper argues that photographs of colonial space could only be understood in specific visual or textual framings, which combined existing photographic imagery with European postcard designs, Art Nouveau decorations and/or textual information. The paper analyses representations of colonial space to find out more about the creation of a specific canon of images, the reception of colonialism in the beginning of the 20th century and its meaning in terms of Dutch national identity.

Dr. Sophie Junge works at the Centre for Studies in the Theory and History of Photography at the Institute of Art History of the University of Zürich. Currently, she is also affiliated at Leiden University as a research fellow of the Swiss National Science Foundation to prepare a Postdoc project on photographic images from the Dutch East Indies after 1900. Her book Art Against AIDS. Nan Goldin’s Exhibition Witnesses: Against Our Vanishing has been published in 2016.

Date: Thursday 11 May 2017

Time: 15.30 h – 17.00 h

Venue: KITLV, room 138, Reuvensplaats 2, Leiden

Please register if you wish to attend: kitlv@kitlv.nl

Source: Traveling Images: Photographs from colonial Indonesia and the Meaning of Colonial Space around 1900

Maharaja Gurnur Jenral Benggala

British ‘Islamic’ style seals from the Malay world – Asian and African studies blog – The British Library

The presence of an inscription in Arabic script is such a defining characteristic of seals used by Muslims that it tends to mask the fact that similar ‘Islamic’-style seals were also used by myriad other groups, including Christians in Ethiopia and Syria, Samaritans in Palestine, Hindu subjects of the Mughal emperor, European scholars of Arabic and Persian, and British officials of the East India Company. Examples from the British Library were featured in a recent blog post on Some British ‘Islamic’ style seals in Persian manuscripts from India by Ursula Sims-Williams, and in an earlier post on Performing Authority: the ‘Islamic’ seals of British colonial officers in the Persian Gulf by Daniel Lowe. In this post I have gathered together a small number of British ‘Islamic’-style seals from Southeast Asia, with inscriptions in Malay in Jawi (Arabic) script. (Read more..)

Annabel Teh Gallop, Lead Curator, Southeast Asia http://blogs.bl.uk/asian-and-african/2017/03/british-islamic-style-seals-from-the-malay-world.html

Record of the sale of a female Batak slave

Record of the sale of a female Batak slave named Dima by Nakhoda Licu of Pane to Mr. Peter Clark for $53, witnessed by Syaikh Muhammad and Mualim Kandu and written by Hakim Abdul Taif, 1 Jumadilakhir 1220 (27 August 1805), and signed and sealed the next day by the [acting] Governor W.E. Phillips, with the same seal as used in 1791. British Library, IOR: R/9/22/37, f. 175 http://blogs.bl.uk/asian-and-african/2017/03/british-islamic-style-seals-from-the-malay-world.html

Source: British ‘Islamic’ style seals from the Malay world – Asian and African studies blog

Photo credit: KITLV, NIMH and NIOD. http://www.ind45-50.org/en/home

Decolonisation, violence and war in Indonesia, 1945-1950: KITLV/Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies

Decolonisation, violence and war in Indonesia, 1945-1950 is a large-scale, joint inquiry carried out by KITLV, the Netherlands Institute for Military History (NIMH) and the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies. The project has been made financially possible by the Dutch government, due to its decision on 2 December 2016 to lend its support to a broad inquiry into the events of this period.

f1b13645-a88e-4794-8d7d-d947be1dd222The programme comprises nine subprojects and aims to answer questions regarding the nature, extent and causes of structural transborder violence in Indonesia, considered in a broader political, social and international context. In this context, detailed attention will be paid to the chaotic period spanning from August 1945 to early 1945 – often referred to as the Bersiap – and the political and social aftermath in the Netherlands, Indonesia and elsewhere.

It is expected that KITLV will be responsible for the synthesis and will carry out the subprojects Regional Studies and Bersiap. For these projects the group, together with Indonesian colleagues, will carry out research in several Indonesian regions. These subprojects will be the continuation of the KITLV-project Dutch military operations in Indonesia 1945-1950 that has run since 2012.

The programme has a strong international character. There will be cooperation with researchers from Indonesia and other countries involved and sources originating from Indonesia, Australia, United Kingdom and the United States (United Nations) will be used more than previously was the case. Furthermore, the programme explicitly includes the opportunity for witness accounts from the Netherlands and Indonesia to be presented. Witnesses can come forward themselves or will be traced by researchers, in order to allow them to document their personal accounts for future generations.

The three institutes stress the importance of broad national and international support for the programme. In order to achieve this, the institutes have appointed an international scientific advisory board and a Netherlands societal focus group (Maatschappelijk Klankbordgroep Nederland).

For more information see: http://www.ind45-50.org/en/home

Witnesses

For the purpose of this inquiry, it is important that those involved are seen and heard. If you have material or more information about Indonesia in the 1945-1950 time period and are willing to contribute to our research, please contact: getuigen@ind45-50.nl