Wimar: Public, Media Shocked at Bali Bomber Ruling

Radio Australia
28 July 2004
July 26, 2004 -transcript-

INDONESIA: Public, Media Shocked at Bali Bomber Ruling

Everyone is putting their own spin on the shock ruling late last week which could see the perpetrators of the Bali Bombing go free. The Indonesian Constitutional Court found it was unconstitutional to retrospectively apply anti-terrorism charges. But despite international pressure to ensure those convicted remain in prison, there is a view that the ruling is a triumph for an independent judiciary in Indonesia.

Presenter/Interviewer: Peter Mares

Speakers: Wimar Witoelar, prominent Indonesian political analyst and broadcaster

WITOELAR: "We want to develop democracy; we have the outside world looking
over our shoulder, which makes us very nervous. We've another dilemma between
democracy and development for instance and dealing with the military, but nobody helps us when we are scrutinising military conduct in Aceh or in Jakarta or in Poso, but when they do things which affect outsiders, of course there's outside attention."

"So we hope that the outside attention to this case does not work in a counter-productive way because believe you people who like me are really devoted to bringing up democracy, really don't want us to go backwards in our path
towards democracy."

MARES: And just saying the general response to the ruling has been one of dismay amongst Indonesians?

WITOELAR: "Yes, yes, it has been dismay, as you look at the newspapers, especially the websites, the mailing list, but while trying to get used to the idea that the court is independent. But we've had the same court also produce some very democrati decisions, such as legalising or returning the legitimacy of the Communist Party, lifting the social sanctions against people involved illegitimate communist movement."

MARES: Former communist party members and so on?

WITOELAR: "Exactly so you know the sword cuts both ways."

MARES: Do you see a link between the ruling and the forthcoming presidential election?

WITOELAR: "I don't see any link there."

MARES: Because I suppose from an Australian perspective what Australians
have seen is they saw Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono go to the commemoration
activities on the first anniversary of the Bali bombing. They saw Megawati not go. Do
you see a difference in the way those two contenders would handle an issue slike this?

WITOELAR: "Oh certainly very different from the PR point of view. But from the substance point of view Megawati has no substance, so it's useless to analyse her movements."

MARES: And Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono?

WITOELAR: "Has a lot of substance, too much substance, no style, no context
sometimes. So he's always proper, he's always right, but maybe he's not quick
enough on the draw to catch political opportunities as they come up."

MARES: Because part of the question here is are political leaders in Indonesia willing to take on some of the Jihadist type movements around people like Abu Bakar Bashir? Are either Megawati or Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono willing to have that confrontation?

WITOELAR: "I think they will because, but of course it's hard to analyse because when the Indonesian government did go against the Jihadist groups they were together, and now of course each part can claim as to who was responsible. But remember the Indonesian people have taken great steps in overcoming that issue, so that now it's not an issue in Indonesia anymore."

"You don't see Muslim radicals running around with swords anymore wrecking
bars; you don't see people going off burning villages anymore. Somehow it's
disappeared, and we have caught some terrorists with the strong assistance of
the Australian police, and these achievements should not be forgotten, no matter what happened in the last few days."

MARES: And that's what's so important following this ruling that the perpetrators of the Bali bombing are prosecuted in another way?

WITOELAR: "Yes they should get punished; they should get executed without the compromise of the law. If you have to choose then I would prefer not to think about that terrible situation. My gut feeling says they won't get free."

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  1. From Bambang Udoyono on 11 January 2008 10:18:47 WIB
    Pak Wimar apakah saya boleh ngelink ke blog anda ? Saya penggemar berat anda lho !
    TErima kasih
    Bambang Udoyono

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