17 Nov 2015

Two Indonesian soldiers convicted for Papuan deaths

3:42 pm on 17 November 2015

Two Indonesian soldiers have been convicted and imprisoned for their role in the deaths of two Papuans in Mimika in August.

Jayapura port, Papua province, Indonesia.

Jayapura port, Papua province, Indonesia. Photo: RNZI / Koroi Hawkins

The Jakarta Post reports that the court sentenced Makher Rehatta and Gregorius R. Geta to prison terms of 12 years and three years respectively for murder and aggravated assault.

Two other soldiers are still on trial for their role in the incident in which the four soldiers, who were allegedly drunk, opened fire with assault rifles on a group of Papuans who were holding a local Thanksgiving ceremony in front of a church in Mimika regency.

Human Rights Watch has welcomed the conviction as a rare example of accountability over military abuses in Papua.

However the NGO says it's only a start, since there are many other military abuses which have not been investigated.

In the rare cases where soldiers have been convicted by a military court, the sentences have been extremely lenient.