Revision of Terrorism Act: Should BIN’s Authority Be Expanded?

Revision of Terrorism Act: Should BIN’s Authority Be Expanded?

Post the Sarinah Attack in Central Jakarta on 14 January 2016, some groups are demanding the House of Representative (DPR) to revise the Terrorism Act No. 15/2003. They argue that the current act limits the security officers including intelligence service’s personnel to take preventive measures against terrorist attack. Such demand is indeed controversial. Those who support the demand asses that the state should be firmer against the terrorist groups. Nevertheless, those who are against the demands argue that government should be careful in deciding whether to revise the terrorism act or not.

In line with the revision plan, there appear an initiative to increase the authority of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN). There is a rumor saying that this institution will have an authority to execute the terrorist suspects. However, the opposition side is worried that BIN will abuse such authority like in some years past during the authoritarian regime. Despite its ability to arrest the suspect hence prevent an attack, BIN might breach the human rights and violate the principle of presumed innocent until proven guilty in KUHAP.

Regarding this, Head of DPR Ade Komarudin has conveyed his agreement. DPR has also had special meeting to discuss the revision. There will be some suggestions from DPR for the revision. Besides, because the process of revision will require quite a long time, DPR asked the government to create Government Regulation in lieu of Law (Perppu) first.

In this DPR meeting, it is also discussed that the role of local government needs to be strengthened. Ade suggested that such issue has not been included in current Terrorism Act No. 15/2003. The role of society has not also been regulated. In addition, the maximum penalty still need to be increased. The revision should aim to increase the preventive measures against terrorist attacks. It should regulate coordination among institutions in combating terrorism.

Similarly, Indonesian Military Chief General Gatot Nurmantyo also agrees that Terrorism Act No. 15/2003 needs to be revised in which the revision becomes the authority of the government. However, the suggestion to increase BIN’s authority that will enable BIN to arrest is opposed by Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo.

BIN Requires Larger Authority

If all have agreed that terrorism is an extraordinary crime, the State must be firmer in combating such threat. President Jokowi’s command to revise Terrorism Act No. 15/2003 should not become a controversy.

Terrorism observer who is also University of Indonesia postgraduate alumni Erlangga Pratama assessed that Chief of BIN Sutiyoso’s suggestion to give more power to BIN so that this intelligence service will be able to arrest and detain terrorist suspects as a measure to fight terrorism should become a concern for many parties. That BIN asks for more authority in the revision of the terrorism act is normal under this circumstances. The reason behind BIN’s demand to be authorized to arrest  and detain the suspects is because all this time, during the era of democracy, human rights is always used as a shield by the terrorist groups to develop their organization and networks as well as conducting their activities both clandestine and public activities. They believe that state will not forbid their activities for the sake of democracy.

Furthermore, even though the intelligence officers have already known about the upcoming attack, they cannot do anything to stop it. The law forbid them to do anything before the attack is present. The only measures they can do are persuading the persuading the people so that they are not influenced by the terrorist group, creating counter propaganda, and conditioning.

Moreover, the existing law has unintentionally create a law gap that lead to security gap that can be exploited by terrorist groups to create attacks in Indonesia. Our police can only make a move after the crime is present. Meanwhile, our intelligence works according to initial indication and reports. Early warning can be made, but still nothing can be done to prevent the attack. Even if an early warning report has been passed to the police, they cannot do anything if there is no offensive activities against the Law.

“Coordination imbroglio and sectoral echoes conjures security gap. This condition creates a chance for terrorist groups to launch their attacks to us,” said Erlangga Pratama.

Thus, that BIN’s authority needs to be increased in the new act is crucial. Referring to former Chief of BIN, AM Hendropriyono, who is now a member of Wantimpres, BIN should not be a herder dog whose feet are tied up, it cannot do anything but barking when a thief gets into the house.

TOAS H*) Toas. H,  researcher at Galesong Institute and LSISI Jakarta.



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