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Operational Command for the Restoration of Security and Order

A major change in the status of security and intelligence appeared to have occurred as a result of the 1985 military reorganization. Prior to that time, the foremost intelligence agency was the Operational Command for the Restoration of Security and Order (KOPKAMTIB), which focused primarily on mounting internal security operations and collecting intelligence data.

KOPKAMTIB was established in late 1965 in the wake of the attempted communist coup of that year. Its original function was to purge from the government and the armed forces Indonesian Communist Party [PKI] members and others suspected of complicity with the communists. By the late 1960s, that task had been largely completed.

In early 1969 KOPKAMTIB was given new life by a presidential decree that provided it an organizational basis closely interwoven with the Ministry of Defense and Security [HANKAM]. KOPKAMTIB was assigned a mandate on all matters concerning internal security as defined in its widest sense and quickly began to exercise sweeping powers of supervision over the national political life, using the army's territorial forces as its main operational units. By the early 1970s, KOPKAMTIB had become a large and powerful body that concerned itself with the activities of every political and social organization in the nation; its powers of interrogation, arrest, and detention were not subject to the regular criminal justice system.

Under Indonesian law, certain categories of crime were handled under special statutes outside the penal code. Political offenses and acts that Indonesian authorities regarded as threats to national security were usually prosecuted under Presidential Decree Number 11 of 1963 concerning the eradication of subversive activities. Promulgated as a statute in 1969, it granted far-reaching authority in dealing with almost any act that did not conform to government policy and carried a maximum penalty of death. The special statutes also contained special procedures that differed in important respects from those in the Criminal Procedures Code. Thus, for example, while the code stated that a suspect could only be held a maximum of 120 days before being brought to trial, the subversion law allowed suspects to be held up to one year.

The most prominent use of the special procedures regarding political offenses involved Kopkamtib's mass arrests and detention of some 200,000 persons in connection with the 1965 coup attempt, most of whom were never charged or tried. These prisoners were classified as group A, B, or C, according to the government's perception of how deeply they had been involved in the events of 1965 or in any of the banned organizations, including the PKI. The last 30,000 of those persons still not brought to trial were released between December 1977 and December 1979. Some PKI members were sentenced to death in the mid-1960s and remained in prison for years while their cases went through the appeals process. Several of these prisoners were executed as late as 1990. Only a handful of those convicted in connection with the coup were still in custody in 1992, although some 36,000 were still barred from voting, and 1.4 million former PKI members were closely monitored by KOPKAMTIB's successor organization, BAKORSTANAS.

Between 1969 and 1979, KOPKAMTIB ran a separate penal colony on Buru Island for Group B prisoners, who were convicted on charges of indirect involvement in the 1965 attempted coup. In late 1979, following the nationwide release of Group B prisoners, the penal colony on Buru Island was closed and the island was designated a transmigration site.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:44:37 ZULU