Tag Archive | "Indonesia"

Indonesia execution announcement prompts threat of sanctions

On Saturday April 25th, Indonesia notified families of nine foreigners convicted of drug crimes– from Australia, Brazil, the Philippines and Nigeria—that the prisoners will be transported to Nusa Kambangan “execution island” and killed by firing squad this week. The announcement arrives after months of international condemnation of Indonesia’s policies regarding the death penalty.

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, Australian citizens, have been imprisoned in Indonesia since 2006 and face execution Tuesday. (Reuters) http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/02/indonesia-delays-execution-australian-convicts-150220072517990.html
Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, Australian citizens, have been imprisoned in Indonesia since 2006 and face execution Tuesday. [Reuters]

Two Australians, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, arrested in 2006 for being ringleaders in the drug-smuggling group deemed the “Bali Nine” are among those listed for execution. Indonesia delayed the execution of Chan and Sukumaran in February for “technical reasons” and tensions have remained high between Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Indonesia’s Attorney-General Muhammad Prasetyo. “We abhor the death penalty, we regard it as barbaric,” Abbott said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph. “We will find ways of making our displeasure known.” In March, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced a two-fold offer – a prisoner swap, and an offer to pay the costs of ongoing life imprisonment, should Indonesia spare Chan and Sukumaran’s lives. This followed more than 50 appeals for clemency. Indonesia rejected the offer, claiming that there was no legal basis for such an arrangement.

Serge Atlaoui, a French citizen whose case has prompted widespread protests throughout France, was granted a temporary two-week reprieve, however the reason for this remains unclear.  “We remain extremely cautious. Everything can change from one day to the next,” said Richard Sedillot, Atlaoui’s lawyer.

In January, Indonesia executed six alleged drug offenders, including five foreigners. The killings prompted Brazil and the Netherlands, two countries in which the prisoners had citizenship, to recall their ambassadors.

Protesters hold signs reading “Save Serge Atlaoui” at a rally in eastern France Saturday. (AFP Poto/Alexandre Marchi) http://news.yahoo.com/photos/protesters-hold-signs-reading-save-serge-atlaoui-april-photo-211646816.html
Protesters hold signs reading “Save Serge Atlaoui” at a rally in eastern France Saturday. [AFP Poto/Alexandre Marchi]

And on Saturday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Indonesia’s government to reverse their decision. “The secretary general urges President Joko Widodo to urgently consider declaring a moratorium on capital punishment in Indonesia, with a view toward abolition,” said a spokesperson.

The executions may have far-reaching implications on trade relations.  Australian trade minister Andrew Robb ended negotiations over a free-trade agreement with Indonesia after the executions were announced. Trade between the two countries totaled almost $15 billion in 2013, however some analysts remain skeptical that Australia will take any real action. While no nation has officially announced plans for sanctions, French President Hollande discussed Atlaoui’s case following the announcement Saturday saying, “if he is executed, there will be consequences with France and Europe because we cannot accept this type of execution.”

With the widespread coverage of the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev capital Boston bombing trial in the U.S.  and the increasing tensions in Indonesia and around the world, the debate regarding capital punishment and the means in which it is conducted  in the U.S. and overseas remains a heated one.

Bree Plasters is a 3L and the outgoing Executive Editor of the Denver Journal of International Law and Policy.

Posted in 1TVFA Posts, 2Featured Articles, Breann Plasters, DJILP StaffComments (0)

Critical Analysis: Accusations Against Australia’s Border Protection Policies

Over the past month, Australian navy and customs officers have been accused of towing or turning back boats carrying Indonesian asylum-seekers. Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has reported little about Australia’s asylum-seeker policies, fearing that exposing such information may create a tactical advantage in a wartime scenario. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has previously expressed concerns over how Australian policies of border protection might violate international responsibilities.  These new reports of towing and turning back Indonesian asylum-seekers now raises questions surrounding Australia’s adherence to international conventions and laws protecting refugees.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott fails to open up about the border protection policies in Australia. Image Source: Getty Images/AFP

Prime Minister Tony Abbott fails to open up about the border protection policies in Australia. Image Source: Getty Images/AFP

Australia is just one of 144 states to have ratified the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (Convention) and the 1967 Protocol amendment. In January of 1951, the United Nations General Assembly created the Office of the UNHCR to provide “international protection” to refugees.  The Convention became effective in 1954 and played an important role in the UNHCR’s international refugee policies and protections.

The Convention establishes several obligations that signatory countries must follow in order to provide appropriate protection and potential solutions for refugees. One such obligation is “non-refoulement,” a concept stating that “no refugee should be returned in any manner whatsoever to any country where he or she would be at risk of persecution.” Under this principle, countries party to this Convention should not return refugees to any country where they may face persecution, whether it is their home country or not.  Furthermore, the Convention provides refugees an exemption from penalties for illegal immigration and provides them with protection from expulsion from the country.

While Australian government officials have remained quiet on border protection policies, these reports and accusations of towing and turning back boats questions whether the Australian government is adhering to its obligations under the Convention.  Prime Minister Abbott and his staff maintain silence surrounding the details and/or accuracies of these accusations.  In response to questions surrounding the nation’s border control policies, Abbott stated “I’m pleased to say it is now several weeks since we’ve had a boat, and the less we talk about operational details on the water the better when it comes to stopping the boats.”

In addition to reports of towing and turning back boats, the Australian government has also been accused of purchasing lifeboats to be used in ushering asylum-seekers back to Indonesia.  Australian Operation Sovereign Borders commander Angus Campbell has admitted to the purchase of lifeboats, but mimicking Prime Minister Abbott’s policy of secrecy over government operations, has not stated the intended purpose for the devices.

Even Indonesian officials are angered by Prime Minister Abbott’s failure to open up about the specifics of the country’s border protection policies. Although Abbott has denied some of these allegations, he has failed to make reports on the details of the Australian immigration control policies.  Mark Dreyfus, active immigration spokesman for the Australian Labor Party, stated, “I’m not going to speculate because it’s for the government to explain the circumstances. It’s for the government to reassure Australians that everything that’s been done does comply with international law, that everything that’s been done complies with our obligations under the refugees convention.” Until the Australian government reveals the truth about their border protection operations, the rest of the world will continue to question the legality of their actions. 

Stacy Harper is a 3L at Denver Law and Marketing Editor for the Denver Journal of International Law and Policy.

Posted in 1TVFA Posts, 2Featured Articles, DJILP Staff, Stacy HarperComments (0)


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