PRESS RELEASE: The role of TNI in counter terrorism

C-SAVE, Jakarta, 25 July 2017

Indonesian parliament, The People’s Representative Assembly (DPR/Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat) is currently drafting the Revision of Anti-Terrorism Act (RUU Anti-Terrorism). There are a number of articles that require close attention, including on the role of the military (TNI) in counter terrorism.

It is inevitable for TNI to play a role in counter-terrorism for a number of reasons. Firstly, TNI Law stipulates that countering terrorism is a part of TNI main duty in the frame of Military Operations Other Than War (MOOTW). Indeed, looking at cases in other countries, military plays important role in countering terrorism. Contemporary terrorism threats such as hostage situation, large scale simultaneous attacks, terrorist attacks on the sea or in the air that fall within national jurisdiction, attacks against President or Vice President, attacks against diplomatic representatives and other scenarios require various institutions to act within the scope of their abilities. In that connection, anti-terror qualifications of different service branches, firepower, as well as territorial intelligent network of the TNI will be important in delivering effective counter-terrorism measures in Indonesia.

C-SAVE (Coalition of Civil Society Against Violent Extremism) believes that the role of TNI in counter-terrorism should be promoted under the framework of democracy and law enforcement. TNI involvement in this case should not allow violations against human rights to occur. Moreover, TNI involvement should also follow the norms of Military Reform and Security Sector Reform that have been on-going for almost two decades. TNI deployment must be based on political decision that upholds civil supremacy as well as the effectiveness and flexibility of counter-terrorism operations. In this context, other than special cases such as insurgency, TNI role in counter-terrorism should be conducted within the scope of its authority and under the coordination of non-ministerial government institution that oversees counter-terrorism.

C-SAVE Executive Director Mira Kusumarini states that, “TNI role in counter terrorism should be appreciated in the context of promoting good synergy between governmental institutions that cooperate based on their jurisdictions and capabilities. Further role for TNI should be in line with the norms of Military Reform and Security Sector Reform, as well as norms of democracy, human rights, and law enforcement.”

On the same note, member of DPR, Bobby Rizaldi (F-Golkar) believes that, “Civil supremacy in counter-terrorism is of utmost importance and each military action needs to have presidential approval as the highest civilian leader. In the Revision of Anti-Terrorism Act, Indonesia should formulate a specifically tailored regulation in counter-terrorism approach.”

Moreover,  Bobby adds, “TNI should be actively involved in cases where terrorist actions have escalated to the point that it warrants military responses, and on terrorist actions that occur in non-jurisdiction spaces where law enforcement agencies do not have the authority, as well as cases that threaten Indonesian citizen.  Securing national vital objects also require TNI. While TNI deployment requires political decision, in the above cases TNI should immediately act.”

Meanwhile Risa Mariska (F-PDIP / member of APHR) states, “TNI has proven its ability to cooperate with the Police and other government institutions in counter-terrorism operations. In this connection, TNI role in counter-terrorism should continue to follow democratic line and the protection of human rights. Therefore, we hope that civil society to continue their active engagement in the drafting of RUU Anti-Terrorism. We also ask all stakeholders to pay close attention to this process as RUU-Anti Terrorism is vital for the future and sustainability of counter-terrorism in Indonesia.”

Irine Yusiana Roba Putri (F-PDIP / member of APHR) highlights that, “One of the main challenges in counter-terrorism is to ensure that all and any efforts are effective in stopping terrorism actions and that they are proportional–including in term of threats mapping and use of force. RUU Anti-Terrorism does not require to regulate the role of TNI, as it is already regulated in Law 34 Year 2004 on TNI as one of the 14 Military Operations Other Than War (MOOTW). There is already good coordination between TNI and the Police. In a number of operations where Police requires the help of TNI, the two institutions have proven that they can cooperate professionally and effectively.”

Contact Persons

Mira Kusumarini (

Muhammad Arif (

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