Overview: Indonesia applied sustained pressure to detect, disrupt, and degrade terrorist groups operating within its borders and deny them safe haven. ISIS-affiliated Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) and its offshoots continued to target police and other symbols of state authority. While not a member of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, the Indonesian government and Muslim civil society leaders forcefully and repeatedly denounced ISIS and actively promoted a “soft approach” to CVE to complement “hard” law enforcement counterterrorism efforts. Indonesia is an active member of the GCTF and co-chairs the group’s CVE Working Group with Australia. The Indonesian, Malaysian, and Philippines’ militaries continued coordinated patrols in the Sulu and Sulawesi Seas to deter and prevent kidnapping and terrorist transit in their adjoining exclusive economic zones. In May, a series of suicide bombings in Surabaya prompted Indonesia to amend legislation to strengthen law enforcement’s counterterrorism capabilities.
In September 2018, the United States and Indonesia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to strengthen and expand cooperation on counterterrorism, to include the exchange of information on known and suspected terrorists.
2018 Terrorist Incidents: JAD predominantly targeted police throughout the year. From May 8-10, JAD-linked prisoners killed five police officers during a riot and subsequent hostage standoff at a Police Mobile Brigade (BRIMOB) pre-trial detention facility near Jakarta. From May 13-14, a JAD cell consisting of three families, including children, committed a series of coordinated suicide bombings in Surabaya targeting three churches and Surabaya Police Headquarters. The bombings resulted in 25 fatalities, including 13 attackers, and 57 injured persons. One terrorist family accidentally detonated a bomb in their apartment before their planned attack, killing two bombers and wounding three others. The Surabaya bombings marked the first time entire families, including children, committed suicide bombings in Indonesia.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: In May, lawmakers passed an amendment to the 2003 Law on Combating Criminal Acts of Terrorism, which strengthened and expanded existing counterterrorism provisions. The amendment criminalizes extraterritorial fighting, preparatory acts, and material support for terrorism, and extends the detention period to gather evidence and build a case. The amendment also states that the Indonesian military will have a role in counterterrorism operations that should be clarified in a presidential regulation by May 2019. It mandated the Indonesian National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) to formulate national counterterrorism policy, coordinate counterterrorism-related law enforcement, and implement national awareness of counterterrorism strategies and de-radicalization campaigns.
Indonesian law enforcement agencies were increasingly able to detect, deter, and prevent terrorist attacks. The elite police counterterrorism force, Detachment 88, and BRIMOB lead counterterrorism investigations and operations. Terrorism prosecutions usually resulted in convictions. On June 22, an Indonesian court sentenced JAD figure Aman Abdurrahman to death for inciting others to commit at least five terrorist attacks in Indonesia, including the 2016 Thamrin attacks and the 2017 Kampung Melayu bombing. The South Jakarta District Court indicted JAD as a terrorist organization on July 24 – the first time an organization and not just an individual was charged – and officially banned JAD on July 31. Prison sentences tended to be short, with some exceptions. Corrections officials took steps to improve terrorist prisoner management. A drastic increase in the numbers of arrests and convictions has created additional pressure on overcrowded prisons. The Government of Indonesia is building a new super-maximum prison on Nusa Kambangan Island in Central Java.
From May to December, police arrested more than 370 terrorist suspects and convicted 150. The Indonesian Attorney General’s Office Directorate of Terrorism and Transnational Crimes are prosecuting criminal cases. Trials for all terrorist suspects take place in Jakarta district courts, regardless of where in Indonesia the act of terrorism occurred.
Border security remained a challenge. The Customs and Excise Directorate General, which collects API and PNR data to screen travelers, continued to struggle with passenger targeting, analysis, management systems, and high-level management turnover. Police maintained a watchlist of suspected terrorists, but lines of communication and coordination among stakeholder agencies were not always clear. Indonesia’s Immigration Directorate General used INTERPOL databases to expand screening of international passengers at key immigration checkpoints in airports and seaports but relies on the Customs Excise Directorate General for access to API/PNR.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Indonesia is a member of the Asia/Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering, a FATF-style regional body. Indonesia’s FIU, the Indonesian Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK), is a member of the Egmont Group. In July, the APG released a generally positive mutual evaluation review (MER) of Indonesia’s financial system based on compliance with FATF’s 40 recommendations. Indonesia was recently afforded observer status in FATF and is on track toward gaining full membership, pending the results of an upcoming FATF MER.
Indonesia’s Counterterrorist Financing Law (9/2013) criminalized money laundering and terrorist financing and authorizes terrorist asset freezing pursuant to UNSCRs. Indonesia has prosecuted and convicted individuals for financing terrorism. In November, PPATK and the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (AUSTRAC), in partnership with Thailand’s Anti-Money Laundering Office, hosted the fourth Regional Counter-Terrorism Financing Summit in Bangkok. Indonesia and the Philippines signed an MOU on the prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing, aligning Indonesia’s AML/CFT efforts with FATF guidelines.
For additional information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes.
Countering Violent Extremism: BNPT continued its work on a draft CVE National Action Plan for anticipated release as a Presidential executive order. The National Action Plan will coordinate CVE efforts of 36 ministries, institutions, and civil society organizations. BNPT also managed de-radicalization programs for terrorist convicts. Indonesians deported from third countries for attempted travel to Iraq and Syria were enrolled in a one-month de-radicalization program at a rehabilitation shelter operated by the Ministry of Social Affairs in Bambu Apus, East Jakarta. BNPT used former terrorists for CVE outreach campaigns and helped establish religious boarding schools for children of former terrorists, to prevent their radicalization.
International and Regional Cooperation: Indonesia continued to support counterterrorism efforts in several regional and multilateral organizations, including the UN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Indonesia remained active in the ARF Inter-Sessional Meetings on Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime and the APEC Counter-Terrorism Working Group. At an October 19 meeting, ASEAN Defense Ministers agreed to adopt Indonesia’s “Our Eyes” initiative to improve strategic information sharing on counterterrorism among Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.
Indonesia is a member of the GCTF and co-chairs the GCTF CVE Working Group with Australia. In February, the GCTF CVE Working Group co-chairs organized a workshop on theoretical frameworks, dimensions, and considerations in designing and implementing national monitoring, measuring, and evaluation frameworks and practices. In October, the CVE Working Group co-chairs organized a workshop on CVE in prisons. They also convened their annual plenary meeting as well as a workshop in December exploring gender and CVE issues that included government and civil society actors from across Southeast Asia. In May, Indonesia hosted the Southeast Asia regional GCTF event on Addressing Challenges of Returning Families of FTFs. Indonesia continued to use the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation as a regional training center.