Saturday, August 1, 2009

David's Mysterious Death

On 2 March, David Hartanto Widjaya, an Indonesian studying at the Nanyang Technical University (NTU), Singapore, was found dead at NTU’s campus. According to the local Police report, David jumped from the fourth floor of the campus building after stabbing his Mentor Professor Chan Kap Luk.

However, David’s family and supporters do not believe this report; they always maintained that the circumstances surrounding his death were suspicious. So they have filed a request with the Coroner Court in Singapore to determine the actual cause of death so that the case can be heard at the Criminal Court.

On 29 July the Coroner Court ruled that the cause David’s death is Suicide, and the family was very unsatisfied. But unfortunately, they cannot appeal the Court’s decision. So they criticized the Indonesian government for not doing enough to ensure a fair trial. Their lawyers, among others O.C Kaligis, accused the Foreign Affairs Department of failing to assist the family and said that they intend to take the case to the International Court of Justice(ICJ) or the International Criminal Court (ICC).
In this regards, Foreign Affairs Minister Hassan Wirajuda said that it would be impossible to bring the case of David’s death to ICJ and the ICC because both courts only handled cases such as Genocide or disputes between states. Moreover, Indonesia was not even a state party to the ICC because it had not ratified the Rome Statute.

For details on the above, please click here, here and here.

Considering the above, I felt very sad that David's death is still misterious. Although our government cannot intervere with the legal proceedings in Singapore, however they could at least make verbal statement that show support to the family in their quest to unconceal the mystery of David's death. This would at least make the family felt a bit stronger.

Photo: Courtesy of Facebook


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Rekaberu said...

Despite the verdict of Singaporean law, I think there are many oddity that can't be resolve appropriately. Once again this case reflect Indonesian government lack of capacity or maybe unwillingness to defend their citizens that get caught in foreign country's law. What a pitty

Harry Nizam H. said...

HD ...
Thank you for your compliment.
I'll check your blog ASAP.

Yusuf@Rekaberu ...
Yes, it's a pity. Let us hope
that the new mandate given by
our people in the elections
would make the government more
self confident in doing its jobs,
including foreign relation.

Tricia said...

It does seem ind of strange. But, then again, lots of people commit suicide and the people surrounding them never suspected a thing. My heart goes out to the family and friends.

Harry Nizam H. said...

Tricia ...
You are right that many people commited suicide, but in this case the family & supporters suspected because: some irregularities in David's wounds, they were not alowed access to David's laptop, not allowed to talk to the professor.

Rob Baiton said...

It reads a little like a conspiracy in that the family do not want to believe their beloved son, brother, cousin, or whatever decided to take his own life.

So, one clings to whatever hope that there is. In this case, supposed irregularities in the types of wounds that he allegedly suffered, or could not have suffered, in jumping from the 4th floor of a building.

Is the family disputing that he stabbed his supervisor / mentor? Or is it merely, we do not believe that our son would have committed suicide?

My experience with the Singaporean legal system has always found it to be above board. The family of David need to come up with something that supports their "feeling" that the report was wrong and that the coroner erred in making a finding for suicide.

I have a lot of time for OC Kaligis. But, the man is just doing his job in criticizing all and sundry with respect to their being a case for the Indonesian government and the Department of Foreign Affairs failing in exercising support for David or his family.

I would be interested in learning more about the reasons Kaligis thinks this can go to the ICJ or the international criminal court. Without a detailed analytical review of the literature Wirajuda is right in saying; an ICJ matter is almost always State vs. State and the ICC is restricted by its statute to a very specific set of violations related to genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression (or against peace and jurisdiction in this regard is still suspect).

Even if the Indonesian government were to believe that the findings of the coroner in Singapore were sound and believed David's death, as tragic as it is, was suicide, then the government should still issue a statement suggesting that the death remains mysterious because this would show solidarity with David's Indonesian family?

Let's face it, to the coroner in Singapore, David's death is not mysterious. He stabbed his academic supervisor and then jumped from the 4th floor of a campus building killing himself in the process.

This might leave a whole lot of unanswered questions for the family, like why did he do it? why didn't we see the warning signs? However, feelings of guilt amongst those who remain is not necessarily uncommon as they question whether or not they could have done more and sooner.

Mate, I am fascinated with the faith you have in the SBY mandate, and the idea that gaining 60.8% of the popular vote in the presidential election in some way gives him a mandate to be more forceful on the international stage and in diplomatic relations.

I have to admit that I do not see the connection here. This is not a criticism, rather I am jut trying to understand and make the connections :D

Harry Nizam H. said...

Rob ...
Thank you very much for your kind comments which I always respect.