The Existence of Customary Law in the land Papua

The Existence of Customary Law in the land Papua

Papua is one of the largest islands in Indonesia which consists of two provinces, Papua Province and West Papua Province. The two provinces have Special Autonomy (Otsus) status just like Yogyakarta and Aceh, which means they can make their own regulations that are dissimilar from other provinces. Papua is synonymous with customary law or customs that are still very profound in the daily life of the local communityPapua is one of the largest islands in Indonesia which consists of two provinces, Papua Province and West Papua Province. The two provinces have Special Autonomy (Otsus) status just like Yogyakarta and Aceh, which means they can make their own regulations that are dissimilar from other provinces. Papua is synonymous with customary law or customs that are still very profound in the daily life of the local community.

Although people living in big cities such as Jayapura or Sorong have started to adopt a modern lifestyle and abandon Papuan customary law, people living in the interior of Papua’s forests or Papuan native tribes, as well as rural communities / villages still uphold their customary laws. This is apparent from the implementation of the unique customary law between each of the tribes in the interior of Papua’s forests.

One of the customary laws that still apply in Papua is Iki Palek, which is the tradition of cutting off a finger by someone from the Dani tribe as a sign of loyalty and the loss of a family member. The severed finger shows how many family members have left them. The majority of residents who perform this ritual are women, but there are also some men who do it as a final respect to family members who departed early.

Another reason why they do this is that according to the Dani tribe, crying alone is not enough to express sadness, the pain of having a finger cut is considered to represent the body & soul that has been torn apart due to the abandonment of a loved one. In addition, the finger is considered a symbol of harmony, unity and strength. This body part is also a symbol of living together as one family, one clan, one house, one tribe, one ancestor, one language, one history and one origin. In Papuan language, it is called “Wene opakima dapulik welaikarek mekehasik”. Another customary law that still applies in Papua is the customary law of the Enggros Tobati tribe. This law is one of the customary laws that have governed the Enggros Tobati community since it was first formed.

Tobati and Enggros are the names of two villages located in Youtefa Bay, Jayapura City. The geographical location of Tobati Village is in the South Jayapura District, Jayapura City, while the location of Enggros Village is included in the Administrative area of the Abepura District, Jayapura City.

The customary leadership system found in Enggros Tobati Village consists of traditional leaders / tribal chiefs (Charsori) whose leadership positions are obtained through heredity, similar to the monarchical government system, which is seniority in terms of birth order (birthright) and clan based on father’s lineage / patrilineal and passed down from generation to generation.

All matters relating to the activities of life of the local community regarding the rules, values, and disputes that occur between fellow communities are resolved and decided by the Charsori and Har-hbur. The role played by the Charsori and Har-hbur is very important in deciding, determining, and giving appropriate punishments for any development of activities or programs carried out by their indigenous peoples.

Like a national law, Enggros Tobati’s customary law recognizes provisions such as the principle of personality, meaning that criminal law is associated with the person, regardless of where that person is, criminal law is always attached to everyone. In principle, the customary law of Enggros Tobati also recognizes the territorial principle. Similar to an existing national law, Enggros Tobati’s customary criminal law is distinguished by the severity of the punishment according to the crime committed by the perpetrator. This means that if the perpetrator (dader) and the one who orders (doenpleger) participate in the act (mededader/medepleger), persuader (uitlokker), and aide (medeplichtige) are distinguished in terms of the severity of the punishment. Underage criminals are considered not to be punished, generally, they are returned to their parents unless the parents surrender or are unable to educate the child, they will be subject to criminal action according to the customary law of Enggros Tobati.

This also applies to perpetrators who have mental disorders / mental illness. The thing that needs to be underlined from these two things is that their actions are still criminal acts and violate the rules, but there are special reasons that prevent the perpetrators from being punished. Another customary law that still exists in Papua is paying a fine if someone kills a pig or a dog intentionally or unintentionally because dogs and pigs are very valuable animals in the customs of the Papuan people. The fines paid can also be tens to hundreds of millions of rupiah for a dead pig or dog.

In this era of globalization, customary law in Papua is highly dependent on its pluralistic society maintaining cultural values and ideal and procedural customary norms in order to select foreign values and norms as a result of globalization. In fact, we know that the majority of customary laws that apply are very unfair to one of the parties involved, whether it is the perpetrator or the victim. The fines paid by victims to perpetrators are also often very high to the point of being unreasonable, unlike if the same case is brought to a