By: Ira Seligman, Pace International Law Review, Senior Associate
On July 17, 2009, two suicide bombers, suspected to be tied to Muslim extremist groups, entered the lobbies of two of Jakarta’s upscale multinational hotels and detonated explosives. The explosions rocked the lobbies of the Indonesian capital’s Ritz-Carlton and Marriot hotels, and killed nine people while injuring fifty three. In the wake of the bombings, the United Nations Security Council swiftly issued a statement condemning those responsible for the attacks. According to the U.N.’s Department of Information, the statement, signed by emissaries from all fifteen members of the Council, further expressed the international body’s full confidence in the abilities of the Indonesian government to “bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of [the] reprehensible acts to justice.”
Indonesian authorities suspect that these two bombings were related to previous attacks orchestrated by the Jemaah Islamiyah, the Southeast Asian terrorist network, which according to the New York Times, is linked to Al Qaeda. Jemaah Islamiyah has previously attacked sites that draw Western clientele, including the devastating bombing in 2002 of a Bali nightclub that killed two hundred people. Recently, however, authorities have more directly attributed the attacks to Noordin Mohammed Top, a fugitive and suspected terrorist in Southeast Asia who leads a splinter group of the Jemaah Islamiyah network. The Associated Press has reported that Indonesian police had discovered an Internet message, signed by Noordin Top, which claimed responsibility for the bombings.
The bombings followed closely on the heels of the reelection of Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The President won reelection in a landslide victory following Indonesia’s July 8 elections. In his first term, Mr. Yudhoyono, a moderate, spearheaded a sweeping campaign to rid the world’s largest Muslim democracy of domestic terrorism.