SBY ignores missing persons case: Ombudsman
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The Indonesian Ombudsman said that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had failed to implement House of Representatives’ recommendation to solve the case of disappearances of rights activists between 1997 and 1998.
“The President should explain why after three years he has not yet issued a presidential decree to follow up on the recommendation,” Indonesian Ombudsman deputy chairman Azlaini Agus said on Thursday.
The Ombudsman, a state body monitoring violations by state authorities, wrote to the President on May 15, reprimanding him for his failure to heed the House’s recommendation, which called for the establishment of an ad hoc human rights court to examine the violations.
In its recommendation, the House also urged the President to order the Attorney General to investigate the case, find the whereabouts of 13 individuals declared missing by the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), pay compensation to their families as well as ratify the UN convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
Yudhoyono forwarded the letter to the Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto on May 24.
“We don’t need the minister’s statement. What we actually need is the President’s statement,” Azlaini said.
Azlaini said that Yudhoyono’s inaction had given rise to legal uncertainty for the victims’ families.
Mugianto, one of the kidnapping victims, who now chairs the Families of Missing Persons Association (IKOHI), said that Yudhoyono lacked the commitment to take action.
“I don’t think the President was unable to deal with the case, he was just unwilling to do it,” he said.
Effendi Simbolon, a former member of the House’s special committee tasked with solving the abduction cases, suspected that Yudhoyono dragged his feet in resolving the case because he was one of members of the Officers Honorary Council [DKP], which was tasked to investigate the Indonesian Military’s Special Forces [Kopassus] members, including patron of the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) Prabowo Subianto, who were accused of orchestrating the kidnappings.
“He must be reluctant to bring his fellow generals to justice,” Effendi said.
State administrative expert Irman Putra Sidin said that the House could in fact pressure the President into following its recommendation.
“The House can use its interpellation and voting rights,” Irman said.
Political expert Arbi Sanit said that as a last resort, families of the victims could file a complaint to the Constitutional Court, which could recommend the Supreme Court to force the President to comply with the House’s recommendations.