Justice delayed is justice denied: Nur Kholis (center), the head of the investigation team working under the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), displays evidence on Monday that confirms military officials’ involvement in the killings of at least 500,000 members of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) during the 1960s and 1970s. The team has urged the government to prosecute relevant military officials, who worked under the command of late former president Soeharto, and to deliver an official apology and rehabilitation to the victims and their families. (JP/Jerry Adiguna)
The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) has declared in its findings on Monday that the systematic prosecution of alleged members of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) after the failed 1965 coup was a gross human rights violation. The commission urged that military officials who were involved in the purge be brought to trial.
Nur Kholis, the head of the investigative team on the 1965 coup, said that state officials under the Operational Command for the Restoration of Security and Order (Kopkamtib) led by former president Soeharto who served from 1965 to 1967, and between 1977 and 1978, should be taken to court for various crimes, including mass rape, torture and killings.
Nur Kholis said that his team had handed over the 850-page report to the Attorney General’s Office (AGO). “We hope that the AGO will follow up the report,” he said.
During more than three years of investigation, the team had gathered testimony from 349 witnesses.
Nur Kholis said that military officials had deliberately targeted innocent civilians during the operations, which occurred nationwide. “Many of the victims had nothing to do with the communist party or its subordinates. The military officials made it look like those people were linked to the party,” he said.
After the Sept. 30, 1965 movement, thousands of people, some estimate as many as 500,000, who were suspected of being PKI members were killed. Many more were imprisoned for years without charge.
The discrimination against people associated with the PKI continued with the government barring them from being civil servants, military officers, teachers or clerics. Former members of PKI also found it hard to get jobs due to the ex-political prisoner status on their identity cards.
In 2004, the Constitutional Court ruled that ex-members of PKI were allowed to contest elections. Two years later, the government deleted the ex-prisoner label from identity cards.
Nur Kholis said that the team demanded the government issue a formal apology to victims and their families. The apology should be followed by rehabilitation, reparation and compensation.
The Murder Victim’s Research Foundation (YPKP) said that the late former president Soeharto was the person most responsible for the crimes. However, the fact that he had passed away should not deter the AGO from investigating the case. YPKP said that several other perpetrators remained alive. (fzm/lfr)