The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) and representatives of Indonesia’s NGOs are gathering in Geneva this week to assess the country’s seriousness in resolving issues related to alleged human rights violations, particularly those allegedly committed by prominent figures.
The United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) launched a formal session with the NGOs to receive more input on the implementation of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in Indonesia.
Before the committee, Komnas HAM questioned the government’s seriousness in proceeding with the investigation on cases that could be categorized as gross human rights violations.
“Despite preliminary findings from Komnas HAM, the Attorney General’s Office [AGO] has refused to further investigate the cases,” said Komnas HAM commissioner Roichatul Aswidah before members of the UNHRC on Monday.
In response to the critics, the government stated that a special team from the AGO was established in 2006 to follow up on the findings, which were deemed insufficient.
The team has requested Komnas HAM submit additional evidence in accordance with Indonesia’s Criminal Code (KUHP) for further prosecution.
However, Roichatul claimed the issue was not the standard of evidence, but more the willingness to follow up the recommendations issued by Komnas HAM and legislators.
Roichatul said there was already a precedent in using the Komnas HAM standard of evidence, which had been thoroughly followed up by the AGO in cases relating to alleged human rights violations in East Timor, the Tanjung Priok incident in North Jakarta, and the Abepura torture case in Papua.
“Why couldn’t the same standard of evidence be used for other cases, including the enforced disappearances during the reform movement [in 1997 and 1998]?” she said.
The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) in its alternative report to the UNHRC also questioned the lengthy process taken to establish an ad-hoc human rights court to prosecute cases of enforced disappearances.
The ICJ, comprised of 60 eminent judges and lawyers across the globe, hinted that the delay was related to the existence of prominent figures on the political stage.
“The ICJ believes the delay in the establishment of an ad hoc court is due to the fact that further investigations into alleged enforced disappearances from 1997 to 1998 may involve allegations concerning several prominent members of the Indonesian government who continue to be influential in the country to this day, including Prabowo Subianto and former General Wiranto,” the ICJ said.
Prabowo, commander of the Army’s Special Forces (Kopassus) at the time, is currently the chief patron of the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party, while Gen. (ret.) Wiranto, then chief of the Indonesian Military (TNI), is now the chair of the People’s Conscience Party (Hanura).
Both are presidential candidates who will likely contest the 2014 election.
National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) spokesperson Andy Yentriyani underlined the need for effective remedies in responding to the past violations of human rights, particularly concerning women.
The May riot in 1998 saw hundreds of Chinese women brutally harassed, with many traumatized.
The hearings at the UNHRC on Indonesia’s progress in upholding human rights will last until Thursday.
List of rights violations that have not been solved:
1. Trisakti 1998, Semanggi I 1998 and Semanggi II 1999;
2. May Riot 1998
3. The Wasior incident in 2001-2002 and Wamena incident in 2003
4. Enforced disappearance 1997-1998
5. Talangsari 1989
6. Summary execution-style killings (mysterious shooting) 1982-1985
7. The tragedy of 1965-1966
Source: Komnas HAM