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Jakarta Post

Komnas HAM publishes reviews of 7 major human rights abuses

  • Ina Parlina

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, November 15, 2014   /  09:31 am

The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) has started to publicly release their executive reviews of probes into seven major unresolved cases of human rights abuses. The releases, begun Friday, are intended to raise public awareness and put extra pressure on President Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo to settle the cases.

The unresolved cases consist of the 1989 Talangsari massacre, the forced disappearances of anti-Soeharto activists in 1997 and 1998, the Trisakti University shootings, the Semanggi I and Semanggi II student shootings in 1998 and 1999, the mysterious killings of alleged criminals in the 1980s, the anti-communist massacres of 1965 and the various abuses that took place in Wasior and Wamena in Papua in 2001 and 2003 respectively.

The executive summaries, which cover the commission'€™s findings concerning the alleged human rights violations and its recommendations to the state to prosecute the cases, would soon be made available on the Komnas HAM website. The commission will also distribute copies to human rights groups and networks.

'€œThese documents need to be taken by the public as a collective effort to understand the importance of the process of settling gross human rights violations,'€ commissioner Roichatul Aswidah told a press conference on Friday.

However, the summaries do not mention the identity of the alleged perpetrators because of arguments that such details should only be presented to law enforcers or courts.

For example, in the summary of its report on the probe into the Talangsari case, which was completed in July 2008, the commission found 130 civilians were murdered by the military and the police in the Lampung massacre.

According to the document, there were 19 individuals who were allegedly responsible in the case, including Gen. (ret) AM Hendropriyono, because they were the ones in charge of the military and police units allegedly involved in the 1989 incident in Lampung, which was sparked by allegations that residents were attempting to set up an Islamic state.

'€œWhat we need is the President to show his commitment in his Nawacita [or nine programs, one of which prioritizes a just settlement of past human rights violations],'€ said another commissioner, Natalius Pigai. '€œAnd it actually does not need to be hard work since he only needs to issue a presidential decree ordering the attorney general [to handle the case or to set up an ad hoc human rights tribunal].'€

The 2000 Law on Human Rights Trials allows the Komnas HAM to follow up reports on alleged gross human rights abuse cases and to conduct preliminary investigations, but gives the authority to investigate and prosecute those cases to the attorney general. The law also stipulates that an ad hoc human rights court can be set up by a recommendation from the House of Representatives and a decree by the President after obtaining the investigation results from the two institutions '€” the Komnas HAM and the attorney general.

Only minutes after the press conference, a human rights group, the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), along with several victims of the Talangsari case, went to the Komnas HAM to demand it summon Hendropriyono for him to reveal the truth about the incident.

Roichatul said, however, that her office had decided not to summon Hendropriyono because their probe had been completed.

'€œI assure you, our investigation found that it was a killing, not a suicide,'€ Roichatul said, later handed out the executive review to the activists. '€œJust like it is stated in the documents ['€¦] Now, these are now becoming a public document.'€

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