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Jakarta Post

Govt forms team to settle past rights abuses

  • Hasyim Widhiarto

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, May 22, 2015   /  01:10 pm
Govt forms team to settle past rights abuses

Long overdue: Attorney General M. Prasetyo (left) hosts a meeting of top government officials and members of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) at his office in Jakarta Thursday. They discussed a plan to resolve past gross human rights abuses. JP/Wendra Ajistyatama

President Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo'€™s administration has decided to establish a non-judicial mechanism to resolve past human rights abuses in the absence of solid ground on which to settle the cases legally.

Speaking after a closed-door meeting with Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno, National Police chief Gen. Badrodin Haiti, National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) commissioner Nur Kholis and former Constitutional Court chief justice Jimly Asshiddiqie, Attorney General M. Prasetyo announced that the government was planning to establish a reconciliation committee to seek resolutions to past human right abuses.

'€œThe establishment [of the committee] requires no law, while a Truth and Reconciliation Commission [KKR] can only be established under a [new] law,'€ Prasetyo said Thursday at the Attorney General'€™s Office (AGO) in South Jakarta.

'€œWe opted for a non-legislative approach, since there are many cases that took place long ago. We have found it difficult to collect evidence, contact witnesses and find the perpetrators [for such old cases].'€

Komnas HAM'€™s Nur Kholis said the committee would be made up of representatives from related government institutions, civil society groups and families of the victims.

'€œThe committee will serve as a consultative forum, with families of the victims included in the committee,'€ he said, adding that the establishment of the committee was pending approval from Jokowi.

Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna H. Laoly previously said the government would prioritize a bill to set up a KKR.

The much-awaited bill states that gross human rights abuses taking place before the 2000 Human Rights Tribunals Law was passed should be resolved through the KKR. It also says that decisions made by the KKR will be legally binding and not subject to legal challenges.

The House of Representatives has also included the KKR bill on its list of 37 priority bills targeted to be passed by the end of this year.

Earlier this week, the House Legislation Body (Baleg), however, claimed the government had yet to formally submit the draft bill on the establishment of the KKR.

'€œ[The government] has only submitted the title of the bill, without any academic draft or detailed explanation,'€ United Development Party (PPP) lawmaker and Baleg member Arwani Thomafi said.

Nur said the progress of KKR bill deliberations was uncertain, making it difficult to predict how it would all turn out.

'€œEven if we press ahead with the KKR, it will take too long. If it is enacted this year, the KKR will be set up next year. Then we will have to select the commissioners. Thus, the KKR will only be able to begin working in 2017,'€ he said.

Following years of investigations, Komnas HAM came up with reports citing seven unresolved cases of past rights abuses. The cases are: the 1989 Talangsari massacre, the forced disappearance of anti-Soeharto activists in 1997-1998, the Trisakti University shootings, the Semanggi I and II shootings in 1998 and 1999, the mysterious killing of alleged criminals in the 1980s, the communist purge of 1965-1966 and abuses in Wasior in 2001 and Wamena in 2003, both towns in Papua.

Komnas HAM has submitted the results of years of investigations to the AGO for further investigation, but to no avail because of the prolonged debate over technical issues. (alm)

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