AGO Rejects Komnas HAM Report on 1965 Massacres i

By : webadmin | on 10:16 AM November 10, 2012
Category : Archive

Rangga Prakoso, Ezra Sihite,Bayu Marhaenjati& Firdha Novialita

The Attorney General’s Office has rejected a plea by the National Commission on Human Rights to conduct an official investigation on alleged human rights abuses in 1965.

The commission (Komnas HAM) submitted a report to the AGO in regards to the aftermath of an aborted coup in 1965 that saw at least 1.5 million people killed.

“The evidence Komnas has gathered was insufficient to justify an official legal investigation,” said Attorney General Basrief Arief said on Friday.

The Komnas HAM report was based on its own investigations in various parts of the country. It included interviews with 349 eyewitnesses in East Nusa Tenggara, South Sulawesi, Bali, Sumatra, Maluku, and Java where members of the banned Communist Party were allegedly butchered.

The report also sought to reveal the truth about mysterious killings that took place between 1982 and 1985 when President Suharto’s government restored peace and order through a killing campaign allegedly performed by elements of the armed forces.

The killings were known as “pembunuhan misterius [petrus],” or mysterious killings.

After concluding its investigation, Komnas HAM’s investigators said they had enough evidence to declare gross human rights violations in both massacres, and submitted the report to AGO.

Andhi Nirwanto, the Deputy Attorney General for Special Crimes, said formal and material requirements had to be met before AGO would take any action.

“Apart from questioning witnesses, we need to find the actors,” Andhi said, suggesting that Komnas HAM’s report failed to satisfy the requirements that are needed to launch a formal investigation.

The AGO’s announcement came despite various independent studies that have concurred with Komnas Ham’s findings. Some studies estimate that the number of casualties might have exceeded 1.5 million people.

Human rights activist Hendardi slammed the AGO’s decision, saying that political pressure from groups involved in the purge was behind the decision.

“It shows the reluctance of the country’s elites to confront its past mistakes and bring those responsible to justice,” he said. “The tragedy has continued to haunt the nation for 47 years, and will continue to do so unless we come to terms with it.”

In recent years, pressure has been mounting from civil groups for the government to come to terms with the events that preceded President Sukarno’s ouster, and Suharto’s rising as the country’s ruler. They have urged for the official rewriting of the country’s history to include the truth about the killing campaigns, including the 1965 Communist purge, seen as the country’s darkest period.

However, political moves from influential groups such Nahdlatul Ulama, the Golkar Party and the military continue to block efforts to shed light on the past incidents, the groups say.

If the AGO accepted Komnas HAM’s report, it would have launched an official investigation and proposed that the House set up a human rights tribunal.

Deputy secretary general of Golkar, Leo Nababan, has said the House would not be interested in acting on Komnas HAM’s report because the Partai Komunis Indonesia case has long been closed.

Nababan said the government had done the right thing by restoring the political rights of the family members of former PKI members and that any further gesture of humanitarian action would be overkill.

“Forces loyal to [state ideology] Pancasila, including [Nahdlatul Ulama’s youth wing] GP Ansor, will stand up against such a maneuver,” Nababan warned.

Deputy House Speaker Priyo Budi Santoso, also from the Golkar Party, has also opposed the idea of setting up a special ad hoc court to deal with the past killings.

Djoko Suyanto, the coordinating minister for politics, legal, and security affairs, said that the military’s action during the 1965-66 period was justified by law because the aim was to salvage the state and the nation from falling into the hands of subversives.“If you want to look at the events of 1965, you need to use a pair of 1965 lenses, not 2012 lenses,” Djoko said.