State officials have insisted that there has yet to be sufficient evidence to press ahead with judicial mechanisms to settle past cases of gross rights abuses, a move activists have long demanded. (Antara Photo/Wahyu Putro A.)

Evidence Still Lacking to Proceed With Rights Abuse Cases: AGO

BY :JAKARTA GLOBE

MAY 20, 2016

Jakarta. State officials have insisted that there has yet to be sufficient evidence to press ahead with judicial mechanisms to settle past cases of gross rights abuses, a move activists have long demanded.

Years of investigations by the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) have resulted in reports of what it declared gross rights violation across Indonesia.

The findings have been submitted to the Attorney General's Office for further investigation long ago, but never proceeded due to technical issues.

AGO junior attorney for special crimes Arminsyah said on Friday (20/05) that Komnas HAM has yet to provide the required evidence before they could proceed with legal measures.

"There are many things still insufficient, including proof," Arminsyah said. "We are still examining whether there are indeed elements of gross human rights abuses or not."

The cases reported by Komnas HAM are the 1989 Talangsari massacre, the enforced disappearance of anti-Soeharto activists in 1997-98, the Trisakti University shootings, the Semanggi I and II shootings in 1998 and 1999, the mysterious killings of alleged criminals in the 1980s, the anticommunist purges of 1965-66 and abuses in Wasior in 2001 and Wamena in 2003, both in Papua.

Komnas HAM has been working on the case evidence for decades but the AGO always returned the dossiers for lack of evidence.

According to Indonesian law, the past cases of gross rights abuses will never expire, but the legal process has been very slow, especially when it comes to the AGO's approval of dossiers.

"There has been a symposium on the matter. Just wait for the development," Attorney General M. Prasetyo said.

The government staged a national symposium last month on the 1965-66 anticommunist purges, gathering hundreds of senior officials, retired generals, human rights activists, academics, as well as survivors of the massacres.

The results are now being deliberated by the government and will possibly lead to resolving past cases through a national reconciliation.

However, the plans may draw objections from rights defenders, who have warned against reconciliation efforts, saying they could fail to provide legal certainty for the victims and bring perpetrators to justice.

"This is deplorable as it will undermine the results of years of efforts by Komnas HAM," said Haris Azhar, coordinator of the Jakarta-based Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras). "It will only lead to an incomplete reconciliation; one that is conducted without revealing the truth."

Haris also demanded that the government sets up an ad-hoc court, as stipulated in Indonesia's law on a human rights court.

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