Jakarta. Usman Hamid, executive director of Amnesty International Indonesia, said this week that a review of the national human rights body's mandate may be necessary as part of efforts to resolve human rights violations in the country.
The National Commission of Human Rights (Komnas HAM) is strongly dependent on other institutions to address cases of human rights violations.
After concluding an investigation into human rights violations, Komnas HAM reports its findings to the Attorney General's Office, which then decides what steps to take.
However, the attorney general has repeatedly returned Komnas HAM's reports through the years, citing various reasons, according to a report by the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras).
"Komnas HAM is very dependent on the cooperation of other institutions, including the attorney general. They have concluded their investigations on Wamena and Wasior and submitted it, but the attorney general has yet to pursue these cases," Usman said at a press conference in Jakarta on Monday (02/07).
In 2001, the death of five members of the National Police's Mobile Brigade (Brimob) and one civilian in Wasior, West Papua, led to the torture and murder of civilians, allegedly committed by members of both the police and military.
In 2003, independence activists allegedly attacked the headquarters of the Wamena District Military Command in Papua. In retaliation, security forces reportedly committed torture, murder and set fire to civilian's homes.
Last month, Attorney General H.M. Prasetyo said investigations into past human rights abuses face the challenge of time, as both witnesses and perpetrators "may not even be alive anymore."
He reportedly referred to Komnas HAM's report as "assumptions and opinions."
The attorney general's comment came even after President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo reaffirmed his commitment to resolving cases of past human rights abuses and instructed Prasetyo to follow up on these cases.
Komnas HAM commissioner Amiruddin Al-Rahab emphasized the need for both commitment and consistency to resolve cases of human rights violations.
"Consistency and commitment from other government institutions are crucial, it must not only come from Komnas HAM," Amiruddin said.
Usman said the two main challenges that prevent investigations of human rights violations from going forward are a lack of cooperation from the attorney general, and from security forces.
He explained that members of the military and police do not always give their full cooperation when called in by Komnas HAM, which negatively affects the commission's investigations.
"We feel [Komnas HAM] must undergo a review, to have its mandate revised, so that it could have more authority to ensure that the results of its investigations are binding on the next institution that is responsible for dealing with such cases," Usman said. "In this case, it will be the attorney general, so that there will actually be a follow-up."