The Jakarta Post
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Kontras wants ad-hoc court to bring justice to rights violators
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence
(Kontras) is calling for the President to establish an ad-hoc
human rights court to hear human rights abuse cases from the New
“Those cases include the May *98 tragedy, the abduction and
disappearance of activists, the shooting of Trisakti University
students and the Semanggi tragedy,” Kontras coordinator Usman
Hamid told The Jakarta Post after a meeting with the special
committee on missing persons at the House of Representatives in
Jakarta on Tuesday.
“The President must also urge all of his related subordinates to
investigate and resolve the issues regarding the fate of
activists who are still missing,” he added.
Usman said that should the President establish the ad-hoc court
on human rights, then two prominent figures would be greatly
“Those names – Wiranto and Prabowo Subianto – have been held
accountable for crimes against humanity, according to a report
by the National Commission for Human Rights *Komnas HAM*. The
court will surely implicate them,” he said.
Wiranto and Prabowo were prominent military generals during
president Soeharto’s New Order regime.
Wiranto was the supreme commander of the military during the May
*98 tragedy, in which thousands of men and women died on the
streets of Jakarta.
Survivors of the riots say that military personnel were involved
in the riots, which brought an end to the New Order government.
Many have also said that Prabowo was the leading actor behind
the abduction of activists at the dawn of the New Order era in
the late 1990s.
Regardless of reports from human rights groups about the
involvement of the two generals, both men have never faced
trial. Prabowo was only dismissed from his position as an army
officer when his subordinates, known as the rose team, went on
trial for the alleged abduction of activists.
Wiranto and Prabowo also participated in the recent July 8
presidential election as running mates for the Golkar Party’s
Jusuf Kalla and Megawati Soekarnoputri from the Indonesian
Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) respectively.
However, they were defeated by Yudhoyono and his running mate
Boediono, who garnered 60 percent of votes.
Usman said the government must also commit itself to ratifying
the United Nations’ convention on anti-abduction.
“The ratification will allow any victim to directly report to
the United Nations and ask for protection,” he said.
Rusdiyanto, the director for human rights empowerment at the
Justice and Human Rights Ministry told detik.com the ministry
would prioritize the ratification of the convention in its
“We actually have coordinated with all related institutions in
regards to ratifying the convention. However, we have a lot of
programs on our hands now. So, the ratification will possibly
take place in the next government’s term,” he said. (hdt)