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IKOHI

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

[KONGRES II IKOHI] Solidarity Message from Religious Group for Human Rights,

Thu, 02 Mar 2006 10:05:37 +0800
From: Religious Group for Human Rights
ChairpersonIKOHI

Thank you very much for your invitation to send a message for the occasion.

First of all we would like to congratulate you for getting this event being organised. It is quite important to keep the memory of this sad events alive so that awareness of the gravity of the crimes persists and that a movement for the prevention of similar tragedies in future is made to emerge.

In this context may I suggest two things:1. You will find in our website
www.ahrchk.net under the books sections, "books on line" a book with the title Memories Of a Father. It will be good if this book can translated into bahasa and distributed. As the book draws out the feelings, the sentiments and the human aspects related to disappearance it can have a real impact on the readers.

2. I am taking a section of the statement issued by us for the international Human Rights day on Indonesia. Please feel free to take relevant sections from the statement for your purposes.

Thanks and let us be in touch. Good progress with your discussions and deliberations.

Philip Setunga

==========================
Indonesia

Two historical events of great importance to prospects for human rights in Indonesia occurred in 2004. The first was the direct election of a president. The second was the enactment of a long-awaited unified judicial system with the Supreme Court at its apex. For over four decades, the Indonesian judiciary was under direct control of the executive; as this has now been ceded to the Supreme Court, for the first time the principle of judicial independence has been established. However, in-principle independence is altogether different from practice. Whether or not the new president has the political will to reform the entire prosecution system so that the rule of law is properly established the independence accorded to the Supreme Court remains to be seen. And unless accompanied by reforms to the police, judiciary and other agencies, justice will remain illusory. The many entrenched corrupt practices in the legal system, such as verdict trading and abuse of managerial powers, need also to be addressed through monitoring and disciplinary agencies. A former Supreme Court judge has himself recognised that the main obstacle to the effective functioning of the judiciary in Indonesia is the widespread corruption among its ranks.

At the start of December, the National Human Rights Commission of Indonesia requested the national assembly to revise human rights law no. 39/1999, so that it can press state institutions to follow up on its findings and recommendations, in particular, the police and public prosecutor. In fact, the attorney general's office has so far refused to even discuss the findings of the commission over killings and riots in May and November of 1998. The AHRC has already demanded that the attorney general use the in-depth investigation reports on these incidents placed at his disposal as a means to initiate criminal prosecutions. Regrettably, it has appeared that to date the attorney general has been interested primarily in causing delays in justice for the thousands of victims rather than in beginning direct investigations, as recommended by these reports. The effect of these delays is to grant impunity to the violators of gross human rights abuses.

The failure of the judiciary and the attorney general to enforce even the existing laws in the country impartially and effectively has guaranteed impunity not only to the perpetrators of recent abuses, but also those going back to the assumption of power by the New Order regime in 1965. The massacre of over a million people and imprisonment of huge numbers of others created the climate of impunity that persists to this day throughout the archipelago. However, rather than filling the hearts of victims and their families with hope, the recent drafting of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission Bill has caused deep anxiety. Instead of being intent upon properly addressing the massive rights violations committed under the previous regime, the bill, which was passed this year, seems intent upon protecting the perpetrators of abuses from any subsequent attempts to hold them legally responsible for their actions. Although recognising at last that the gross human rights violations of previous decades must be investigated "in order to establish the truth, to maintain justice and a culture that value human rights", the bill stipulates that mutual forgiveness between perpetrator and victim is a precondition for compensation, restitution and rehabilitation. In the event that the perpetrator of the crime is unwilling to be a party to this charade, the only alternative is for the case to go to an as yet untested ad hoc human rights court, which may involve considerable time and expense.

Extreme forms of torture and cruelty continue to be perpetrated by the police and security forces in Indonesia up to the present day, whether in Aceh, Papua or even in Jakarta, as evidenced by the recent shooting into a crowd of protesters with live bullets in Bogor. In that case, public pressure caused a commission to be appointed that found there was excessive use of force; however, the officers involved only received warnings. Meanwhile, a district court in Padang, West Sumatra recently sentenced five policemen to 18 months in jail for beating a drug suspect to death. When officers who shoot into a crowd get only a warning, and others who beat someone to death get only 18 months춁nd this is a rare instance of state officers being tried and convicted of such an offence춛hat confidence can people have in such a justice system?

Despite the gains of recent times, the military is still the pre-eminent power in Indonesia. Although overt power has been largely transferred to the national assembly, the military is well represented at all levels of policy-making and implementation. In conflict zones, it is the sole authority. The continued strength of its grip on all aspects of administration in Indonesia means that cases of human rights abuse committed in areas of civil conflict are never properly investigated or brought to the courts. In fact there is a strong feeling among ordinary people that such conflicts are being allowed to continue in order that the military can justify its entrenched dominance. This certainly applies where the police are concerned: recent efforts to grant the police a measure of autonomy are yet to take root. The historic control exercised by the military over the police persists both in mind and practice. The election of an army officer as president does little to assuage doubts that the military may not be called upon to take a new and equally powerful role for itself in the future.

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IKOHI was set up on September 17, 1998 by the parents and surfaced victims of disappearances. Since then, IKOHI was assisted by KONTRAS, until October 2002 when finally IKOHI carried out it first congress to complete its organizational structure. In the Congress, IKOHI decided its two priority of programs. They are (1) the empowerment of the social, economic, social and cultural potential of the members as well as mental and physical, and (2) the campaign for solving of the cases and preventing the cases from happening again. The solving of the cases means the reveal of the truth, the justice for the perpetrators, the reparation and rehabilitation of the victims and the guarantee that such gross violation of human right will never be repeated again in the future.

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