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IKOHI

Monday, May 14, 2007

Indonesia to Ratify Rome Statute of ICC

Ratifying ICC to 'deter rights crimes'
National News - Thursday, May 10, 2007
Tony Hotland, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta


Indonesia's anticipated ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is expected to have a deterring effect on serious crimes by the state because of the possibility of involvement by the international court in conducting investigations and prosecutions.

Scheduled for next year, the ratification will oblige Indonesia to comply with the international court's prosecution processing standards in trying crimes involving genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression.

Not retroactive in nature, the court deals only with crimes committed after it took effect July 1, 2002, following ratification by the 60th country.

Mugiyanto, an activist and head of the Affiliation of Families of Missing Persons, said Wednesday that ratification would grant another layer of protection to Indonesia's citizens, allowing them to personally file cases with the Hague-based court.

"It will be a warning to future dictators and human rights violators not to engage in such crimes, as in the past, unless they want to face the international court," he said at a seminar attended by over 20 Asia-based non-governmental organizations, which are all members of the Coalition of ICC.

The statute's ratification, Mugiyanto said, would also justify demands to amend the 2000 Law on Human Rights Court, which he said is full of legal loopholes and favors key culprits.

"The law will have to insert an internationally-recognized rule of procedures in trying grave crimes to ensure fair trials. It will also state, as is the case in the ICC, elements of such crimes that our law doesn't include at all," he said.

Mugiyanto stressed, however, that the government should stick to its commitment of abolishing impunity, which activists believe continues and has led to the failure to bring down the mastermind of the 1984 Tanjung Priok massacre and to prosecute anyone over the Trisakti, Semanggi I and II student shootings.

The Foreign Ministry's director of economic, social and culture rights at the Directorate General of Multilateral Cooperation, Suryana Sastradiredja, said his office had been in talks with those with interests in the planned ratification, including the Indonesian Military and the Attorney General's Office.

"It's clear that we'll ratify the statute with support from the parliament, which we've gained. It will deter future crimes on human rights and lessen impunity," he said.
Suryana said Indonesia had declined to sign the much-criticized Non-Surrender Agreement with the United States, which seeks to exempt the citizens of both countries from international court.

The statute has been ratified by 104 countries, each of which is now compelled to upgrade legislation to a level applied by the ICC.

While non-members are not required to meet such obligations, their citizens are still subject to investigation should they commit grave crimes in a member country.

The ICC can pursue investigation and prosecution if its prosecutors believe a human rights crime has occurred based on public information or if a state or the UN Security Council requests such action.

The court will take action only if a country's justice system is unable or unwilling to take measures against alleged criminals. More information on the court is available at www.icc-cpi.int.

Indonesia is currently chairing the UN's new Human Rights Commission and is a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.

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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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