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Attorney General says whoever is president it will be difficult to try past human right cases

KBR - June 1, 2018

Jakarta – Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo is pessimistic about the chances of resolving past gross human rights violations through legal channels.

Prasetyo's justification for this is that investigations into these cases are often hampered by the inadequate investigations by the National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM). Prasetyo claims that up until now the investigation dossiers submitted by Komnas HAM are weak on evidence.

He says that because these cases happened a long time ago so material evidence and witnesses are difficult to find. As a result the investigation reports which have been received are, according to Prasetyo, limited to assumptions. He doubts that any leader or party tasked with resolving these cases will be capable of bringing them to trial.

"If forced to pursue a legal process we can already imagine [what will happen], it will just go back and forth, I calculate this has happened 10 times since 2007-2008 when the investigations were carried out. But the result was just the same", Prasetyo told journalists at the Pancasila building at the Foreign Affairs Ministry on Friday June 1.

"We have to be honest and state that whoever is leader of this country, whoever the Attorney General is, whoever Komnas HAM's [leadership] is, I feel it would be difficult for the legal process to go to trial, this must be understood. It's not that we don't want to resolve them, not that, but the problem is a legal one", he added.

Prasetyo claims that he is unable to do much if case witnesses and material evidence are not presented. Because, he says, his office works based on facts and "not just assumptions or opinions from sources that are not directly related to the incident when it happened".

He also went on to deny that his office is having difficulties resolving these cases because a number of strategic positions in the government are held by people alleged to have been involved in past human rights abuses.

"No, that's not true. Pak President [Joko Widodo] himself has already asked the Attorney General to reexamine [the cases], yes our examination was like that. You can go ask Komnas HAM for a balanced view, whether our statement correct", he said.

A number of non-government organisations concerned with human rights such as the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI), the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Jakarta) and the network of families of victims of human rights abuses have criticised the appointment of former General Wiranto as Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs (Menkopolhukam).

Human rights activists and survivors believe that the inclusion of Wiranto as part of the administration has made the resolution of these cases even more difficult. Particularly since the coordination for resolving past gross violations of human rights in under the authority of the Menkopolhukam.

Wiranto is often cited as being the actor behind the May 1998 riots. When the riots erupted, Wiranto held the post of Defense and Security Minister as well as the commander of the Armed Forces, then known as ABRI.

After former president Suharto stepped down, Wiranto faced allegations of involvement in the riots, the abduction of activists and the shooting of student activists. He is alleged to have been directly or indirectly involved in the Trisakti, Semanggi I and Semanggi II student shootings in Jakarta in 1998.

During the 540th Kamisan action – actions held in front of the State Palace every Thursday – President Widodo met with representatives of the survivors and families of victims of rights violations at the State Palace on Thursday May 31.

Widodo was accompanied at the meeting by Presidential Chief of Staff (KSP) Moeldoko, presidential staff member Teten Masduki and presidential spokesperson Johan Budi. Wiranto and Prasetyo meanwhile were not present.

Human rights activists and victims have warned Widodo not to just turn the meeting into a political commodity and have urged Widodo to take concrete steps to resolve past human rights violations by, for example, forming a presidential committee.

In a written statement the groups again warned Widodo that as president his platform on fully investigating human rights cases has been slow, even though this point was included in his Nawa Cinta or nine point priority program.

The groups said that a number of things can be seen as a retreat on human rights issues, including, among others, appointing Wiranto as Menkopolhukam, allowing the Attorney General to refuse to investigate nine cases of gross human rights violations which have already been investigated by Komnas HAM, his refusal to publicly release the investigation results of the Fact Finding Team (TPF) into the 2004 assassination of renowned human rights defender Munir and, ignoring the House of Representatives (DPR) recommendation to the president to issue a Presidential Decree on the formation of an ad hoc human rights court, form a team to find the missing activists abducted in 1997-98, rehabilitate the victims and families of victims and to ratify the International Convention on Forced Disappearances.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was Jaksa Agung: Siapapun Pemimpinnya akan Sulit Lanjutkan Kasus HAM ke Pengadilan.]

Source: http://kbr.id/terkini/06-2018/jaksa_agung__siapapun_pemimpinnya_akan_sulit_lanjutkan_kasus_ham_ke_pengadilan/96250.html.

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