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Security chief Wiranto's 'sumpah pocong' aimed at dodging blame for 1998 riots

Akurat.co - March 5, 2019

Oktaviani – The "sumpah pocong" challenge thrown up by Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs Wiranto to former Army Strategic Reserves Command (Green Berets) commander Major General Kivlan Zein is inappropriate.

This was conveyed by Lokataru Foundation Director Haris Azhar in response to Wiranto's statement challenging Kivlan Zein to reveal the mastermind behind the May 1998 riots in Jakarta.

Azhar said that as a minister, never mind a coordinating minister (menko), Wiranto should not make provocative statements such as this.

"If there are still those who use sumpah pocong [to swear on one's mother's grave], this is as the phrase goes like a frog trapped in a coconut shell [narrow minded but acting as if one knows everything]. How can a minister still talk about sumpah pocong? Is it proper given he's a menko?", said Azhar following a discussion at the Muhammadiyah Religious Outreach Centre in the Menteng suburb of Central Jakarta on Tuesday March 5.

Azhar believes that this shows that it was not wrong when the Civil Society Coalition rejected Wiranto appointment as security minister because he is alleged to be involved in human rights violations in 1998.

Azhar suspects that Wiranto's reason for challenged Zein and presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto to make a sumpah pocong is because all of them are involved in cases of gross human rights violations.

Yet, said Azhar, the United Nations (UN) and Indonesian laws already regulate the process for resolving human rights violations. Azhar suspect that Wiranto is reluctant to implement UN regulations in resolving rights violations because has already been named by the UN.

"And the global community will automatically know this person's movements so he can't go anywhere [overseas], because his name is included in a UN report. So he doesn't want to use a resolution mandated by UN law because it would trip him up, so he ends up using a sumpah pocong", he said.

As has been reported, Wiranto recently challenged Prabowo and Zein to make a sumpah pocong as an effort to prove he was not behind in the 1998 riots.

Wiranto's challenge was in response to an accusation Zein who stated that Wiranto as the commander of ABRI [the Indonesian Armed Forces, now TNI] held full military authority in Indonesia when the riots took place.


In 2003, Wiranto was indicted on charges of crimes against humanity by a UN-backed court for his role in the Indonesian military violence during East Timor's 1999 independence referendum. Along with former Army Special Forces (Kopassus) commander Prabowo, who is now running as a candidate for the 2019 presidential elections, Wiranto was also implicated in the anti-Chinese riots in May 1998 in a 2003 report by the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM). Kivlan Zein (also spelt Zen), who like Prabowo was dismissed from Kopassus over their involvement in the abduction and disappearance of pro-democracy activists in 1997-98, is as a retired hardline general and staunch supporter of Prabowo who claims Wiranto ordered him to setup the Islamic vigilante group Pam Swakarsa to counter student demonstrations ahead of the 1998 Special Session of the People's Consultative Assembly.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Wiranto Tantang Kivlan, Haris Azhar: Kok Ada Menteri Masih Ngomongin Sumpah Pocong?".]

Source: https://akurat.co/news/id-545878-read-wiranto-tantang-kivlan-haris-azhar-kok-ada-menteri-masih-ngomongin-sumpah-pocong