Astrid Felicia Lim, Jakarta – The People's Democratic Party (PRD) is pushing for the investigation into the July 27 case(1) to be continued including the investigation of the generals [who have been implicated in the affair]. If former general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) is found to be involved then he must be disqualified as a presidential candidate.
The call was issued by the chairperson of the PRD, Yusuf Lakaseng, at a press conference at the PRD offices in Tebet, South Jakarta, on Monday July 14. In a statement, the PRD demanded that the government of President Megawati Sukarnoputri thoroughly investigate the July 27 case to the point where it actually fingers the parties who were involved. The PRD also demanded that other cases of human rights violations be fully investigated.
"We charge that [recent moves to reinvestigate the July 27 case] are a political commodity if they only have the aim of discrediting SBY or other political figures and will not go as far as bring them to court. [This will also be the case] if it not accompanied with investigations into other cases of human rights violations, such as the Semanggi tragedy(2), the May tragedy(3) and others", said Lakaseng.
According to Lakaseng, the desire by Megawati's to instead postpone the investigation into the July 27 case indicates that she has no commitment to resolve the affair. "We call for an investigation to be conducted into all of the figures who were involved at the time of the July 27 [incident], that is [Jakarta governor] Sutiyoso, [former military chief of political affairs] Syarwan Hamid, [former armed forces chief] Feisal Tanjung, [former East Java military commander] Imam Utomo and even [former President] Suharto as the supreme commander [at the time]", said Lakaseng. "If it is in fact proven that SBY was involved, its consequence will be [his] disqualification from being nominated as president", he added.
Also present at the press conference was labour activist Dita Indah Sari who also giving support to other victims of July 27 to give testimonies in the case. "I have invited the victims who are not involved in supporting a specific presidential candidate to go to the Attorney General and the National Human Rights Commission and call for all of the civilian political elite and the military who were involved to be tried", she explained.
Lakaseng also took the opportunity to deny that the PRD is involved in the 2004 Presidential Election Fraud Monitoring Committee which was launched on June 9. "The PRD's name was included there only because of a unilateral decision by the committee. [We are not involved] because we view this committee as being extremely contradictory, because it includes blocking support for SBY. We are not [involved] there", he explained. (asy)
1. Following weeks of protests at the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) headquarters in Central Jakarta by pro-Megawati PDI supporters after the Suharto regime engineered Megawati's removal as the party's democratically elected chairperson, on July 27, 1966, paid thugs backed by the military attacked and destroyed the PDI offices resulting in the death of as many as 50 people. Popular outrage at the attack sparked several days of mass rioting and violent clashes with police. Many had hoped that with Megawati's ascendancy to the presidency those responsible would be held accountable however Megawati and other leading party figures have publicly distanced themselves (refusing to attend annual commemorations) from the issue. Those who were eventually brought to trial in late 2003 have all been low ranking soldiers or civilians and have either been acquitted for lack of evidence or given light sentences. None of those believed to have organised or led the attack have been brought to trial.
2. The Semanggi I and II cases involved the fatal shooting of dozens of student demonstrators in Jakarta in November 1998 and September 1999 respectively.
3. On May 12, 1998, security personnel shot into a crowd of student protesters from the Trisakti University near their campus in West Jakarta, killing four students and injuring several. This proved to be the spark which set-off three days of mass demonstrations and rioting in Jakarta which eventually lead to the overthrow of Suharto.
[Translated by James Balowski.]