M Guruh Nuary, Jakarta – The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) says that the four year administration of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla has failed to resolve past cases of gross human rights (HAM) violations.
Widodo and his vice presidential running mate Ma'ruf Amin's election campaign (TKN) however say there has been progress during Widodo's administration.
"Since reformasi [the political reform process that began in 1998] have any HAM cases been resolved? Have they or not? Beginning with the era of Pak [Mr] Habibie [President B.J. Habibie], Gus Dur [President Abdurrahman Wahid], Bu [Mrs] Mega [President Megawati Sukarnoputri] and Pak SBY's [President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono] two terms in office, the question is what [cases] has been resolved? None", said Widodo-Amin TKN Deputy Chairperson Abdul Kadir Karding in the Menteng suburb of Central Jakarta on Sunday January 13.
"Why? These HAM [cases] have got stuck over evidence. During Pak Jokowi's term there has been far more progress, what progress? Pak Jokowi instructed the Attorney General to follow up on all of the Komnas HAM's [the National Human Rights Commission] findings, to conduct a criminal investigation. That's was Pak Jokowi's instruction okay", he added.
Karding said that the difficulty in finding evidence in these cases has meant that they have not yet been able to be taken to the criminal investigation stage. Nevertheless, continued Karding, Widodo has tried to pursue non-judicial channels.
"But the Attorney General must work professionally, according to the AG there are not yet any cases which are ready to be taken to the criminal instigation stage. So what has been done between Komnas [HAM] and the AGO, what Pak Jokowi did was meet with the victims [of the families]. He met with the victims to offer a non-judicial solution", said the National Awakening Party (PKB) politician.
However there are still some families of the victims which are asking that the cases be resolved through judicial channels. [But] problems will be encountered in finding evidence. Nevertheless, Karding said that Widodo is still trying.
"Because a judicial [process] would be impossible to finish, so it must be a non-judicial [process], so there is no historical burden in the future. But, some of these victim friends still want it to be through a judicial [process], that is must be proven legally, that's where the problem is. Don't look at it without [seeing] Pak Jokowi's work, his work. He made an effort then, his maximum [effort]", he said.
Earlier Kontras launched a four-year report on the handling of human rights under the administration of Widodo and Kalla in which they said that the government had failed to resolve or fulfill human rights issues.
"And second, what is also important and is of concern and has attracted public attention during the four-year leadership of Jokowi is resolving past gross human rights violations. This has been one of the indicators of the failure of the Jokowi-Jusuf Kalla administration in resolving or fulfilling the human rights agenda", said Kontras coordinator Yati Andriyani at her office in the Senen area of Central Jakarta on Friday January 11.
Kontras conveyed this in the context of providing notes in the lead up to the presidential debate which will be held on January 17. The first debate will take up the themes "Law, Human Rights, Terrorism". (jbr/jbr)
The meeting at the with the families of victims of past rights violations referred to by Karding took place on May 30 last year at the State Palace after Widodo made an apparently offhand remark about wanting to meet with the families which was then seized upon by Kamisan [Thursday Action] activists protesting in front of the State Palace.
The one hour meeting ended with Widodo saying that he would summon Security minister Wiranto and Attorney General Prasetyo – nether of which attended the meeting – "in the near future" and ask them to act as a bridge with the families.
Representatives of the families later said they were deeply disappointed with the outcome saying the meeting ended without achieving anything whatsoever and that it was nothing more than a cynical attempt at image building in the lead up to the 2019 presidential elections.
On January 11 Prasetyo again returned nine case dossiers on past gross human rights violations to the National Human rights Commission (Komnas HAM) saying that that his office was unable to proceed with a criminal investigation because no ad hoc Human Rights court exists, they occurred too long ago and there was a lack of evidence.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "TKN: Sejak Reformasi Kasus HAM Belum Selesai, Zaman Jokowi Lebih Maju".]