Jakarta – Attorney General ST Burhanuddin has filed an appeal against a guilty verdict in a lawsuit filed by family members of victims of the Semanggi shootings over his statement that the tragedies did not amount to gross human rights abuses.
"The [government attorneys] filed an appeal against the PTUN ruling on Monday," Attorney General's Office (AGO) spokesperson Hari Setiyono said on Thursday, as quoted by kompas.com.
While examining the files, Hari said, the appellate panel of judges could summon the relevant parties.
In filing the appeal, the AGO's deputy attorney general for state administrative court affairs, Feri Wibisinono, argued that the AGO alleged some mistakes had been made by the Jakarta State Administrative Court (PTUN) in judging the case.
"We have to appeal a false verdict that is not based on proper procedural law," he said.
The Jakarta PTUN previously granted the lawsuit, calling the attorney general's action an "act against the law" and that his statement violated the general principles of good governance.
Burhanuddin made a controversial remark during a hearing with the House of Representatives on Jan. 16. During the meeting, he stated that a House plenary session had previously "concluded that the events [Semanggi tragedies] were not gross human rights abuses and that the National Commission on Human Rights [Komnas HAM] should not follow up [the matter]".
In the verdict, PTUN judges ordered Burhanuddin to immediately make a statement in his next working meeting with the House that the Semanggi tragedies were serious human rights violations based on the results of an investigation by Komnas HAM.
Komnas HAM has submitted the dossiers of its investigation into the Semanggi tragedies to the AGO, but the process has been stalled for years.
The plaintiffs, mothers of victims of the Semanggi I and II tragedies, and their legal team previously wished that the attorney general would not file an appeal and affirm that the government would settle the case with strategic actions.
Expert witnesses argued that the major obstacle in solving cases of serious human rights violations, especially the Trisakti and Semanggi tragedies in the late 1990s, had never been the lack of legal capacity, but the lack of political will to handle the cases. (syk)