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Acehnese support peace deal but concerned about human rights trials

Fpdra.org - August 4, 2005

Miswar, Banda Aceh – August 15 will be a historical moment for the Acehnese people, because on that day the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and the Indonesian government will be signed.

A diverse range of responses have come from the Acehnese people on the signing. Athough everyone supports the peace process they still have doubts about some of the points in the MoU.

The Acehnese people’s doubts about the MoU are principally on the question of human rights trials for the perpetrators of human rights crimes in Aceh. This is bearing in mind the high level of rights violations which occurred during the period Aceh was declared a Military Operations Zone1 and under a state of martial law.

If this question of human rights trials for perpetrators of human rights violations is not clearly stated in the MoU, then this will become a new problem and the agreement will not be representative the Acehnese people’s wishes, explained Musliyadi, a student from the Syiahkuala University faculty of law.

Similar doubts have also been raised by the chairperson of Student Solidarity for the People (SMUR), Mahmudal. According to Mahmudal, the question of human rights violations must be deal with justly and not allowed to be reconciled through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

This is because the question is related to the basic rights of the people which were taken away by force and the perpetrators must therefore be tried in a human rights court he explained. If this point is not clearly stated in the MoU, then I am certain that many parties will reject the agreement, he said.


1. Between 1989 to 1998 Aceh was designated a special military operations area (DOM). During this period thousands of people, mostly civilians, were killed, disappeared or imprisoned as a result of military operations conducted against GAM.

[Translated by James Balowski.]
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