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Imparsial protests unsupervised unearthing of graves in Aceh

Detik.com - February 21, 2006

Fitraya Ramadhanny, Jakarta – Indonesian Human Rights Watch (Imparsial) has protested the unearthing of 23 sites suspected to be graves of victims of human rights violations in the North Aceh town of Bireun. Imparsial also expressed its disappointment with police for allowing it to happen.

The unearthing of the graves between November 2005 and January 2006 can be said to have damaged material evidence. “Komnas HAM [the National Human Rights Commission] and the police made no attempt to secure material evidence”, said Imparsial’s managing director Rusdi Marpaung at his offices in Jakarta on Tuesday February 21.

From Imparsial’s findings, the graves were admittedly unearthed by local people seeking missing family members. The majority of the graves were in the vicinity of TNI (Indonesian military) posts that had long since been abandoned. Marpaung added that the unearthing of the graves should have involved a forensic expert so that it could reveal what had happened. “Komnas HAM should have gone there and the police [should have] send out a forensic team, then reported the results. So the affair could be settled”, he said.

Imparsial is recommending that the government protect evidence related to human rights violations for the sake of prosecuting the law in the future. Unearthing the graves without supervision could obstruct efforts to solve the cases. “The public has the right to look for their missing family members, but in the context of human rights violations there is evidence that cannot be just allowed to disappear”, he explained. (umi)

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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