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Political influence of right violators creating impunity

Kompas - February 12, 2007

Jakarta – The end of efforts to solve cases of human rights violations indicates the strength of the political influence of human rights violators on the government. A House of Representatives’ (DPR) recommendation to the president to form an Ad Hoc Human Rights Tribunal based on a proposal by the DPR’s Commission III will be difficult to make a reality.

Speaking in Jakarta on Sunday February 11, the Deputy Director of the Human Rights Working Group, M Choirul Anam, said that the government and the DPR are both reluctant to resolve human rights violations. The Attorney General persists in wanting to form an Ad Hoc Human Rights Tribunal first of all to follow up on the results of the investigation by the National Human Rights Commission. This is has caused the government to be seen as still wanting to protect human rights violators. “The political influence of the real perpetrators of human right violations is still extremely strong”, he said.

The are still no assurances that the DPR’s proposal to the president for an Ad Hoc Human Rights Tribunal will go ahead because the case has a direct relationship with the DPR member’s constituents. The Trisakti, Semanggi I and II, the 1998 May riots and the forced disappearance of 13 activists in 1997-1998 are different from the Tanjung Priok case, which involved the actual constituents of the political parties.

According to Choirul, the delays in dealing with various human rights cases also occurs in other countries that are facing a phase of political transition. The DPR should take more initiative in pushing for past human rights violations to be resolved.

Choirul went on to say that particularly in the case of the forced disappearance of the 13 activists, the Attorney General should not need to wait for the formation of an Ad Hoc Human Rights Tribunal. The victims have still not been found so the legal proceedings into these cases are still ongoing.

Meanwhile the head of the Impunity Monitoring and Institutional Reform Division of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), Haris Azhar, proposed that the DPR present an interpellation motion to the president over the Attorney General’s refusal to investigate the human rights perpetrators. “There should be an interpellation motion”, said Haris. (mzw)

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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