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Munir case back to square one, human rights back to Suharto’s New Order
Detik.com - January 10, 2009
M. Rizal Maslan, Jakarta – “The courts are simply an extension of the perpetrators of human rights violations”. Thus spoke the late human rights activist Munir during a speech at a demonstration at the Supreme Court in 2004. Likewise is the human rights situation at the start of 2009, including the investigation into his murder.
“The exposure of the murderer of human rights defender Munir has truly returned to square one with the by verdict by South Jakarta District Court judges who acquitted the defendant Muchdi PR,” said Indonesian Human Rights Watch (Imparsial) managing director Rusdi Marpaung in a press release received by Detik.com on Saturday January 10.
According to Ucok – Rusdi Marpaung’s nickname – the verdict acquitting former National Intelligence Agency deputy chief Muchdi Purwopranjono of Munir’s murder overlooked several testimonies that were presented to the court on Purwopranjono involvement in the murder.
“This will not only impact upon efforts to uncover the Munir murder case, but will also impact upon guarantees [of the safety] of human rights defenders’ work in Indonesia”, he explained.
The acquittal of Purwopranjono on all charges continued Ucok, it a tragic blow against human rights in this country. The verdict again prolongs the chain of impunity (legal immunity) that was inherited from regime to regime and represents a concrete form of the state's conservatism.
Marpaung also explained that in Imparsial’s view, 2008 represents one in a series of dark years for the upholding of human rights in Indonesia. The return of state conservatism under the administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice President Jusuf Kalla has been reflected in a number of incidents where human rights guarantees have been abnegated, both civil political rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights.
State conservatism has emerged simultaneously in the institution of the presidency or executive, legislative and judiciary. This represents a concrete form of the state being unwilling to carry out its obligations in the context of protecting, advancing, fulfilling and respecting the human rights values mandated by the constitution.
“As a result, there is concern that in the future Indonesia will return to the dark period of [late President Suharto’s] New Order [regime]”, he said.
Marpaung added this conservative outlook has been marked with a strengthening of the state though the neglect of human rights as a part of state policy itself. State conservatism has also been marked by the state's position of affirming efforts to obstruct the exposure of human rights crimes committed by the state itself.
Imparsial warned that a number of cases allegedly involving state security personnel that occurred in the past have never been resolved. This includes for example cases of human rights violations in the Talangsari (Lampung) affair, the 1998 May riots, human rights violations in Aceh, the 1997-98 abduction of activities, the Alastlogo case and the case of police violence in Bengkalis.
“What in fact is happening that the state is defending [rights violators] and supporting a stand that obstructs justice. The state has begun to deny past human rights violations as a part of an effort to defend state authority and so that they are not a considered crimes”, he asserted. (zal/nwk)
[Translated by James Balowski.]
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