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Rights victims file suit against Sjamsoeddin’s appointment

Kompas - April 6, 2010

Jakarta – On Monday April 5 the victims and families of victims of the abduction and forced disappearance of activists in 1997-1998, Semanggi I and II and Trisakti filed a suit with the Jakarta State Administrative Court (PTUN) against the President of the Republic of Indonesia over the president’s decision to promote Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin as deputy defense minister.

The victims, namely Karsiah, Yati Ruyati, Mugiyanto, Tuti Koto and Nurhasanah, have appointed the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) as their legal attorney. They are asking the PTUN to annul, declare invalid or revoke a part of Presidential Decree Number 3/P/2010 on the Appointment of Deputy Ministers.

The president appointed three deputy ministers, namely Deputy Defense Minister Lieutenant General Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin, Deputy Minister for National Development Planning Lukita Dinarsyah Tuo and Deputy Education Minister Fasli Djalal, at the State Palace on January 6, 2010. At the time, Sjamsoeddin’s appointment attracted protests.

Legal violation

There are two grounds for the suit according to Kontras coordinator Usman Hamid. The first is that the presidential decree violates the law because it appointed Sjamsoeddin – who is still an active Indonesian military (TNI) officer – to a civilian and political post. “This shows that that President Yudhoyono has no commitment to implementing civil supremacy,” said Hamid.

The second reason is that based on input from the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), Sjamsoeddin should be examined by an ad hoc human rights court for human rights violations. The results of Komnas HAM’s investigation clearly states that Sjamsoeddin is in part responsible for the abduction of 13 activists who disappeared in 1997-1998, the Trisakti shootings in 1998 and the Semanggi shootings in 1998 and 1999.

Although Sjamsoeddin has never been properly questioned as either a witness or suspect, according to Hamid, this is because the Attorney General’s Office has failed to move on the case, yet Komnas HAM has clearly stated that Sjamsoeddin was involved. “Both as a TNI operational commander as well as Jakarta military commander,” said Hamid.


Commenting on the case, Defence Ministry Public Relations Bureau Chief Wayan Midhio said the human rights issue is long past and has been proven to be valid. The reason being that Sjamsoeddin has never been examined as a witness, let alone a suspect. Midhio believes that the demands are largely political in nature. (EDN)

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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