[ETAN-key] Justice Delayed For Aceh's Human Rights Abuse Victims
John M Miller
fbp at igc.org
Fri Aug 1 05:27:15 PDT 2008
The Jakarta Post
Friday, August 01, 2008
Justice Delayed For Aceh's Human Rights Abuse Victims
Hotli Simanjuntak , The Jakarta Post, Banda Aceh
Justice for victims of conflict and human rights abuses in once-restive
Aceh could be a long time coming, with the government and the
court yet to show any commitment to the establishment of a human
The settlement of unresolved human rights abuses during and after
the Aceh conflict, an integral part of the reconciliation and
reintegration program, forms a central clause in the peace agreement
signed by the government and the then Free Aceh Movement (GAM)
in Helsinki on Aug. 15, 2005. The agreement was also incorporated
into the 2006 Aceh regional administration law.
The reintegration of former combatants and conflict victims has
progressed slowly, with neither civilians nor servicemen implicated
in the human rights abuses during the conflict and the military
operation (DOM) being brought to trial.
Supreme Court chief justice Bagir Manan has stressed that the
court has no authority to try people for past human rights abuses
because the 2000 law on human rights trials did not apply retroactively.
"They (trials for human rights abuses) come under the authority
of the Indonesian president and the government, which so far
have not proposed to establish a human rights court," he said
after swearing in the military court here Monday.
The implication is that the Supreme Court could establish an
ad hoc court to deal with unresolved human right abuses if the
government or the president proposed it.
The 2006 Aceh administration law orders that a human rights court
be established one month after the law itself takes effect, meaning
the court should have been established in September 2006.
Kontras Aceh coordinator Asiah Uzia has repeatedly criticized
the government's slow work in handling the reintegration and
the reconciliation program, which she said could undermine the
2009 general elections.
She said the majority of conflict victims and former combatants
had yet to receive any compensation from the government, while
military officials implicated in human rights abuses during the
conflict, the military operations in 1989 and 1998 and the military
emergency in 1999-2000 had not been brought to trial.
"The unresolved human rights abuses could be settled if the government
showed the political will to set up an ad hoc human rights court,"
The Aceh provincial administration could establish a reconciliation
and truth commission (KKR) to handle the human rights abuses
despite the Constitutional Court's annulment of the law establishing
a national commission for reconciliation and truth, she added.
Saifuddin Bantasyam, a legal expert at Syah Kuala University
in Banda Aceh, accused the government of buying time in its attempt
to protect human rights perpetrators in the province.
He warned that delays in establishing a human rights court would
have political implications for the stability and credibility
of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's government and the upcoming
"Local parties could take strategic steps for the upcoming legislative
election and legislators who are former rebels will raise the
unresolved human rights abuses as a national issue in the domestic
and international arena," he said, adding this could worsen the
vertical conflict between Aceh and Jakarta.
Ali Zamzami, chairman of the Solidarity for Conflict Victims
Brotherhood (SPK HAM), stressed that conflict victims were still
waiting for the government to settle the unresolved human rights
abuses and that the current peace was not sustainable unless
the human rights abuses were resolved.
He also said perpetrators of past human rights abuses could be
brought to justice if the government had the political will to
set up an ad hoc human rights court.
Terjemahan (atas jasa "Kataku"):
Joyo Indonesia News Service
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