Resolving the Historic Human Rights Abuse Case
Activists have urged the government to make public the recommendations of a national symposium of victims of the 1965 communist purge held in Jakarta on April 18-19. It was held to seek reconciliation for the 1965 mass killings, the recommendations of which the government has promised to use in resolving the historic human rights abuse case.
Forum 1965 activist Wara Ananditari said Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto should fulfil his promises that the ministry would push efforts to settle serious past human rights abuses, including the 1965 mass killings, in a comprehensive and transparent manner.
“We cannot see any transparency, however, as the recommendations are being hidden from us […] The public and victims of the 1965 mass killings have every right to know the outcome of the reconciliation process,” Wara said on Wednesday.
Harry Wibowo of the International People’s Tribunal on the 1965 Crimes against Humanity (IPT 1965) said the symposium’s recommendations should be regarded as a public document because they were drafted using the input of all participants in the event. He said it was the responsibility of the state to publish the document to guarantee the public’s right to information and justice. “If the government still lacks the political will to publish the document, we will push for it through a legal process and file this case with the Central Information Commission,” Harry said.
Meanwhile, the International People’s Tribunal on the 1965 Crimes against Humanity (IPT 1965) plans to recommend to the UN that the Indonesian government be considered responsible for acts of genocide during the 1965 communist purge in an attempt to press the current government into resolving the issue. IPT 1965 coordinator Nursyahbani Katjasungkana said her team was preparing to take its verdict to the UN Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) upcoming Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo made the resolution of past human rights abuse cases one of his campaign promises but so far he has made no effort to act on his promises.
Following the non-binding verdict reached by the IPT 1965, Indonesia had its own legal system and no external party could dictate the way the nation solved its problems.
The Indonesian government is scheduled to give a presentation on the actions it is taking to protect and promote human rights at home during a UPR session in April and May next year. As a member of the UN, Indonesia will have to sit through a review during the quadrennial meeting. The IPT 1965 would present its findings during that session in order to counter reports prepared by the government, which will likely exclude details on the violence that erupted in 1965.
The IPT 1965 had been emboldened in their efforts after meeting with members of the Presidential Advisory Board (Wantimpres), who told them bluntly that the President would focus his attention on the economy and infrastructure.
As a last resort, Nursyahbani said the IPT 1965 would take the case to the UN Security Council (UNSC). “It is part of the plan. But it may take a long while to do this because in order to eventually see them, the UNSC must deem that the purge was an extraordinary crime. We need to gather political support from other countries,” Nursyahbani said. She said a country need not be a member of the UNSC to call for an extraordinary court. However, membership of the UNSC, something which Indonesia is currently seeking, would help her cause.
On April 17 next year, Nursyahbani said, the report on the implementation of human rights in Indonesia would be reviewed in the Universal Periodic Review at the Human Rights Council in Geneva. “This also will be an opportunity for us to submit the IPT 1965 verdict as a non-governmental report from Indonesia,” Nursyahbani said.
According to Saskia E. Wieringa, Chairperson of the Foundation IPT 1965 said that to this day victims and survivors of the mass killings and other crimes against humanity committed by the military and the militias associated with them after Oct. 1, 1965, still suffer from stigma. They are seen as being responsible for plotting a coup, and the women in particular are associated with alleged sexual orgies, in which the bodies of generals were mutilated. In actual fact the generals were murdered by soldiers under the command of two colonels, in a plot to abduct them and bring them before then president Sukarno. Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) leader DN Aidit and a very small group of his closest associates were involved in this plot. However, subsequently the whole party, which was operating legally and counted some 3 million members, as well as thousands of other unarmed and innocent supporters of president Sukarno, were blamed for this “coup” by Gen. Soeharto. To dehumanize them, as a precursor to the mass killings, mass detentions, torture, enslavement and sexual violence that followed, a campaign of hate propaganda was engineered, spread by the media that was totally controlled by the military. This propaganda campaign has been exceedingly successful, lasting longer than the Nazi propaganda against the Jews. The propaganda version of the events of Sept. 30 to Oct. 1, 1965 had a significant dehumanizing impact, helping to justify the extralegal persecution, detention and killing of alleged suspects and particularly to legitimize the use of sexual violence against women. This propaganda also contributed to the denial of survivors’ civil rights and the absence of any attempt to remedy the injustices against them.
Saskia E Wieringa, a sociologist and feminist at the University of Amsterdam, said other elements of this campaign held that the PKI was against religion, against the Pancasila state ideology and must be held responsible for the killings of religious leaders since the 1948 “Madiun affair” in East Java. The panel of judges of the International People’s Tribunal on the 1965 crimes against humanity in Indonesia (IPT 1965), held last November in The Hague, considered two elements of this campaign. The prosecution focused on two central charges of the decades-long campaign. First, that the PKI was the “mastermind” behind the failed coup of Sept. 30 to Oct. 1 1965. And second, that during the coup the young women present at Lubang Buaya (where the officers who were not yet dead were murdered and their bodies thrown into a disused well in East Jakarta) were encouraged by the PKI to engage in immoral behavior, seeking to seduce the generals in “a lurid, naked dance”, and then “castrating the generals” and “killing them after gouging out their eyes”.
Whilst, Lieutenant General (Ret) Soedibyo, a former of BAKIN chief said Marxism is the social philosophy formulated by Karl Marx as the concept to build the human life characterized by the prosperity and equality. Lenin being a politician thought that to implement Marxism being a philosophy into practical life should be adopted as the political concept of the Communist State and for that purpose it should be formed The Communist Party. Communist Political Party is the only mean to establish the Communist State.
To reach the goal of Marxism, the movement of the Communist Movement should be supported by the Political Wing and the Military Wing that cordially work. The failure of the Communist coup in September 1948 in Madiun was caused mainly by the weak leadership of the Communist Party of Indonesia to control the political and military wing in the action. This bad experience has inspired DN Aidit to create the Special Bureau members of the CPI. This is the beginning of the September 30 Movement in 1965.
However, the government intention to resolving the historic human rights abuse case will be misguided by PKI symphatizers and communist supporters as a political chance to purge communist image in Indonesia.
I think a communist is still a latent and actual vulnerability for Indonesia in the era of democratization, so our government must be alerted on these threats. However, a communist supporters have “ a second wind” after a national symposium of victims of the 1965 communist purge held in Jakarta on April 18-19.
*) Kurniadi, the alumni of Padjajaran University (Unpad), former Director of Mass Communication in Lembaga Analisa Politik dan Demokrasi, Jakarta.