Subject: Kontras wants ad-hoc court to bring justice to rights violators

The Jakarta Post Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Kontras wants ad-hoc court to bring justice to rights violators

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) is calling for the President to establish an ad-hoc human rights court to hear human rights abuse cases from the New Order era.

"Those cases include the May *98 tragedy, the abduction and disappearance of activists, the shooting of Trisakti University students and the Semanggi tragedy," Kontras coordinator Usman Hamid told The Jakarta Post after a meeting with the special committee on missing persons at the House of Representatives in Jakarta on Tuesday.

"The President must also urge all of his related subordinates to investigate and resolve the issues regarding the fate of activists who are still missing," he added.

Usman said that should the President establish the ad-hoc court on human rights, then two prominent figures would be greatly implicated.

"Those names - Wiranto and Prabowo Subianto - have been held accountable for crimes against humanity, according to a report by the National Commission for Human Rights *Komnas HAM*. The court will surely implicate them," he said.

Wiranto and Prabowo were prominent military generals during president Soeharto's New Order regime.

Wiranto was the supreme commander of the military during the May *98 tragedy, in which thousands of men and women died on the streets of Jakarta.

Survivors of the riots say that military personnel were involved in the riots, which brought an end to the New Order government.

Many have also said that Prabowo was the leading actor behind the abduction of activists at the dawn of the New Order era in the late 1990s.

Regardless of reports from human rights groups about the involvement of the two generals, both men have never faced trial. Prabowo was only dismissed from his position as an army officer when his subordinates, known as the rose team, went on trial for the alleged abduction of activists.

Wiranto and Prabowo also participated in the recent July 8 presidential election as running mates for the Golkar Party's Jusuf Kalla and Megawati Soekarnoputri from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) respectively.

However, they were defeated by Yudhoyono and his running mate Boediono, who garnered 60 percent of votes.

Usman said the government must also commit itself to ratifying the United Nations' convention on anti-abduction.

"The ratification will allow any victim to directly report to the United Nations and ask for protection," he said.

Rusdiyanto, the director for human rights empowerment at the Justice and Human Rights Ministry told the ministry would prioritize the ratification of the convention in its future agenda.

"We actually have coordinated with all related institutions in regards to ratifying the convention. However, we have a lot of programs on our hands now. So, the ratification will possibly take place in the next government's term," he said. (hdt)

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