Yudhoyono to be sued over extension of civil emergency in Aceh

Detik.com – November 28, 2004
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visiting Aceh (Detik)
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visiting Aceh (Detik)

Arin Widiyanti, Jakarta – President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is to be sued by 4.1 million Acehnese people on the grounds that his broke his campaign promise by extending the civil emergency in Aceh. The suit is be registered with the Central Jakarta State Court by the People’s Lawyers Union (Serikat Pengacara Rakyat, SPR).

“[When] SBY [Yudhoyono was] in Lhoksemauwe [East Aceh] during the second-round [of the presidential election] campaign [he] said [he] would resolved the conflict in Aceh peacefully and with dignity, because he knew the Acehnese people has suffered enough as a result of the prolonged conflict. But instead, through Presidential Decree Number 2/2002 dated November 18, SBY extended the civil emergency in Aceh for six more months”, said the plaintiff’s coordinator, Thamrin Ananda, from the Acehnese Popular Democratic Resistance Front (Front Perlawanan Demokratik Rakyat Aceh, FPDRA) at a press conference in Jakarta on Sunday November 29.

In addition to this said Thamrin, Yudhoyono also said that the problems in Aceh could be resolved through granting special autonomy to the province. “But special autonomy and a civil emergency are two things which contradict each other so they have never run [properly] to this day”, he said.

SPR chairperson Habiburokhman SH said that according to research by the Institute for Social and Economic Research, Education and Information (LP3ES), voters in Aceh chose Yudhoyono because of this promise. “But what has now occurred is not that he has revoked the civil emergency but rather [he] has supported the extension of the civil emergency and this represents a contravention of the law”, said Habiburokhman.

Therefore he explained, SPR will be registering a class action by the Acehnese people with the Central Jakarta State Court against Yudhoyono on Wednesday December 2.

Although the suit being made on behalf of 4.1 million Acehnese people, according to Habiburokhman SPR will be issuing a public notification of the suit in Aceh itself. “So that if there are Acehnese people who do not agree with the suit they will have the right to write a letter of objection to the Central Jakarta State Court’s clerk of courts”, he said.

During the press conference which was attended by representatives from 15 regencies in Aceh, the disappointment felt over the extension of the civil emergency was apparent. Raihana Diani from Greater Aceh said “The civil emergency will only be a waste of money. Four trillion rupiah was budgeted for one year and now there are indications that 2.7 trillion rupiah has been embezzled by the Regional Emergency Military Commander Major Endang Suwarya. This information was obtained by the Corruption Eradication Commission”.

Diani also lamented Yudhoyono’s visit to Aceh on Friday November 29. “SBY only came to Aceh in an effort to legitimise the civil emergency. SBY indeed arrived to talk about corruption in the administered by the civil authorities but did not touch on the substantial discussion [which is of concern to] the Acehnese people, that is security”, she said.

According to Ananda, in reality security over the last six month of the civil emergency had not improved. “In Greater Aceh yesterday there was an abduction of a member of Relatives in Solidarity with the Victims of Human Rights Violations named Nasrudin, who was arrested by Koramil [sub-district military command] on the legal grounds [Aceh is under a state] of emergency”, he said. (ast)

[Translated by James Balowski.]