Victims of 1965 massacres accuse Komnas HAM of lacking ‘good faith’

Java Post – January 17, 2012
Victims of the 1965-66 affair protest at Komnas HAM office in Jakarta - January 17, 2012 (JPNN)
Victims of the 1965-66 affair protest at Komnas HAM office in Jakarta - January 17, 2012 (JPNN)

Jakarta – Scores of victims of the 1965-66 affair protested at the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) office in Jakarta today. The protesters were demanding an explanation from Komnas HAM on the results of an investigation into alleged gross human rights violations that occurred during the transfer of power from President Sukarno’s Old Order to President Suharto’s New Order regime.

“Komnas HAM, where is your report”, shouted Sumarsih, an activist from the Solidarity Network for the Families of Victims (JSKK) in a speech at Komnas HAM on Thursday January 17.

The protesters come from organisations in solidarity with the victims of human rights violations who came with the specific intent of asking Komnas HAM to hand over the results of Komnas HAM’s work that they have been conducting since 2009.

They claimed the commission was taking too long to complete the report because Komnas HAM lacks the good faith to fully resolve the case. Despite the fact that the report has been completed it has never been officially endorsed.

“Whoever the people are Komnas HAM must work to serve the constitutional rights of society”, said Haris Azhar from the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras).

The Institute for the Study of the 1965-1966 Massacres (YPKP 65) claims that between 500 thousand and 3 million people were killed during the bloody post-independence period. More than 20 million victims and their families suffered as a result of the negative stigma of being involved in the affair.

After giving speeches for some time, a representative from Komnas HAM emerged and meet with the protesters. Nurkholis, a Komnas HAM commissioner who is also the chairperson of the team investigating the 1965 case, explained that basically the report on the results of the investigation has already been completed.

During a plenary meeting last January however, he said it was decided that Komnas HAM could not officially indorse the investigation results yet. The reason being that there were still many issues that had to be clarified and completed so that the investigation could produce recommendations that are ready to be used in legal proceedings. “The team’s mandate has been extended by three months”, said Nurkholis.

Despite protests from the demonstrators about the time taken to complete the report, Komnas HAM assured them that the extension of the team’s mandate was important in order that the recommendations can be maximised and address the demands and rights of the victims. (zul/jpnn)

[Korban Peristiwa 1965 Tagih Komnasham – Jawa Pos. Selasa, 17 Januari 2012. Translated by James Balowski.]