Victims say ‘old forces’ behind AGO’s refusal to investigate 1965 killings

Voice of America – November 12, 2012
YPKP 1965 chairperson Bedjo Untung (Kompas)
YPKP 1965 chairperson Bedjo Untung (Kompas)

Andylala Waluyo, Jakarta – The chairperson of the Institute for the Study of the 1965-1966 Massacres (YPKP 65), Bejo Untung, told Voice of America (Indonesian language) that the victims of the 1965-1966 affair are disappointed that the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) has returned a case dossier on human rights violations that occurred in 1965 to the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM).

In July, Komnas HAM announced the results of its investigation into the affair declaring that the systematic retribution against those alleged to be members of or sympathisers of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) following the 1065/1966 affair was a gross violation of human rights.

The AGO returned the case dossier last week and requested that Komnas HAM collect new evidence on the 1965/1966 cases as well as the mysterious shootings (Petrus) in 1982-1985. Deputy Attorney General for Special Crimes (Jampidsus) Andhi Nirwanto said that that it would be difficult to investigate an incident that occurred decades ago.

Untung said that the YPKP 65 had already predicted that the AGO would return the case dossiers. According to Untung, this demonstrates the government’s lack of seriousness in uncovering the case.

“I am concerned that there was political intervention by old forces in the case, so they are repeatedly drawing it out so that the 65-66 affair is never fully investigated”, said Untung, a former member of the [PKI affiliated] Indonesian Association of Youths and Students (IPPI), who was jailed for almost nine years under the regime of former President Suharto on charges of involvement in the PKI and the failed coup on September 30, 1965.

Untung said that the Komnas HAM report into the 1965-1966 affair is very comprehensive so it is strange in his view that the AGO believes that further evidence is need to back the report.

“As far as I have studied it, the Komnas HAM report is very comprehensive, because it covers all of the issues and cases of violence spanning the 65-66 period from North Sumatra to Ambon. And [from] the sampled cases it is very clear, the military was involved in the acts of violence”, he said.

“And all of [my] colleagues, who were questioned by the Komnas HAM investigation team, explained who was behind it. Including the commanders of Kodam [regional military commands], Kodim [district military commands] and Koramil [sub-district military commands], and this is absolutely clear from the written [signatures] in our release papers, this could be traced right? How much more comprehensive could it be? I am concerned that it’s just a fabrication by the Attorney General”.

Nur Kholis, the chairperson of the ad hoc investigation team into the 1965-66 gross human right violations, who is also a Komnas HAM commissioner, told VOA that the team will endeavour to complete the deficiencies cited by the AGO.

“The Attorney General provided annotations and also suggested several things that need to be complimented by Komnas HAM. This includes, among other things, a lack of witnesses, questions about alleged perpetrators, and also technical and legal deficiencies such as whether or not the investigators and witlessness were put under oath. Because of this therefore the team will hold a meeting, and then begin to work on the things that were deemed inadequate over the next 30 days”, said Kholis.

In its report, Komnas HAM cited evidence that there were nine kinds of humanitarian crimes that represent gross human rights violations that occurred during the 1965-66 affair. The nine types of crimes against humanity include murder, forced evictions or relocation of populations, or physical violations of the liberty of persons in the form of torture, rape and forced disappearances.

This conclusion was arrived at by Komnas HAM after taking testimonies from 349 witnesses, who comprised victims, perpetrators as well as people who witnessed the events directly. The total number of victims of the affair is estimated to be between half-a-million to 3 million people.

Komnas HAM also recommended to the AGO that the mysterious shootings that occurred in 1982-1985 be followed up.

[Korban Peristiwa 1965-1966 Kecewa dengan Kejaksaan Agung – VOA Bahasa Indonesia. 12.11.2012. Translated by James Balowski.]