Government claims Jokowi wanted rights cases tried in court, even if they lost

CNN Indonesia – February 21, 2023
Widodo (left) accepts report from PPHAM at State Palace in Jakarta – January 11, 2023 (Antara)

Jakarta – Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs Mahfud MD claims that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo wanted cases of past gross human rights violations to be brought to trial.

The plan, said Mahfud, was once discussed after the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) was unable to show sufficient evidence in a gross human rights violation case. Widodo, who has governed Indonesia since 2014, is said to have wanted to the cases processed in court.

"For the president it's easy, I'm easy, just like that, but if Komnas HAM can't prove it, doesn't have the evidence, it will be challenged again in the Supreme Court", said Mahfud at the Coordinating Ministry for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs in Jakarta on Tuesday February 21.

He said that Widodo did not have a problem even if the fate of these cases is the same as the four gross human rights violation cases before that were tried in court. The government didn't have a problem if in the end the Supreme Court again releases the defendants.

Mahfud said they wanted the cases to be processed legally first. The government would leave the final decision entirely up to the courts. "It would be okay, they get released by the court, not never tried in court", said Mahfud.

The plan however was never followed up after the Attorney General gave his considerations to Widodo on the government's authority.

"The Attorney General said it like this, 'Right, Pak [Mr President], it's embarrassing if you already know you're going to lose, it gets challenged in court'. That's why we're looking for a middle road. Later we talked again", said Mahfud.

On January 11, Widodo made a public statement acknowledging that 12 gross human rights violations had occurred in Indonesia.

The man who is currently serving his second term as Indonesia's president said that the government will pursue non-judicial channels that will prioritise the rehabilitation of victims. Despite this, the government has not closed the door to a judicial process. (dhf/kid)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Mahfud Klaim Jokowi Ingin Bawa Pelanggaran HAM Berat ke Pengadilan".]