Amnesty slams Jokowi's plan to bestow honorary rank of full general on Prabowo

Source – February 27, 2024
Subianto (left) and Widodo at 77th TNI anniversary event – Undated (Kemhan)

Ihsanuddin, Jakarta – Amnesty International Indonesia Executive Director Usman Hamid believes that the plan to award the rank of honorary four-star general on Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto will be a problematic decision.

"The President (President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo) may not be politically blocked from making this decision, but from a moral and ethical perspective, it is certainly a problematic decision", said Hamid when contacted o Tuesday February 27.

Hamid said that awarding of the rank of honorary general cannot not be accepted as an excuse to launder the sins of perpetrators of serious human rights violations.

"Legally, especially [in terms of] international human rights law and international criminal law, this decision will not be accepted", said Hamid.

"Don't let the awarding of an honorary rank be seen as 'washing over' the controversy over Prabowo's past military career regarding past human rights violations. Impunity must not be allowed or normalised", he said.

As is known, Prabowo is suspected of being involved in the kidnapping and forced disappearance of 23 pro-democracy activists in 1997-98. To this day, 13 of the abducted activists are still missing and are presumed dead.

The Civil Society Coalition has continued to push for the case to be resolved.

"Prabowo's statement admitting that he had returned those who were kidnapped does not actually erase his crimes", wrote the Coalition in a statement on November 13, 2023, as quoted from the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) website.

The Coalition believes that Prabowo's confession actually strengthens allegations that Prabowo was indeed the party that must be held accountable.

This is also reinforced by a decision of the Officers Honorary Council (DKP) in 1998 to dismiss Prabowo from military service because he was proven to be involved in the abductions.

On August 21, 1998, Prabowo was dismissed from his position as commander of the Army Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad).

The kidnapping of activists in 1997-98 was carried out by a special team called the Rose Team (Team Mawar), which was a small team formed from the Army's Special Forces (Kopassus) Command Group IV by Major Bambang Kristiono. At the time of the abductions, Prabowo was the commander of Kopassus.

Prabowo to receive honorary rank

Prabowo will receive the rank of honorary four-star general from President Widodo tomorrow. The award ceremony will be held during a TNI-Polri (Indonesian military-Indonesian police) leadership meeting (Rapim) at the TNI Headquarters in Cilangkap, East Jakarta, on Wednesday February 28.

"Yes, that's correct, [he'll be] promoted to the rank of honorary general", TNI Information Center (Kapuspen) head Major General R Nugraha Gumilar told on Tuesday.

As is known, Prabowo's last rank was Lieutenant General or a three-star general. Thus, the former commander of Kopassus and Kostrad will hold the rank of four-star or full general (Hor).


According to a document leaked in July 2014, which was a scanned copy of the official letter signed by members of the Indonesian Military's (TNI) Officer's Honorary Council (DKP) tasked with hearing the case of Prabowo's complicity in the abduction of pro-democracy activists in 1997-98, the former Army's Special Forces (Kopassus) commander was also fired from his position due to insubordination and disregard for the military code. The DKP concluded that Prabowo had disgraced and disregarded the military system and committed a criminal offense and on August 21, 1998, dismissed him from military service. A summary of the document by the Jakarta Post can be read at and an English translation and the images of the document can be read here:

Prabowo also admitted in 2014 to ordering the abductions claiming he was under orders from his superiors and that the kidnappings were legal. "I carried out operations that were legal at the time. If a new government said I was at fault I was here to take full responsibility", he told Al Jazeera on July 18, 2014 (

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Singgung Penculikan Aktivis, Amnesty International: Penyematan Pangkat Jenderal Kehormatan ke Prabowo Problematis".]