Latest promotion shows Jokowi doesn't have the guts to resolve rights abuses

Source – January 7, 2022
Motorbike rider in Depok passes posters of missing activists abducted in 1997-98 – Undated (Suara)

Chandra Iswinarno and Ria Rizki Nirmala Sari – The promotion of Major General Untung Budiharto as Jakarta military commander reminds the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) of the other five former Rose Team (Tim Mawar) members who have also been given posts in the Defense Ministry.

Kontras believes that this fact is evidence that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo does not have the guts to resolve past human rights violations.

"We don't see any real commitment and we can even state that Pak [Mr] Jokowi absolutely does not have the courage or will to resolve gross human rights violations in Indonesia", said Kontras Impunity Monitoring Division member Ahmad Sajali during a press conference broadcast on the Kontras' YouTube channel on Friday January 7.

This was conveyed by Sajali because President Widodo should be able to try Rose Team members in court as a form of liability for their actions, namely the forced disappearance of political activists in 1997-98.

The reality however is that Widodo has instead given a red carpet to Rose Team members to joint government ministries.

Take Prabowo Subianto who now holds the post of Defense Minster (Menhan). Sajali feels that it is odd that Widodo would want to bring Prabowo in to work in the administration he heads.

This is because Prabowo was Widodo's rival in the 2014 and 2019 presidential elections. Not only that, Prabowo was also once the commander of the Rose Team from the Army's Group IV Special Forces (Kopassus).

"But in the end (Widodo) instead gave him a very wide latitude", he said.

Sajali then invited people to remember that there are five other former Rose Team members who have been given posts in the Defense Ministry.

They are Brigadier General Yulius Selvanus, the head of the Defense Strategic Installation Agency, Brigadier Genral Dadang Hendrayudha, the Director General for Defense Potential, Brigadier General Nugroho Sulistyo Budi, the expert staff member for political affairs, Major General (retired) Chairawan, who is a special assistant, and Major General Fauzambi Syahrul Multhazar, who is the head of the Defense University's supervisory unit.

"So indeed, in the end Prabowo Subianto created a cell system which ended up inviting people who in the past were willing to have their hands smeared in blood, to do his dirty work in committing gross human rights violations on instructions from Prabowo Subianto and have now been invited to join in the administrative system which exists in Indonesia", he said.


Between 1997 and 1998 as many as 23 pro-democracy activists were abducted by members of the Army's Special Forces (Kopassus). After extended periods of detention – in many cases the victims were severely tortured – most were released although 13 remain missing and are presumed dead. Former Kopassus commander Lieutenant General Prabowo Subianto who was at the time President Suharto's son-in-law, has admitted to ordering the abductions but denies ordering their torture and claims they were all released alive and well. In April 1999, 11 low-ranking Kopassus officers were tried by a military court for the kidnappings and given sentences of between a year and 22 months in prison, although six of them were allowed to remain in the army. Prabowo himself was discharged from the military for ordering the abductions but has never been tried in court.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Eks Tim Mawar Diberi Jabatan, KontraS: Jokowi Tak Berani Tuntaskan Pelanggaran HAM Berat".]