‘Class action’ against Aceh military emergency resubmitted

Kompas – October 30, 2003
Indonesian soldiers patrol road in Aceh (Liputan 6)
Indonesian soldiers patrol road in Aceh (Liputan 6)

Jakarta – Although the initial suit was rejected by the panel of judges, the case against Presidential Decree Number 28/2003 on the declaration of a dangerous situation at the level of a military emergency in Aceh will continue.

The class action against the president of Indonesia, the chief of the armed forces (TNI) and the chairperson of the People’s Representative Assembly (DPR), was resubmitted to the Central Jakarta State Court by the People’s Lawyers Union (SPR) on Wednesday October 29. According to SPR spokesperson Habiburokhman, the suit was resubmitted on the grounds that the earlier rejection by the panel of judges [on October 9] did not address the substance of the case but rather [it was rejected] because the format of the SPR suit was considered not to have fulfilled the formal requirements of a class action.

The rejection by the panel of judges was handed down in an intermediate judgment which was read out on October 9. In the judgement, the panel of judges did not touch upon the material basis of the case at all.

In response to the rejection, for the second time SPR is submitting the same suit to the Central Jakarta State Court, but this time in a standard civil case format. This is being done because the substance of the case which is the basis of the suit was not address by the panel of judges.

“We consider that the resubmission of this suit is extremely important in the midst of strong likely hood that the government will extend the military operation which is in force in Aceh, the [initial six month] time period [of the operation] will soon expire”, he said.


The other reason for SPR to resubmit the suit is because they are seeing an increase in the number of casualties, both civilians and members of the TNI and police. Moreover, the number of people being accused of being members of the Free Aceh Movement continues to grow.

“We hope that this suit will be accepted by the panel of judges because the court cannot reject a [civil] case. This suit is a legal instrument for the people of Aceh to test the actions of those in power who are they consider have caused damage to the majority of people [in Aceh]”, he said.

In the suit which was submitted to the Central Jakarta State Court yesterday, SPR is suing President Megawati Sukarnoputri, TNI chief Endriartono Sutarto and the chairperson of the DPR, Akbar Tandjung. The three are considered to have acted against the law because they issued, agreed with and enacted Presidential Decree Number 28/2003 which has resulted in extensive damage to the Indonesian people as a consequence of the large number of casualties.

[Translated by James Balowski.]