Rebecca Henschke – Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Luhut Padjaitan has accused the organisers of the International People’s Tribunal on 1965 (IPT 65) of being “kurang kerjaan” [someone with not enough work to do so they make things up to keep busy] and juveniles lacking nationalism, says that democracy must have limits, and that the idea of crocodiles being used to guard convicted drug offenders is just a “joke”.
During an event at the Jakarta Foreign Correspondent Club titled “Lunch with Minister Panjaitan”, he did not explicitly answer questions about the possibility that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo wants to return the military to a dominant position as it was prior to 1998 – before the fall of former President Suharto.
He said he would check what happened in Bali (the banning of events related to 1965 at the 2015 Ubud Writers and Readers Festival) but did not respond to questions about the incident in West Sumatra (the deportation of 77-year-old political exile Tom Iljas for visiting the grave of his father at mass grave of 1965 victims) and in Central Java (the censoring of the student magazine Lentera in Salatiga following an investigative report on the 1965 killings).
“What we want to look at right now is, for example about democracy, we have regulations. So if there are some who do not obey the regulations, we’ll throw them in jail. It’s as simple as that... without this (obedience to the rules) I think it’ll be difficult to protect this country. Because it’s such a big country. We have to be quite firm about these things. Democracy yes. But we must see how far (freedom) can be [allowed] to go”, said Luhut.
Nothing better to do
On the IPT 1965 that is currently being held in the Den Haag, Holland, Luhut initially appeared to try to make an issue over foreign parties that want to conduct legal proceedings over incidents in Indonesia.
“I think if there’s a tribunal like this, then later people could also hold a tribunal about Westerling”, he said. “(Because the brutality led by) Westerling killed 45,000 Indonesian people”.
It was mentioned to Luhut that the organisers of the IPT 1965 are Indonesians themselves. “Yeah, just forget about it. I understand. Yes, perhaps those Indonesians don’t have anything better to do maybe. We, the Indonesian people know how to resolve Indonesian problems”.
But the organisers of the IPT 1965 are themselves Indonesians, explained the BBC. “Yeah perhaps (they) are Indonesians who don’t think like Indonesians anymore”.
The IPT 1965 is being chaired by lawyer and feminist Nursyahbani Katjasungkana, with lawyer and human rights activist Todung Mulya Lubis as lead prosecutor.
Elaborating further, Luhut said that if there are discussions about 1965 then actually, “there isn’t any problem, please go ahead and have discussions. But they shouldn’t ‘over-rule’ us, we have laws. We have legislation, we have regulations, so yeah we just have to be patient and wait”.
‘Who do they want to try?’
When asked again about the fact that no trials have been held for those suspected of crimes following the G30S affair [the September 30, 1965 alleged coup attempt by the Indonesian Communist Party or PKI], Luhut responded accusingly asking, “Who do you want to try?”.
“The (people) they (want) to try are already dead. There were PKI (who were) killed, there were generals (who were) also killed. So right now today who do you want to try?”.
One of the journalists pointed out that some of the killers are in fact still alive and have even openly admitted to their actions, such as those who appeared in the documentary films The Act of Killing (Jagal) and The Look of Silence (Senyap) by director Joshua Oppenheimer and his anonymous film crew.
“Now, those that killed the soldiers, that killed so and so, some are still alive. Are they to be tried again?”.
On the idea proposed by National Narcotics Agency (BNN) chief Budi Waseso who said he wanted to use crocodiles to guard convicted drug offenders on a special island, he responded in a lighter tone. “I think the crocodile thing was just a joke”, said Luhut.
In 2013, the Dutch ambassador to Indonesia at the time, Tjeerd de Zwaan, issued a formal apology for the killing of thousands of civilians in South Sulawesi as part of a 1946-49 campaign led by Dutch Captain Raymond Westerling to “pacify” resistance to Dutch colonial rule. In March 2015 a Dutch court ordered the Dutch state to compensate not only widows, but also the children of men murdered during the bloody crackdown.
[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was Luhut: PKI ada dibunuh, jenderal ada dibunuh, siapa yang mau diadili?.]