Amnesty launches petition demanding AGO drop Semanggi court challenge

Source – February 6, 2021
Sumarsih holds umbrella during Thursday action in front of State Palace – Undated (Viva)

Tsarina Maharani, Jakarta – Amnesty International Indonesia is urging Attorney General (JA) ST Burhanuddin to withdraw a appeal against a Jakarta State Administrative Court (PTUN) ruling against a statement he made in 2020 on the Semanggi I and II students shooting in 1998-99.

Amnesty International Indonesia Executive Director Usman Hamid said that the appeal is indeed legitimate and is part of the legal rights of the accused.

But, according to Hamid, Burhanuddin should view the law from a broader perspective, namely that the families of the victims of Semanggi I and II are seeking justice.

"The issue that needs to be understood more clearly is that Ibu [Mrs] Sumarsih (Maria Katarina Sumarsih) and her colleagues are not [doing this] to defeat the JA, but rather for the sake of seeking justice", said Hamid when contacted on Saturday February 6.

Because of this, Hamid is of the view that it would be fairer if Burhanuddin withdrew the appeal and began pursuing his duties and obligations as a criminal investigator and bring the perpetrators of gross human rights violations to court.

According to Hamid, this will not harm Burhanuddin personally as the Attorney General.

"JA will not lose face over the PTUN ruling. Moreover, if he responds to the ruling by forming an ad hoc investigation team to investigate the Semanggi tragedies, then it will show an attitude of generosity on the part of the Attorney General", he said.

Amnesty International Indonesia has also launched a petition titled "Attorney General Immediately Stop the Appeal Process".

Aside from Amnesty, Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR) and the Lokataru Foundation are also sponsoring the petition, which has already received 350 signatures out of a target of 1,000.

As has been reported, the PTUN declared that Burhanuddin broke the law when he stated that the Semanggi I and II shootings were not a gross human rights violation during a House of Representatives (DPR) Commission III working meeting on January 16 last year.

The panel of judges at the PTUN ruled that Burhanuddin must issue a statement on the Semanggi I and II cases in accordance with the facts at the next Commission III working meeting.

The law suit against Burhanuddin’s statement was submitted by Sumarsih, the mother of Bernardinus Realino Norma Irmawan, who was shot dead during the Semanggi I incident and Ho Kim Ngo, the mother of Yap Yun Hap, a student who was killed in the Semanggi II incident.

On November 9, 2020 however, Burhannuddin's lawyers declared that they would appeal the PTUN ruling on the grounds that there were many errors allegedly committed by the panel of judges at the PTUN in their examination and trial of the case.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Bikin Petisi, Amnesty International Desak Jaksa Agung Cabut Banding soal Putusan Kasus Semanggi".]