Activists want Jokowi to revoke decree on non-judicial resolution of rights crimes

CNN Indonesia – August 17, 2022
Activists hold Thursday Action calling on state to resolve human rights violations – Undated (CNN)

Jakarta – Organisations which are part of the Civil Society coalition are urging President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to cancel a recently signed Presidential Decree (Keppres) on resolving gross human rights violations through non-judicial channels.

The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), which is part of the Coalition, believes the Keppres simply shows the character of a government that wants to find a shortcut to resolve past human rights violations.

They believe that the team formed by Widodo through the Keppres is a way for the government to service the violators of gross human rights violations so that it avoids judicial mechanisms.

"The President of the Republic of Indonesia [should] cancel the Presidential Decree on the Formation of a Team for the Non-Judicial Resolution of Past Gross Human Rights Violations", said Kontras Coordinator Fatia Maulidiyanti in a press release on Wednesday August 17.

Kontras suspects that the decree cannot be separated from the conflict of interests of those in power. Maulidiyanti further questioned the effectiveness of resolving gross human rights violations through non-judicial channels.

She explained that solving rights crimes and rehabilitation are already regulated under Law Number 26/2000 on Human Rights Courts. According to Maulidiyanti, if regulating it through a law is unsuccessful because it is not applied seriously, what about a team formed without adequate public participation.

"We see this effort to separate resolving past gross human rights violations based on judicial and non-judicial methods as just being a camouflage", she said.

Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) Advocacy and Networking Division head Zainal Arifin meanwhile believes that the Keppres ignores efforts by the families of victims to seek justice.

It is as if the Keppres, said Arifin, considers that compensation can replace a criminal prosecution of the cases. Yet, up until now, the victims as well as their families have been forced to accept far greater damages in the form of negative stigma in society.

"It's not just stigma, in the process also they have been blocked from the right to obtain legal services, haven't been given access or access has been restricted, I feel this is a big injury", said Arifin.

The Setara Institute for Peace and Democracy meanwhile believes that the Keppres will reinforce impunity and whitewash past human rights violations. Setara Institute Chairperson Hendardi says that the Keppres shows that President Widodo is incompetent and incapable of solving human rights cases.

"The Setara Institute views the formation of the 'PAHAM Team' as just a project to reinforce impunity and to whitewash past human rights violations which have not yet been fully resolved by the state", said Hendardi in a press release on Tuesday August 16.

Based on the draft Keppres which is circulating, Hendardi said that the membership of team formed by Widodo is made up of people who are considered problematic in terms of past human rights violations.

According to Hendardi, instead of dealing with cases of human rights violations in accordance with the mandate of Law Number 26/2000 on Human Rights Courts, Widodo has instead closed the door firmly on public demands and the hopes of victims for truth and justice.

In his State of the Nation address on August 16 at the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) in Jakarta, Widodo stated that he had signed a Keppres on the formation of a team for the non-judicial resolution of past gross human rights violations.

Widodo said that the government would continue to follow up on all of the findings by the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) related to gross human rights violations.

"I have signed a Keppres on the Formation of a Team for the Non-Judicial Resolution of Past Gross Human Rights Violations", Widodo said at the parliamentary complex in Jakarta on Tuesday. (thr/kid)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Koalisi Sipil Desak Cabut Keppres Penyelesaian HAM Berat Nonyudisial".]