Jokowi skips court hearing challenging Prabowo's honorary 4-star general award

Source – June 20, 2024
President Widodo awarding Prabowo with honorary 4-star general rank – February 28, 2024 (Sekpres)

Ihsanuddin, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo was not present at the Jakarta State Administrative Court (PTUN) which is hearing a lawsuit against the honorary four-star general rank Widodo gave to Defense Minister and president elect Prabowo Subianto in February.

The plaintiff from the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), Jane Rosalina, said that Widodo had not yet given power of attorney to the state district attorney for the trial.

"The president has not yet given power to the state district attorney", Rosalina told reporters at the PTUN in East Jakarta on Thursday June 20.

Aside from this, Prabowo was also failed to respond to a summons from the PTUN Jakarta. Because of the absence of Widodo and Prabowo, Rosalina said the panel of judges will postpone the trial.

"Although the panel of judges then stated that the hearing was postponed because the defendant was not present, had not yet given power [of attorney]", said Rosalina.

"The intervention party which last week was summoned by the panel of judges, namely Prabowo Subianto who was supposed to be present at the hearing today, but today is absent at the hearing," she added.

The Civil Society Coalition against Impunity has challenged the awarding of the honorary rank of four-star general to Prabowo.

The Coalition is made up of Kontras, the Indonesian Association of the Families of Missing Persons (IKOHI), Indonesian Human Rights Watch (Imparsial) and other civil society organisation who filed a lawsuit against President Widodo at the Jakarta PTUN on Tuesday May 28.

"We, the [civil] society coalition together with the families of the 1997-1998 victims, filed a lawsuit against President Jokowi over the object of the lawsuit in the form of a state administration decision he issued", said Rosalina, who is the head of Kontras' impunity monitoring division.

This was Presidential Decree Number 13/TNI/24 dated February 21, 2024, on the Awarding of a Special Rank in the Form of Honorary TNI (Indonesian military) General to Prabowo Subianto she explained.

On February 28 President Widodo awarded Prabowo with the honorary rank of four-star general.

This however was considered inappropriate because of Prabowo's poor track record, both in terms of his military career as well as his alleged involvement in the abduction and disappearance of pro-democracy activists in 1997-98 as well as a number of serious human rights (HAM) violations.

"We've only just registered the lawsuit and we'll see how far the PTUN dares to test the decision made by the president", said Rosalina.

"What we will examine is a number of records and it's contradiction with legislation, especially the TNI Law, HAM, and the general principles of good governance", she said.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Jokowi Absen dalam Sidang Gugatan Bintang Empat Prabowo di PTUN".]