A fair and just trial for the victims of Tanjung Priok

Joint Statement – October 7, 2003
1994 Tanjung Priok Tragedy (Suara Islam)
1994 Tanjung Priok Tragedy (Suara Islam)

[The following is a joint statement by the National Student League for Democracy (LMND), the United People's Opposition Party (POPOR) and Tanjung Priok victims.]

The Tanjung Priok case(1) is yet to be resolved, 16 victims continue to reject an out-of-court settlement(2) of the dispute and demand the trial of the human rights violators!

Historically, the regime that has been in power in Indonesia has been built on the tears and lives of millions of ordinary people. One tragedy which has almost been forgotten is the Tanjung Priok incident in 1984, which resulted in hundreds of victims. Hundreds of others were made widows and hundreds of children orphaned.

A lid has been kept on this case for years and years by a regime which is afraid of the real truth. Now the case has been brought to the surface again and the regime is trying to rebury it though efforts at reconciliation between the victims and the military officers who are responsible.

The Tanjung Priok case is evidence that Indonesia has not had a peaceful history. It is not just this case but also other past cases of human rights violations such as July 27, 1996(3), the Semanggi and Trisakti tragedies(4), the Santa Cruz case(5), all of which is evidence that the regime in Indonesia is not very different from the anti-democratic and anti-people fascist regimes in Europe. These cases prove that the mass struggle against the policies of the oppressive regime are always confronted by brutal and inhumane military violence.

These facts in this case have never been revealed, including under the current leadership of the regime of President Megawati Sukarnoputri and Vice-president Hamzah Haz. There has not been a single serious effort by the state authorities to open this mysterious screen.

The Tanjung Priok incident is clearly being buried by the regime, although there are still victims at the moment who are able to see clearly that the Tanjung Priok issue is not just a question of money but rather is an attempt by ordinary people to struggle for the destiny.

Therefore, the National Student League for Democracy (LMND), the People’s United Opposition Party (POPOR) and the victims of Tanjung Priok state the following:

1. We reject the regime’s offers of reconciliation between the victims of Tanjung Priok and the military officers who perpetrated the Tanjung Priok incident;
2. We call for a fair and just trial in order to reveal the facts of the case;
3. We call on the Mega-Hamzah regime to take responsibility for the Tanjung Priok case.

Jakarta, October 7, 2003
Iwan Dwie Laksono
General Chairperson, LMND


1. On 12 September 1984, dozens of people were killed and injured when troops fired on Muslim demonstrators in the port district of Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta.

2. Islah. Traditional form of settlement. Defense attorneys for the military officers currently being tried for their roles in the Tanjung Priok case are arguing that because some of the victims have already accepted out-of-court settlements the case cannot be heard in court.

3. Following Megawati Sukarnoputri’s popular election as chairperson of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) in 1996, the regime of former President Suharto, who feared a PDI lead Megawati might threaten the state party Golkar’s dominance in the upcoming 1997 elections, sponsored a rebel PDI congress in Medan, North Sumatra, and succeeded in replacing her with their own pro-regime candidate, Suryadi. Following weeks of protests and the occupation of party’s headquarters in central Jakarta by pro-Megawati PDI supporters, on July 27 paid thugs backed by the military attacked and destroyed the PDI offices resulting in the death of as many as 50 people.

4. On May 12, 1998, security personnel shot into a crowd of student protesters from the Trisakti University near their campus in West Jakarta, killing four students and injuring several. This proved to be the spark which set-off three days of mass demonstrations and rioting in Jakarta which eventually lead to the overthrow of Suharto. Similar incidents occurred on in November 1998 and September 1999 when troops opened fire on demonstrators from the Atmajaya University in Jakarta using rubber bullets and live ammunition in the area of Semanggi, South Jakarta, resulting in the death of dozens of student demonstrators.

5. At least 270 died during the November 12, 1991, Santa Cruz massacre in Dili, the capital of East Timor. Independence movement reports assert that as many as 200 more were rounded up and killed in the days which followed.

[Translated by James Balowski.]