Rights body reopens Soeharto cases


Rights body reopens Soeharto cases

National News - December 08, 2007

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The National Commission on Human Rights said it would soon decide if
human rights abuses that occurred under former president Soeharto's
reign can be classified as "gross violations of human rights".

A study and research team from the commission has examined six cases
that took place under Soeharto's regime believed to be gross
violations of human rights.

The six cases examined killings related to the socio-political
upheaval during the mid 1960s, in which an undetermined number of
people, allegedly members of the Indonesian Communist Party or its
sympathizers, died or disappeared.

The cases also involved the prolonged imprisonment of political
detainees on Buru Island, the series of mysterious shootings of
criminals known as "Petrus" in the 1980s, the armed conflicts in Aceh
and Papua, the Paraku killings in East Kalimantan and the July 27,
1996 incident.

"We hope that we have completed all of the reports by the end of
December so we can discuss the cases in more detail in our plenary
meeting," Yoseph Adi Prasetyo, commissioner for education and public
information affairs said at a press conference Friday.

Ahmad Baso, head of the study and research team for the Soeharto
cases, said if the cases were determined as "gross violations" in the
meeting, an ad-hoc team would be set up to further probe the violations.

The team would be made up of special investigators to follow-up the
earlier examination process and to bring a formal dossier on the cases
to the Attorney General's Office.

"Most probably, the pro-justice investigation approach will be applied
to the Soeharto cases," Baso said.

Ifdal Kasim, chairman of the human rights commission told The Jakarta
Post by phone: "A Case will be said to be a gross violation case when
it involves a crime against humanity or genocide as stipulated under
Law No. 26/2000 on the Human Rights Court".

The human rights commission said it had received 273 reports filed by
citizens during its first 100 days in operation.

Yoseph said the cases involved mostly land disputes and labor cases.

Indonesia's poor human rights record has seen the United Nations
require the rights commission to submit a report to the world body.

Hesti Armiwulan, deputy chairman on external affairs with the
commission said a five page report was required by the UN.

"The content of the report is about the existence of the human rights
commission, laws which protect human rights and the implementation of
the ratification of two covenants," he said.

The report would be discussed on Dec. 10, which coincides with the
International Human Rights day, at the United Nations Human Rights
Council in Geneva, Switzerland. (rff)

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