zaterdag 11 april 2015

An International People's Tribunal to investigate violations of Human Rights in 1965-1966 in Indonesia?

IPT 1965 stands for the initiative to begin an International People's Tribual about the violations of human rights in Indonesia, following the Coup of 30 September 1965. They organised the first (of probably many more) events to commemorate 30 September 1965. The purpose of their activity is to have an international tribunal. Ideal would be an honest tribunal in Indonesia, as was the plea by former minister Jan Pronk. But that will be impossible, so long as major figures of Golkar and some other parties do not want to recognise many mistakes for the period. Leading lawyar Nursyahbani Katjasungkana told us that recently a meeting in Solo to discuss the violations of human rights in the period and to ask recompensation for the innocent victims were blocked by the police and a militia calling itself FAKI, Forum Antikomunis Indonesia.
The IFT should be something respected. If possible prominent supporters among the Indonesians in Europe, but also from Dutch academic, social and political institutions. The venu for the conference on Friday 10 April 2015 was in style: the New Church of the Hague, built in the 1650s as a first Protestant Church (besides the churches taken over from the Roman Catholics). Great place, excellent service for drinks and snacks: in line with any international lobby circuit.
 Chair of the seminar was Prof. Saskia Wierenga. She has written already in the 1990s about the deliberate process to criminalize the Communist women organizations. First lecture was given by Jan Pronk, who defined Dutch reactions towards violations of human rights in Indoesia, both by the Dutch army and the later Indonesian government. He saw a policy of slincing all critical voices. The appease the Dutch former soldiers/veterans, fear for financial claims. There was a long lasting press campaign to see Sukarno not as a freedom fighter but as a terrorist and economic concern. Pronk defended his policy in IGGI, restoring economic growth ('also the poor have taken profit from the economic recovery during Orde Baru') but also asking attention for the political prisoners.
After Jan Pronk there was a report from Cees Flinterman, also a Dutch representative in UN human rights committees. He blamed the Indonesian government which, until now, rejects to react on international criticism about silencing the 1965-1966 atrocities.
The second session brought two Indonesians: Katjasungkana, already mentioned above and Dr. Todung Mulya Lubis. The last defined some of the major issues in human rights problems: Papua, East Timor, Aceh, but also 1965-1966: in all these cases the perpetrators are still free, no victims are recognised, or indeed very few. There is a Reconciliation Bill under debate at the Indonesian pariliament for the year 2015, but the organisation Kontras has seen the draft and concluded that there it soo much sympathy for nice words and no real attack on the perpetrators. KOMHAMNAS has written an open and honest report about 1965-1966, but the perpetrators are still  part of the government. An ad hoc tribunal like the Yugoslavia Tribunal will not be possible. The only way out is a somewhat hybrid national-international unofficial tribunal.
Until now only Abdurrachman Wahid has given public apology, but no general has appeared for the sessions of KOMHAMNAS. There are many other problems in the country: corruption, reformation, the political future of Papua.
Left: Dr. Todung Mulya Lubis; centre: Nursyahbani Katjasungkana. Sitting under the enormous pulpit of this (former) Protestant Church
There were about 120-150 participants. Some 75% were 'Indonesians in Exile' who work hard for this ideal. There were no active politicans (with the exception of Prof. Cees Flinterman, member of UN committees for the Netherlands). More social basis, strong support is needed.
Jerry van Klinken discussed the publication by Mery Kolimon and other from Kupang about the position of women, whose husband were killed/executed for being communists. They had and still have much problems in living in West Timor: Forbidden memories. Last presentation was by Martijn Eickhoff from NIOD the Dutch centre for study about World War II. He joined a team to search in Semarang for mass graves and rituals now performed in these places.
Above we see here the core of people working for IPT1965: as researchers, translators, supporters. Some 25 people, most of them Indonesians in Exile. In late 2015 they will publish a great report of some 700 pages: there is a great difference in style of historic and legal argumentation. What is enough for history-writing is often not enough for legal arguments. There were made parallels with the Ruanda tribunal, the South African Truth and Reconciliation Committee. This is an excellent initiative that still must develop in order to be important for modern Indonesian society.

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