Subject: Munir lambasts delay re HR Law and doubts that trials can start in May

Kompas, 26 April 2000 Summary by TAPOL

Enactment of the Human Rights Court Law is taking far too long and is out of sync with the government's intentions to create a human rights court. The delay will also disrupt investigations of human rights violations in East Timor.

These views were expressed by Munir, who was a member of the special investigation team for abuses in East Timor, the KPP HAM. He did not share the optimism of the attorney-general, Marzuki Darusman that East Timor human rights trials could commence by the end of May.

Meanwhile, Romli Atmasasmita, director-general of the Law Ministry, said the government had completed the final draft of the Human Rights Court law and delivered it to the State Secretariat early in April but he did not know whether it had been submitted to parliament, the DPR, because he had just returned from abroad. According to officials at the ministry, the draft has been submitted to parliament but parliament has not yet determined when it will be discussed. Parliament is in recess until mid May.

Munir said that the long delay in discussing the draft law and the way in which investigations are being conducted by the attorney-general's office create the impression that the East Timor trials may be taken to a koneksitas court, as has happened in Aceh. 'The international community appears to have soften its position and people are now saying that these trials could be heard before a koneksitas court, that the important thing is for trials to take place,' said Munir.

He stressed that koneksitas trials for human rights cases must be rejected as this is not what the general public wants. Such trials would be restricted to trying only low-ranking soldiers, he warned.

'The speed with which the Human Rights Court law is discussed in the DPR will show whether the government and the representatives are really serious about dealing properly with human rights violations. If delays continue, this will mean that politicxal interests are playing a role in the government and the DPR,' said Munir.

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