Subject: KMP: The Ad Hoc Human Rights Trials are far away from international standards

The Ad Hoc Human Rights Trials are far away from international standards

06 May 2002

(Kompas) ­ Jakarta

(Translated by JSMP)

The Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI) considers that the process of the Ad Hoc Human Rights trials that relate to the murders in East Timor in the period after the popular consultation are still falling well short of international standards. The trials are open to the public, but this is only a part of the circumstances of these show trials. On the other hand, the Ad Hoc Human Rights Tribunal has the responsibility of prosecuting human rights violations that took place in East Timor from a national level.

The head of the Board of the Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI) Hendardi reminded Kompas in Jakarta, Friday (3/5), that the Ad Hoc Human Rights Tribunal is only holding trials against those accused of committing human rights violations in East Timor from a local level . "The process of investigation and charges from the Attorney-General was recommended by a Commission of Investigation into Human Rights Violations (KPP), set up by the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) to localize the legal responsibility”, he added further.

Beforehand, the Justice and Human Rights minister, Yusril Ihza Mahendra, at the time he opened a seminar on International Human Rights in Jakarta last Monday, said that the process of the Ad Hoc Tribunal has achieved international standards (Kompas 2/5). “This statement is manipulating the facts and it just calls the Ad Hoc Human Rights Tribunal legitimate to the public both inside the country and in a foreign country," says Hendardi.

International standards?

Hendardi questioned the international standards that the Human Rights minister claimed, such as the fact that the process of recruitment of the ad hoc judges for that Tribunal was not transparent, even the ad hoc prosecutors were retired career prosecutors, formerly of the New Order (the Soeharto regime), and there are military judges, and also the Law No. 26/2000 that created the Human Rights Tribunal is vulnerable. On the other hand the indictments from the prosecutors are also extremely weak. In fact the Ad Hoc Human Rights Tribunal is just for show.

The head (caretaker) of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia or YLBHI), Irianto Subiakto, also questioned the international standards that were mentioned by Yusril to value the Ad Hoc Human Rights Tribunal. "Which standards have been proven to show it fulfils a fair trial, is it independent or impartial?” he questioned.

About the criteria of a fair trial and independence says Irianto, the Ad Hoc Human Rights trials relating to East Timor have met the international stipulation, however, on the matter of the Tribunal’s impartiality there is still scepticism.

Judges and prosecutors, added Irianto, look like they are taking in the scenario that has been constructed by defence lawyers where the witnesses are only there to support the dismissing of the charges against the accused. For instance, in the beginning the former army chief General Wiranto said that what was done by TNI/Police in the conflict in East Timor was heroic as they tried to prevent bloodshed and civil war.

The prosecutors are supposed to act on behalf of the victims, but it seems like they have the opposite opinion about the violations in East Timor, both before and after they question the witnesses. The prosecutors did not open the documents that related to the matter of the pro-integration militia and let the witnesses take back these documents, even though the prosecutors were appointed as senior prosecutors with very high levels of experience and not just as those who have learnt the theory of accusing. (sah/tra)

 

* [JSMP believes that the reference to military judges in the KOMPAS article is intended to mean military prosecutors]

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