'Subject: Indon House approves ad hoc human rights court

see Human Rights Watch response - Indonesia: President Must Act to Establish Rights Tribunals 

The Jakarta Post March 22, 2001

House approves ad hoc human rights court

JAKARTA (JP): The House of Representatives approved on Wednesday the establishment of an ad hoc court to try human rights abuses related to the 1984 Tanjung Priok incident and East Timor in 1999.

In a plenary session presided over by Deputy Speaker Soetardjo Soerjogoeritno, the House insisted that the special trial was needed to prevent international intervention in the two cases.

"The two human rights abuse cases have attracted the attention of both the national and international communities. The cases should be solved immediately in order to prevent intervention by outsiders," Soetardjo said in his speech marking the House's endorsement.

Based on the National Commission on Human Rights' investigation, the Attorney General's Office is conducting a formal probe into the two human rights violation cases.

"We need to act quickly in establishing the ad hoc trial as we have a certain time limit to try cases of past violence," Soetardjo said.

Another point underlined by the House was that a similar trial should be set up for the pro-Indonesian militia who committed crimes against humanity toward the East Timorese people.

Mounting pressure forced the government to ratify Law No. 26/2000 on Human Rights Abuse trials on 23 Nov. 2000 in a bid to address various human rights violations which occurred during the New Order regime.

The national human rights body (Komnas HAM) implicated last year former Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Gen. Wiranto and four other military and police generals plus 28 civilians in the East Timor debacle in 1999.

The dossiers of the 33 people were submitted to the Attorney General's Office on Jan. 31, 2000, but up until now there has been no significant progress made in the investigation conducted by the office, despite the fact that it had named several people, excluding Wiranto, as suspects.

Wiranto lost his post as the coordinating minister for political and security affairs following the Komnas HAM's investigation.

Human rights abuses in East Timor have placed Indonesia under huge international pressure, with an international tribunal proposed to try the generals implicated in the case.

On the Tanjung Priok violence which erupted in 1984, the Komnas HAM revealed that the incident killed 33 people, but the identity of 14 victims remained unknown. The rights body also reported that a Chinese-Indonesian family of eight and their servant were burned to death when their house was set on fire during the unrest.

The Attorney General's Office is expected to complete the report of its investigation into the Tanjung Priok case next month.

The House Commission II deputy chairman Ferry Mursyidan Baldan said the government could establish the ad hoc trial and determine the format of the trial.

"We did not set any deadline for the government, but I think they can begin the trial as soon as possible," Ferry said after the session. (dja) 

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