15 Years of Suffering, Komnas HAM Urges Government to Revise Law on Human Rights Court

Seeing the lack of progress in the settlement of cases of human rights violations that occurred in Indonesia, the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) urged the government to immediately revise the law on human rights courts which were allegedly the cause of the death of the human rights courts in the country. this in the last 15 years.

Deputy Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission Amiruddin Al Rahab said that as long as Law No. 26/2000 on the Human Rights Court was in effect, there were only three human rights courts running. The three are the Tanjung Priok Ad hoc Human Rights Court, the East Timor Ad hoc Human Rights Court, and the Abepura Human Rights Court.

Of the three cases, only two civilians were sentenced to guilty, namely Abilio Soares and Eurico Guterres in the case in East Timor. Last month, Eurico received the Jasa Bintang Utama award from President Joko Widodo, a decision that immediately drew sharp criticism from human rights activists.

Deputy Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Amiruddin al Rahab.  (Photo: Mouab)

Deputy Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Amiruddin al Rahab. (Photo: Mouab)

According to Amiruddin, this condition is caused by a number of problems contained in the Law on Human Rights Courts. He gave an example of the term “widespread or systematic” contained in Article 9 of the Law on the Human Rights Court, which according to him causes differences in understanding between a number of parties.

“It might be that if the law sounds like it is now, it could not be implemented. Fifteen years has already (enough) demonstrated that,” said Amiruddin in the Public Webinar “The Future of Human Rights Courts in Indonesia” which held on Wednesday (29/9).

Amiruddin added that the revision of the Law on the Human Rights Court should at least cover the procedural law and the substance of the law. According to him, this law was made when the nation’s knowledge was still not much about handling human rights crimes. As is known, this law was enacted three years after the end of the new order.

Currently, he believes that the state already has sufficient knowledge of human rights, so it is necessary to immediately revise this law.

Mothers who lost children during the political turmoil of 1998 take part in weekly silent protests "Kamisan" against human rights violations outside the presidential palace in Jakarta, 17 May 2018. (Photo: Reuters/Willy Kurniawan)

Mothers who lost children during the political turmoil of 1998 take part in the silent weekly “Kamisan” protest against human rights abuses outside the presidential palace in Jakarta, May 17, 2018. (Photo: Reuters/Willy Kurniawan)

Meanwhile, on the same occasion, Komnas HAM Chairman Ahmad Taufan Damanik said there were 12 cases of human rights violations that had not been completed. According to him, the investigation files of the dozens of cases have been completed at the Komnas HAM level but have not been followed up by the Attorney General’s Office.

“Yesterday I just signed a letter replying to the Attorney General’s letter for the Paniai case, Papua,” explained Ahmad.

He then explained that his party discussed with President Joko Widodo regarding the settlement of cases of human rights violations, both judicially and through reconciliation. The considerations used in resolving cases are always based on three elements, namely law, humanity, and justice for victims and their families. However, there has been no significant progress in resolving cases of human rights violations.

In line with Komnas HAM, member of Commission III of the DPR from the National Democratic Faction (Nasdem) Taufik Basari supports the discourse on revising the Law on the Human Rights Court. However, he proposed that the revision be an initiative carried out by the government because the map of support in the DPR for the revision of the law was not yet clear.

“Perhaps Komnas HAM also (can) initiate (this by) making a proposal for an academic paper first. Then it will be discussed with the government. And finally the government is expected to (can) advance it,” explained Taufik.

He then explained that the Law on the Human Rights Court was originally drafted with the spirit that human rights violations in East Timor would not be committed at the international level. As a result, there are still a number of shortcomings in the making of the law. For example, regarding the jurisdiction of the Law on the Human Rights Court, which only covers genocide and crimes against humanity.

Another way that can be done according to Taufik is by strengthening the paradigm of law enforcement for human rights violations itself.

Until this news was published, Mouab had tried to contact the government regarding the discourse on the revision of this law but had not yet received an answer. (sm/rs)

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