Press Release
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COMMISSION AGENDA 1 House of Representatives; impunity COVERT 
Reject to repeal bans against the Deputy Minister of Defense Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin.

From the agenda of the visit of the so-called Commission I within the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR) to the United States it becomes clear that efforts to disguise impunity in cases of gross human rights violations are increasing. One of the points scheduled for discussion is the request for revocation of visa bans for the Vice-Minister of Defense, Lt. Gen. Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin, citing allegations of him playing a role in gross human rights violations unfounded (as reported by Kompas, April 16, and several online media). This, besides the mere fact that the President personally appointed General Sjamsoeddin as Vice-Minister in 2010, shows that impunity still reigns in Indonesia.

The US' denial of a visa for Sjamsoeddin means the entry into force of the principle of Universal Jurisdiction which is applied to certain serious crimes for countries that still have unsettled human rights issues with its citizens. Universial Jurisdiction applies when a crime is considered a crime against humanity (Hostis Humane Generis). In that case, any authority (wherever and whenever) is required to implement a punishment.

Thusfar, there is no domestic human rights court mechanism through which the government of Indonesia can end cases of gross human rights violations that occurred in the past, including the cases against Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin. He should however be held accountable for incidents of human rights violations that occurred in Santa Cruz 1991, Timor Leste, and command responsibility as the Commander of Regional Military Command V Jaya (Commander V) as well as the Commander of Operation Command (Commander) Steady Jaya III, which is responsible for security in the area of Jakarta at the time of the incident Activist Abductions and Enforced Disappearances 1997/1998, 1998 and Trisakti shooting incident occurred in May 1998. The report of the National Human Rights Commission and the Joint Fact Finding Team (Fact Finding) in May 1998 has recommended to hold the command of Sjafrie. In addition, Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin also not the ones who refused to cooperate because the examination summons Violations Investigation Commission (KPP) HAM Trisakti, Semanggi I and Semanggi II. 

The plans of the Commission I to lobby General Sjamsuddin's Visa denial revocation is not appropriate, given the allegations of Sjafrie's individual (criminal liability) involvement in gross human rights violations. As the allegations hold no ties to Sjafrie's current position as Vice Minister it is highly inappropriate for the Commission I especially representing the Indonesian people to discuss the visa denial.

Through activities such as this planned lobby the Parliament victimizes the victims of the violations mentioned above. Cases for which demands for completion are ignored, the Law 26/2000 on Human Rights Court that govern the completion of cases of violations deliberately sterilizes human rights and the community is sought to forget the various cases of human rights violations. 

For the future of a nation that upholds the values of justice, we declare; 

1. Reject the request of Commission 1 of the House of Representative ro repeal bans against the Deputy Minister of Defense Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin
2. Urge the Government of the Republic of Indonesia to immediately solve cases of human rights violations through the court that apply
3. Urge the President to revoke or cancel the appointment decree Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin as Deputy Secretary of Defense


Jakarta, 21 April 2011 

The Commission for Disappearances and Victims of Violence (Kontras) 
Families Solidarity Network for Justice (JSKK) 
Indonesian Association of Families of Missing Persons (IKOHI) 
NGO Cooperation Forum in Papua (Papua FOKER)