Press Release
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The Statement of the Indonesian Minister of Defence on Obstruction of Justice

Indonesian Minister of Defence, Juwono Sudarsono, former Military General Wiranto and Military Law Deparment have signed an agreement to persuade all former military officers not to fulfill National Human Rights Commmission’s summons. This agreement indicates that military and Indonesian government keep impunity persisted.

The decision of Minister of Defence obviously neglects the rights of victim to pursue justice and truth for the past human rights abuse. Instead of encouraging the promotion and protection of justice and accountability, Minister of Defence continues to persist impunity enjoyed by members of military/security forces. Instead of focusing on defence sector reform, Minister of Defence attacks other government institution, ie. National Human Rights Commission that holds authority under Constitution.

This illegal agreement indicates that Minister of Defence does not understand the judicial process in the National Human Rights Commission. In his recent statement, Minister of Defence said that the former military officials will only follow the verbal process, while Human Rights Acts, No.39/1999 Article 89(3)(b) stipulates that National Human Rights Commission has an authority to investigate a gross human rights violation case.

Minister of Defence’s statement is an obstruction of justice. It indicates that Indonesian government is unwilling to address the past and contemporary human rights abuse that have been perpetrated by military. Indonesian authorities have an obligation (obligatio erga omnes) to prosecute those believed responsible for human rights violation, and the failure to comply this obligation will invite a negative reaction from international community.
With regard to the afore-mentioned Minister of Defence’s statement, we, Indonesian human rights defenders, state to support National Human Rights Commission’s works on addressing the past and contemporary human rights violation regardless Minister’s statement. We urge National Human Rights Commission to take criminal legal action to Ministry of Defence c.q. Minister of Defence on the basis that he conducted the obsctruction of justice.

To Indonesian government, we urge President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to take decisive measure to Minister of Defence who defends and protects gross human rights abuse’s perpetrators. President should consider Indonesian position and image as a country that provides a safe haven for those who responsible for human rights violation. 

To General Prosecutor, we urge the General Prosecutor to continue judicial process regardless political and social pressures, irrespective of the perpetrator’s status, religion, race, and culture. General Prosecutor should work on the basis that government is responsible to bring the human rights abuse perpetrators to the court, as accordance to UN Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors (1990). 

Jakarta, 18 March 2008