Press Release
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25 Years after Grave Human Rights Violations in Tanjung Priok
Reporting Tanjung Priok Trial to UN:
Questioning Government’s Commitment in Protecting Human Rights

Tomorrow marks the 25th anniversary of grave human rights violations in Tanjung Priok, a dark part in this nation’s history. Dozens were killed, tortured and endured unfair trial because they were seen as disrupting the nation in 1980’s. The incident left severe scars for the victims and their families. They lost their jobs, their chance to get education, and they receive negative stigma.

Even though Komnas HAM has investigated the incident in 2000, the result was indeed disappointing. Prosecutor only recommended for the field perpetrators. It is widely known that several victims chose to reconcile (islah) with the perpetrators and revoked their statements in the trial. The judges should be used the previous witnesses as a truth testimonials.

We are very disappointed when the Supreme Court acquitted the perpetrators and the victims failed to receive their rights: truth, justice, compensation, restitution and rehabilitation. The victims’ efforts to file civil lawsuits to claim compensation were rejected by judges by formal legal reasons. 

The lack of clarity on the ongoing legal process as reflection on the ineffectiveness of the government.  Efforts to respect, protect and fulfill human rights are universal, regardless of jurisdiction, time and place. It is mutual responsibility of all parties.

In this year’s commemoration we would like to report directly to the UN regarding the weaknesses in the trial process of Tanjung Priok case, especially to the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judiciary and Lawyers. This report is intended to remind the Indonesian Government that the legal process in Tanjung Priok case was supposed to be an opportunity to renew the legal process in this State. Tanjung Priok case has given birth to various legal breakthroughs and it served as a constructive precedent. However, we are also reminded that the there are still weaknesses in the national legal system and legal mechanism; that these weaknesses lead to impunity and lack of justice for Tanjung Priok victims.

We are reminder the government, particularly President SBY who re-elected to examine the trial process under the Attorney General authority. As a part to achieve justice delayed, we reminder the President to take some special policies based on the universal principles of human rights to fulfill the rights of human rights violation victims in Tanjung Priok case.

Jakarta, 11 September 2009

Attachment : Letter to UN Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers