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SBY backs efforts to solve rights abuses

Sumber: THEJAKARTAPOST.COM | Tgl terbit: Kamis, 27 Maret 2008

Abdul Khalik ,  The Jakarta Post ,  Jakarta   |  Thu, 03/27/2008 1:02 AM  |  Headlines

Families of victims of human rights violations on Wednesday received assurance from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono they would finally find justice.

During their meeting at the presidential office, Yudhoyono listened to grievances of the families, whose loved ones perished or disappeared in the violence in Talangsari, Trisakti University, Semanggi, and Tanjung Priok. Also discussed was the assassination of rights activist Munir in September 2004.

"The President expressed support for investigation into all human rights violations and violence cases," said Usman Hamid, coordinator of rights group Kontras which Munir cofounded 10 years ago. Usman accompanied the families in the meeting.

He said the President was willing to see all the guilty parties receive appropriate punishment.

To show his support for the quick settlement of past rights abuses, the President said he would hold a limited Cabinet meeting with related officials, including Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Widodo Adi Sucipto, Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Gen. Djoko Santoso, Attorney General Hendarman Supandji and National Police chief Gen. Sutanto to review the cases, presidential spokesman Andi Mallarangeng said.

"The President really appreciates what Kontras has done. It is in line with our efforts to build a new civilization of nonviolence," Andi told reporters.

Usman said the President would also talk with Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono concerning the latter's call for several retired Army generals implicated in the Talangsari incident to skip questioning by the National Commission on Human Rights. The President, Usman added, deemed the call untenable.

"He (Yudhoyono) said he would speak with Pak Juwono after he returns from Australia," Usman said.

Juwono has repeatedly defended the retired generals, including A.M. Hendropriyono, former chief of the National Intelligence Agency (BIN), former vice president Try Sutrisno and former Army chief Wismoyo Arismunandar, who defied the rights commission's summonses for questioning in connection with the Talangsari case.

The President would check with the Attorney General's Office regarding reports that many documents related to rights abuses had been lost, Usman said.

Andi said the President had instructed all related government institutions to support any investigation or examination into alleged crimes against humanity conducted by Kontras or the rights commission.

Regarding Munir's murder, the President expressed commitment to resolving the case immediately and bringing to justice those responsible for the crime, Usman said.

After so many years, the human rights violations involving high-ranking military officers remain unsettled. Twice the human rights court has heard cases involving military officers, and all the defendants finally walked free.

In the Munir murder, a former Garuda pilot and a former president director were convicted. The court's order for further investigation, including into BIN officials, has moved at a snail's pace.



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