Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Past Abuses in the Hand of the New Regime

Options Without an Alternative

By Mugiyanto

We do not care who will be the president, unless the president will solve

the case of human rights violation I am experiencing.

Otherwise I will be golput (not vote).

(Ruminah, a mother of a disappeared victim in May riots 1998

in a hearing with Gus Dur in May 2004)

The Dilemma

The first round of the Indonesian Presidential Election in July 2004 has put General (Ret.) Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, former Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs and Megawati Sukarnoputri, the present President of the Republic of Indonesia to run for the second and final round on September 20, 2004. For the victims of human rights violations, the two candidates do not give any hope for justice to deliver. Each General (Ret.) Yodhoyono represents the military and Megawati represents the status quo.

General (Ret.) Yudhoyono, although already a retired, is more as a representative of the Indonesian military that was the main element of the perpetrators of human rights violation, rather than a representative of change to progress like echoed by his supporters. It is not easy for the people to forget the memory that he was involved in the crack down of democracy movement on July 27, 1996, when thugs supported by the police and military attacked the crowds of the supporters of Megawati Sukarnoputri in their headquarter in Jakarta. Dozens of people were killed and disappeared during the event As the Coordinating Minister of Political and Security Affairs, General (Ret.) Yudhoyono also involved in releasing repressive measures in solving problems in the north province of Nangro Aceh Darussalam.

As the present president of the Republic of Indonesia, Megawati Sukarnoputri is the symbol of status quo, meaning that she is representing the existing regime that tends to preserve her and her group’s power and interests without promising change and progress for the improvement of the life of the people. During the last three years of her presidency, Megawati delivers no single policies that benefit majority of people from which she got supports to become the president. In return to those killed, disappeared and suffer on her behalf during the July 27, 1996 crack down, Megawati promotes General (Ret.) Sutiyoso who was in charge of the security of Jakarta Capital to become the Governor of the Jakarta for the second term. In regards to legal process on the above mention crack down, Megawati indicate no supports to the victims nor pressure to General Sutiyoso.

In relation to dealing with past gross human rights violation, President Megawati does not show any goodwill let alone significant achievements. Human rights ad hoc tribunal on East Timor case has acquitted all military and police officers but only two civilians, namely Abilio Soares the former Governor of East Timor Province and Eurico Guterres the former Commander of militia groups were sentenced. The Washington commented on disappointment for this human rights tribunal. The present human rights ad hoc tribunal on Tanjung Priok massacre in 1984 so far has also acquitted most of the military and police defendants except Maj. Gen. Butar-Butar for committing gross human rights violation. The two existing human rights ad hoc tribunal has indicated the unwillingness and incapability of Megawati as civilian authority over military dominance.

The dealing with human rights violation in the past is even worse if we look at the way Megawati handle the case of massacre in 1965/1996, Lampung Massacre in 1989, May 1998 riots, shooting of students at Semanggi and Trisakti and kidnapping of pro democracy activists in 1998, in which no legal action has been taken. The truth commission that supposed to be the complementary to prosecution for past cases of gross human rights violation is still a controversy in the parliament. More than that, new violence and cases of human rights violations keep happening in the conflict torn areas of Aceh, West Papua and Poso.

The above mentioned explanation on the two president candidates has put the victims of human rights violation in dilemma of which one to vote or whether not to vote any. The dilemma is that the former has been proven of being the source of problem and the later has been proven of unwillingness to solve the problem.

The Victims Stay Suffering

What rest in the victims and their relatives due to the absence of legal, social and political remedy is the prolonged period of suffering, sorrow, pain and grief. The impacts of being the victims and their relatives will never be resolved if victims’ rights, which are defined by Theo van Boven as the rights to truth, justice and reparations are ignored by the state. The victims of human rights violation believe that their suffering will never be able to be repaired, recovered nor compensated. Being mentally and physically tortured and maltreated in the detention centres, being socially and politically isolated and discriminated, being economically marginalized, being branded and stigmatized as separatists, communists and fundamentalists is a lifetime pain. Not knowing the fate and where about of their disappeared ones and seeing the alleged perpetrators free and promoted instead is in itself an ultimate torture.

Although there is no scientific research proving that the fulfilment of the rights of the victims, namely truth, justice and reparation, will automatically recover all the wounds of the victims and their relatives, as a matter of fact it will relieve them from the long hold life burdens. Simply to make an analogy with newly got an accident person in the night, the truth will be the light, justice will be the presence of the police and fulfilment of the rights of reparation will be the medications. The light, the presence of the police and the medications will never make the person be the same as before, but they very much reduce the mental and physical pain of the victims.

Challenges of the Coming Regime

Every country in transition to democracy will inevitably deal with past human rights abuses. It is so because the term transition to democracy implies the existence of the previous condition that is in contradiction to democracy. In the context of Indonesia, the transition is from militaristic and authoritarian rule that adores militarism in the name of stability and fake harmony. Whether or not, the coming president of the Republic of Indonesia that is elected through the most so-called democratic way of direct presidential election will haunted by the shadow of the past. The choice of the coming president will be to keep in the shadow of the past and being unable to move forward towards progress or to deal with it democratically and justly. In the coming election however, the choice will not be as difficult as the one for the victims in the coming election.

The article is taken from The VOICE, Vol. IV, No. 2, October 2004

1 comment:

Mugiyanto said...

Memang, tidak ada jalan lain bagi SBY kecuali mengadili para pelanggara HAM masa lalu. Bila tidak, ia adlaah benar-benar bagian dari pelaku pelanggaran HAM masa lalu tersebut.

Agus Wibowo