Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Vetting Master of Terror; Hardiono Saroso

On Saturday, 15 December 2012, the Commander of the Diponegoro Regional Military Command (PANGDAM IV Diponegoro) Maj. Gen. Hardiono Saroso said to journalists in Semarang, Central Java, "Never ever try to revive the PKI (Indonesian Communist Party) in Central Java and Jogjakarta. I will destroy them. I will kill them!" See:

The statement was made in response to a Public Hearing activity by the victims of human rights violation in Central Java, initiated by the Coalition for Justice and Truth Revelation (KKPK) in Solo two days before.

The statement was seen by human rights community as unreasonable and as an expression of paranoia by the military for the reason that what the victims of human rights did in Solo, Central Java is to give testimony and tell the truth what what they experienced in the past, related to the case of tragedy in 1965/1966, kidnapping of activists in 1998 and the massacre in Lampung in 1989. This initiative was taken by the victims group with the support of KKPK and Komnas HAM and other public figures for the purpose of knowing exactly what happened in the past so that the government can deal with them properly.

While there are supports from broader public for Indonesia to deal with the dark past, the statement of Maj. Gen. Saroso is an exception, but is represent the real attitude of part of conservative element of Indonesian military. The statement of Saroso is not a surprise especially that he was one of the mastermind of the massive human rights violation in Timor-Leste when the latter was still occupied by Indonesia. He is one of the notorious military officer as we can see in the "Master of Terror" in the following website:

Maj. Gen. Hardiono Saroso is a very concrete example how democratic Indonesia urgently needs to have "vetting measures", besides other transitional justice mechanisms, in projecting the better future for the nation against such figure (the same happens to Let. Gen. Sjafrie Sjamsuddin, Deputy Minister of Defense) from sitting on government officers. Otherwise, every single policy and step taken either by the government and civil society to deal with the past for the purpose of bringing the nation to move forward will be meaningless.

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