Indonesia not capable to deal with its dark past - Attorney General’s office returns inquiry reports to KOMNAS HAM

On 27 November 2018, the attorney General’s office has once again returned the case files of nine alleged serious human rights abuses to the National Human Rights Commission (KOMNAS HAM) . The cases had been investigated by KOMNAS HAM and were repeatedly submitted to the attorney General’s office for further processing. Among the cases are two serious human rights violations which occurred in West Papua, namely the cases in Wamena (4 April 2003) and Wasior (13 June 2001). The attorney General’s office returned the files with the reason that the evidence in all nine cases was allegedly insufficient to initiate a legal process. The chairman of KOMNAS HAM, Mr. Ahmad Taufik Damanik, stated in a public interview with the Indonesian news magazine TEMPO, that the inquiry reports had been returned without further instructions for completion.

The national mechanism for legal processing of cases of genocide and crimes against humanity is stipulated in Law 22/2000 on human rights courts. According to the sections four and five of the law, KOMNAS HAM has the mandate to investigate a case whereas the attorney general examines the inquiry report and submits it to a human rights ad-hoc court, if the files fulfill the legal requirements for a trial. In reality the national mechanism is not functioning. Since 2002, the nine cases files have been passed back and forth between KOMNAS HAM and the attorney General’s office without any progress.

On 3 May 2017, the human rights situation in Indonesia was reviewed for the third time as part of the Universal Periodic Review mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. The Indonesian government delegation stated that three cases of human rights violations in the provinces of Papua and Papua Barat – namely the cases in Wasior, Wamena, and Paniai – were identified as serious human rights violations. Foreign affairs minister Retno Marsudi asserted in front of the international community that these cases will be processed through national human rights mechanisms under involvement of KOMNAS HAM and the attorney General’s office. None of the cases have been processed until today.