New discourse on settlement of past human rights violations in Indonesia – Papuans hope for Justice

The new Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security Affairs, Mahfud, plans to accelerate the settlement of past human rights violations in Indonesia. Mahfud said he wants to implement the re-establishment of Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (Komisi Kebenaran dan Rekonsiliasi, KKR). According to Mahfud, the government will submit a draft law on Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the upcoming national legislation program (Prolegnas) before 18 December 2019. The KKR commission had already been established in 2004, but was dissolved again in 2006 after the Constitutional Court cancelled Law 27/2004 on Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

On 25 November 2019, Mahfud also arranged a meeting with commissioners of the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) in order to set the path for a constructive dialogue between Komnas HAM, the Attorney General, the Home Affairs Minister and the Minister for Law and Human Rights. According to Komnas HAM Chairperson, Ahmad Taufan Damanik, the dialogue should smoothen cooperation and resolve un-settled disagreements between the Attorney General and Komnas HAM, which have paralysed the processing of past human rights violations in Indonesia through formal legal procedures until today.

Mahfud’s plans are the first initiatives to follow-up on promises that the Indonesian Government representatives made during the last Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United Nations Human Rights Council on 3 May 2017. During the presentation of Indonesia’s national report, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Retno Marsudi, explained that an integrated team under the lead of the Minister for Internal, Legal and Security Affairs and Komnas HAM investigated allegations of human rights violations throughout 2016. According to the ad-hoc team, only three out of twelve investigated cases in West Papua between 1996 and 2014 – namely the cases in Wasior, Wamena, and Paniai – were identified as serious human rights violations which would be processed by Komnas HAM and the General Attorney. Marsudi claimed that the remaining nine investigated cases were of pure criminal nature and will be prosecuted by the Papuan Regional Police (Polda Papua) as the responsible state institution in charge.

The new Chief of Polda Papua, Paulus Waterpauw, stated in an interview with Papuan news outlet JUBI on 26 November 2019 that Polda Papua was ready to process all past human rights violations after 2002. However, Waterpauw mentioned a total number of thirteen cases of human rights violations without making further elaborations which cases were meant. He claimed that some of the cases had already been processed, referring to a case in the regency of Yapen, which had been committed by members of the Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob).