Attorney General’s denials on historic abuses are not credible

[TEMPO/Imam Sukamto; IS2019082812]

Responding to the statement by Attorney General ST Burhanuddin on Semanggi I and II shootings in a hearing with the House of Representatives (DPR) yesterday, Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director Usman Hamid said:

“The Attorney General’s claims that these shootings did not violate human rights are simply not credible. The country still awaits a judicial investigation into these dramatic events, based on the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM)’s findings, as mandated by the 2000 law on Human Rights Court.

“These are cynical and empty denials. The shootings were gross violations and the victims are still demanding justice. The government is trying to play down their significance, with the goal of finding a non-judicial way to resolve the case.”

Background

The Semanggi shootings occurred during two students protests in November 1998 and September 1999, following Soeharto’s resignation as president of Indonesia.

Seventeen civilian killings were recorded, and 109 injured during the Semanggi I tragedy. During Semanggi II, at least 11 people were killed and 217 injured.

Low-ranking police and military personnel were convicted for the shootings, but many claim the trials failed to hold accountable those responsible for ordering the shootings.

On 16 January 2020, the Attorney General ST Burhanuddin attended aconsultation meeting with Commission III of the Indonesian House of Representative (DPR). During the session, he denied that the shootings were “gross human rights violations”, citing the DPR’s “plenary session’s result” in an apparent reference to the DPR’s 2001 recommendation that the shootings in Trisakti, Semanggi I, and Semanggi II were not gross human rights violations as defined in Law no. 26 (2000) on Human Rights Court.