Justice and human rights for Aceh have decreased with Article 228
19 July 2006 6:00 pm
On 11 July 2006, the long awaited Law on the Governance of Aceh (LoGA) was finally approved by the parliament of the Republic of Indonesia. The final law retained much of the original proposed text but falls short in expressing the aspiration of the Acehnese people on making provisions on justice and human rights for them. This could hamper the full integration and the healing process of those victims under the long period of state repression.On 11 July 2006, the long awaited Law on the Governance of Aceh (LoGA) was finally approved by the parliament of the Republic of Indonesia. The final law retained much of the original proposed text but falls short in expressing the aspiration of the Acehnese people on making provisions on justice and human rights for them. This could hamper the full integration and the healing process of those victims under the long period of state repression.
FORUM-ASIA and the Aceh Working Group (AWG) expresses deep concerns about Article 228 of the LoGA. The Law had gone through a six-month deliberation by the members of the Drafting Committee, consisting of politicians from Aceh Province who has been tasked to formulate the draft Law based on the people’s aspirations.
The deletion of a crucial paragraph in the Article implies that the unclear timeframe will result in the lack of fair and just judicial mechanisms for the victims of human rights violations during the periods known as “Military Area Operation” (Daerah Operasi Militer), “Humanitarian Pause I & II” and “Martial Law and Civil Emergency”.
Article 228 only raised the instituted reparation rights as compensation, and not as basic rights such as restitution and rehabilitation, stipulated in the resolution and clearly opposes the Joinet Principle (the principle of prevention of impunity) that is widely accepted by the international community.
The rights for victims of past human rights violations in Aceh has clearly been “hijacked” on Article 228. The Drafting Committee were also seen as understating the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the government of Indonesia and Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM) on 15 August 2005 in Helsinki, Finland.
The Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights (KOMNAS HAM) which were aware of human rights violations committed over this period, also did not attempt to raise the matter during the deliberation process.
As a member of the newly established United Nations Human Rights Council, Indonesia’s move using its parliament can be viewed as counter-productive. This is especially after making pledges and commitments to uphold the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Based on this, FORUM-ASIA believes that some political elites have vested interests in maintaining the status quo, thus sidelining the importance of truth and justice for the victims in Aceh. This expected move by the political elites worries the vast majority of civil society about the ongoing impunity in Indonesia.
Based on the enactment of the LoGA, FORUM-ASIA and AWG expresses deep regret to the parliament of the Republic of Indonesia for failing to:
1. Bridge the gap between the people’s draft and the Constitutional Law in the spirit of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) as a basis of the LoGA;
2. Be open and just in the making of the LoGA which has been marred with closed door negotiation;
3. Use the LoGA with people’s full participation as a model for troubled regions.
As it seems that the legislative efforts has failed to live up to the key aspirations of the Acehnese population, FORUM-ASIA and AWG call other key stakeholders to monitor the peace-building and reintegration process in Aceh.
Monitoring can also fall back on the current European Union-led Aceh Monitoring Mission, based on the MoU as well as Constitutional Law No. 26 (Human Rights Court) and No. 27 (Truth and Reconciliation Commission).