Indonesia: End impunity for enforced disappearances

Press release

Paris, Jakarta, 28 November 2014: The Indonesian government must step up efforts to investigate all cases of enforced disappearances and hold the perpetrators accountable, FIDH and its member organization KontraS said today.

The two organizations made the call on the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of Dedek Khairudin, a 31-year-old fisherman who was taken by local armed military personnel from his home in Pangkalan Brandan, North Sumatra, on 28 November 2013.

“The government’s failure to determine Dedek Khairudin’s fate or whereabouts and deliver justice to his family is the latest example of a decades-long trend of impunity for perpetrators of enforced disappearances in Indonesia,” said FIDH President Karim Lahidji.

According to Dedek Khairudin’s family, the soldiers detained him because they believed he knew where a suspect in the stabbing of a soldier was hiding. On 29 November 2013, Dedek Khairudin’s family visited police and military headquarters in Pangkalan Brandan to ascertain his whereabouts. Both the police and the military informed the family that he was not in their custody. Dedek’s whereabouts remains unknown to this day.

On 10 October 2014, a military court found five army soldiers guilty of abducting Dedek and sentenced them to prison terms ranging from 14 to 17 months. A sixth soldier was acquitted of the crime. During the trial, the accused soldiers claimed that they had released Dedek unharmed. The trial was conducted in a non-transparent manner. Information on the trial schedule was not publicly released and access for independent monitors to attend the proceedings was difficult.

FIDH and KontraS call on the Indonesian government to thoroughly investigate Dedek Khairudin’s case and all other unsolved cases of enforced disappearances. It is imperative to bring those responsible to justice and provide reparations to victims and their families.

In particular, authorities must investigate the role that military and law enforcement agencies played in the enforced disappearance of 13 activists and pro-democracy students in 1997-1998.

FIDH and KontraS also urge Indonesia to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED) and incorporate its provisions into its national laws as a matter of priority. Indonesia has signed, but not yet ratified, the ICPPED.

“President Joko Widodo must deliver on his election campaign promise to address past human rights violations, including enforced disappearances. The time has come to break the chain of impunity that has characterized previous administrations,” said KontraS Executive Director Haris Azhar.

Under former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the Indonesian government failed to implement the recommendations that the House of Representatives (DPR) made on cases of enforced disappearances that occurred in 1997-1998. On 30 September 2009, the DPR recommended that the government: establish an ad hoc human rights court; investigate the disappearance of the 13 missing activists and pro-democracy students; provide compensation and rehabilitation to the victims’ families; and ratify the ICPPED.

On 27 April 2012, KontraS, along with the families of victims of enforced disappearances, filed a complaint with the Ombudsman against Yudhoyono for malfeasance concerning his administration’s failure to adequately investigate the 1997-1998 cases of enforced disappearances. On 15 May 2012, the Ombudsman recognized that there had been “undue delay” in solving those cases. The Ombudsman stated that the delay clearly amounted to negligence, which violated the principles of good governance.

“President Widodo is obligated to act on the DPR’s recommendations or he will be guilty of malfeasance just as his predecessor,” warned Mr. Azhar.

Press contacts
Mr. Andrea Giorgetta (English) - Tel: +66 886 117722 (Bangkok)
Mr. Arthur Manet (French, English, Spanish) - Tel: +33 6 72 28 42 94 (Paris)
Ms. Audrey Couprie (French, English, Spanish) - Tel: +33 6 48 05 91 57 (Paris)

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