Constitutionalism of Past Human Rights Abuses Resolution: Multiple Ways for Indonesia

ELSAM, Jakarta – The dynamics of attempts to resolve past human rights violations have seemed to offer a binary option: judicial or non-judicial; Reconciliation or Human Rights Court. In the midst of the debate regarding the settlement of past human rights violations, people forget about the value of the Constitution, which has legitimacy in efforts to resolve past human rights violations.

Coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the Republic of Indonesia and the 50th anniversary of the 1965 humanitarian tragedy, KKPK held a reflection of the movement directed towards resolving past human rights violations, which has been running for decades. One agenda of the reflection was to hold a public discussion on “Constitutionalism and Settlement of Past Human Rights Violations” on 21 August 2015, at Oria Hotel, Jakarta.

In the opening of public discussion attended by 100 members and of KKPK’s network from 17 cities and regencies in Indonesia, coordinator KKPK, Kamala Candrakirana, stated that remedies for past human rights violations need a basic framework for cooperation of the various parties. The basic framework for the settlement of past human rights violations, she added, contains six pillars consistent with humanitarian values and the Indonesian constitution.

The six pillars are: 1) preservation of the integrity of Indonesia as a state of law. 2) disclosure of the truth and recognition of the truth. 3) restoration of dignity and livelihood of the victims 4) education and public dialogue towards reconciliation 5) prevention of recurrence through changes in policy and institutional reform, 6) active participation of victims and survivors.

“We believe that as a whole, the six pillars are mandated by the constitution, and, if implemented, have a transformative power for the nation and the state,” she said.

Golkar Party politician Hajriyanto Tohari, who was one of the speakers in the public discussion, stated that implicitly or substantively, settlement of human rights violations is one of the broad agendas of the constitution. According to him, TAP MPR V 2000 gives a kind of a roadmap for the settlement of past human rights violations, which can be explicitly recognized and assigns the government to reveal the truth of human rights violations, while at the same time carrying out reconciliation.

“The most important part of TAP MPR V 2000 is fundamental and strategic for the settlement of past human rights violations. The issue was explicitly mentioned in the preamble, and there was also recognition elsewhere that horizontal and vertical conflict are largely caused by abuse of power and human rights violations,” said Hajriyanto Tohari, who was formerly Vice Chairman of the Assembly.

Meanwhile, according to former member of the Presidential Advisory Council Albert Hasibuan, the issue of human rights and its resolution with the Constitution as a Grundnorm is an excellent step. This is because theologically, the Constitution acts as the basic law and hence sociologically it serves as a tool for social engineering.

“In theoretical terms, the constitution means a basic reference for the government and citizens to resolve human rights violations. This baseline will provide protection for human rights as the realisation of Indonesia as a state of law,” explained Albert Hasibuan.

Albert Hasibuan also added that the current process of reconciliation is not in accordance with the Constitution, which is based on justice and equality before law, as well as social and moral values. He said that reconciliation must be based on truth, because only then the wounds of the past can be healed. And more importantly, settlement of human rights violations should be a political will of the government that is open on the politics of humanity.

“The first thing to do for the government is creating a political will. When we are open to the politics of humanity, the future will be a better humanity. In fact, now we have not fully thought or resolved the issue. It would be excellent if we all raise the issue so that people are aware that human rights and settlement of past human rights violations is good for the future,” added Albert.

Writer: Lintang Setianti
Editor: Ari Yurino