The Tragedies of Trisakti, Semanggi I and II Reconciliation Option: Evidence of Moving Away from the Fulfilment of Settlement Promise

Recently, Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Cultural Affairs and Chairman of National Commission on Human Rights stated that the allegedly gross human rights violation cases of Trisakti and Semanggi I and II cases would be resolved by reconciliation. This decision was made by referring to political direction of Indonesian Government which indeed preferred the resolution of the cases in a non judicial form. The decision seemed to be made in a rush, and it also showed that the government has ignored the fair and comprehensive principles on impunity prevention toward the past gross human right violation cases. Whereas, President Joko Widodo has mentioned several times in public that gross human right violation cases (including tragedies of Trisakti and Semanggi I & II) would be solved fairly and with dignity. The recent reconciliation announcement has opened up a lot of questions and awkwardness.

First, refers to the existing facts, Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Cultural Affairs, Wiranto, was the Minister of Defence and Security / Commander-in-Chief of the Indonesian Armed Forces when the tragedies of Trisakti, Semanggi I and II occurred. He is suspected as the actor behind the gross human right violations tragedies. According to National Commission on Human Rights, Wiranto failed in fulfilling his duty as Minister of Defence and Security. He was unable to secure the situations and caused a lot of casualties in the tragedies that occurred in 1998 and 1999. It becomes awkward while someone is suspected as the offender behind these tragedies, all of sudden at the same time a non judicial solution to resolve this case was announced unilaterally, left behind the obligation of legal accountability.

Second, National Commission on Human Rights an institution which is mandated to conduct an investigation for suspected gross human rights violations, based on Law No. 26 / 2000 about Human Rights Court, seems to forget its own decision. The choice to support the reconciliation shown that National Commission on Human Rights has delegitimized its own decision which stated at the last period, of which it confidently agreed of the allegation of gross human rights violation in the tragedies of Trisakti, Semanggi I and II.

Third, National Commission on Human Rights together with the government should have urged the Attorney General to follow up the investigation result done by National Commission on Human Rights by conducting immediate investigation for the allegation of gross human right violation for those tragedies. All this time, the Attorney General (as mentioned by the previous Attorney General) has been giving excuse that the process of investigation was hindered by the principle of nebis in idem,  due to the Military Court has been involved in it. This reason surely is not in line with the liability principles in the case of gross human rights, and it simply is a form of unwillingness to immediately conduct a legal process.

The reason saying that the House of Representative (DPR) does not conduct any follow up of National Commission on Human Rights investigation result through Special Committee (Pansus) regarding the gross human right violation cases of Trisakti, Semanggi I and II, also could be rejected with the issue of Putusan MK No. 18/PUU-V/2007 in the review of Human Rights Court Law review. This decision states that DPR is no longer having the authority to decide whether or not an incident is considered seriously violating human rights. According to Supreme Court (MK) interpretation, the authority of DPR is only to continue the investigation conducted by National Commission on Human Rights and Attorney General.

Regarding this fact, the President should have taken appropriate decisive actions and in accordance to his authority to ensure that the Attorney General works within the scope of his duties, obligations, and responsibilities as mandated by the Law. Moreover, most of the victims and the actors behind the tragedies of the Trisakti, Semanggi I and II are still alive. Some of them even still hold strategic political positions. Therefore, there is no excuse for the Attorney General to say that it is difficult to search for evidence and to collect witnesses’ statements.

By considering those situations, Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM) emphasizes;

First, the President Joko Widodo to take political lead in resolving the past gross human right violation cases, in order to fulfil the political promises as stated in Nawacita and RPJMN 2015-2019;

Second, the President to instruct Attorney General to conduct the follow up on the investigation result done by National Commission on Human Rights related to the allegation of gross human right violation cases in the tragedies of Trisakti, Semanggi I and II, as well as to urge for effective actions taken as soon as possible in order to ensure that each related party does its duties, obligation and responsibilities, without being influenced by any political interest.

Third, the need to evaluate the performance of Coordinating Minister of Defence and Security and Attorney General which often do not go along with the agenda of resolving the past gross human rights violations cases. In two years of President Joko Widodo’s leadership, there is no any significant achievement in resolving the past gross human rights violations cases. The key actors in the government, the president’s assistants, who has the mandate to resolve the cases yet their actions often are not in line with the President political promise;

Fourth, National Commission on Human Rights should have a firm stand as a state institution which is mandated to conduct investigation for the allegation of the gross human rights violations. In the reality, the reconciliation solution that announced showed that it delegitimizes its own decision by preventing the legal process which should have been the follow up from the investigation. This situation surely does not go along with Law No. 39/1999 about human rights, which regulate the authority of National Commission on Human Rights, as well as Law No. 26/2000 about human rights court.