INDONESIA: 24 Years since the Student Shooting in the Trisakti case: A Human Rights Case Becomes a Political Bargain?

In commemorating the 24th year of the student shooting in Trisakti and Semanggi, and with two years to go before the General Election in 2024, the Minister of the State Owned Company (BUMN), Mr. Erick Thohir appointed the Bank Tabungan Negara (BTN) to provide houses for the four families of the victims of the student shooting of the Trisakti case which occurred on 12 May, 1998.

In addition, on 26 April, 2022, the Coordinator Minister of Economic Affairs, Mr. Airlangga Hartarto along with the Minister of Industry, Mr. Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita provided IDR 750,000,000 to each family of the victims of the student shooting.

The AHRC’s point of view is that paying attention and care to the victims of human rights violations is a virtue that every human being can do, on a personal level, without the need to hold a position. At the Government level, attention and concern for victims of human rights violations is a black and white obligation, based upon national law as follows: 1# the 1945 Constitution (UUD 1945), 2# Law Number 39 of 1999 on Human Rights, 3# Law 26 Number 2000 on the Human Rights Court, 4# Law 31 of 2014 on the Victims and Witnesses Protection Agency (LPSK) and other relevant laws and regulations.

As a public official, formulating appropriate policies with the active participation of victims in their formulation can maximize the use of the State Budget (APBN) and the human resources of Ministries/institutions for a comprehensive remedy, can respect the dignity of victims by giving recognition and accountability of the State for human rights violations which occurred, and can reach all victims of human rights violations. Such a policy based on the law is also important to ensure the continuity of recovery for victims, without being easily disturbed by different political interests between public officials from one period to the next.

In fact, the settlement of the gross violation of human rights in a fair and dignified manner is a debt promise that has not been implemented by Mr. Joko Widodo’s administration since 2014. The State still owes and is obliged to reveal the truth, hold human rights courts to uphold justice and also punish the perpetrators, restore the conditions of the victims of human rights violations, and ensure the non-repetition of the gross violations of human rights which are also the rights of all citizens. The follow up to the investigation report by the National Commission on Human Rights and the use of the President’s authority to convene the Trisakti student shooting to the Human Rights Court and other gross violations of human rights are still being demanded by the public in Indonesia.

Socio-economic conditions as one of the aspects affected by the gross violation of human rights must be the responsibility of the State. The recovery of socio-economic aspects along with medical and psychological aspects has been clearly regulated under the Law 31 Number 2014 on the Victims and Witnesses Protection Agency which is related to the implementation of the Human Rights Court in accordance with the Law Number 26 of 2000 on the Human Rights Court. Carelessly sorting out policies and targets for the resolution of gross violation of human rights will only create discrimination and undermine the regulations that already regulate the fulfilment of victims’ rights. As a consequence, this method does not solve the crux of the problem because it only perpetuates impunity.

The chosen policy, merely in the socio-economic realm and only to a number of parties, only repeats what the Government reconciliation teams have done so far and has proven not to be the right choice. Giving a number of assets to victims without a policy based on the law is still clearly recorded in a number of instances.

During the time of the Human Rights Court for the Tanjung Priok case in 2003-2006, there was an intervention in the form of giving material from the perpetrators to a number of witnesses and victims to change their statements before the court, so as to divide the positions of the victims. For the victims of the Talangsari case, the construction of basic infrastructure such as roads and water facilities in 2019 is considered a form of recovery and resolution of the gross violations of human rights. The activity which coincided with the “islah” version of the Integrated Team initiated by the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal and Security Affairs was later declared a form of maladministration by the Ombudsman of the Republic of Indonesia.

Changes in the testimony of the victims and the families of the victims of the case of the gross violation of human rights in the Tanjung Priok case has proven to be one of the weaknesses behind the absence of a single perpetrator being found guilty by the Court. The poor quality of the Human Rights Court in the Tanjung Priok case also caused access to comprehensive victim recovery based on Court decisions to be cut off. The maladministrative manoeuvre of the Integrated Team under the supervision of the Coordinator Minister of Political, Legal and Security Affairs was also considered to be an example of a breakthrough by the State and then the Government tried to replicate it at a number of points and then it also became the forerunner of problematic regulations such as the Presidential Regulation Plan for the Presidential Working Unit for Handling Cases in Serious Human Rights Violations through Non-Judicial Mechanisms (UKP-PPHB). Non-compliance with the State’s steps with legal provisions and the voices of victims of gross human rights violations are patterns that continue to be pursued and will never be changed.

This condition causes injustice and remedies have not been obtained for the victims and the families of the victims. The truth of the case has also not been revealed and disseminated to the public. The worst condition is that there is still no significant change in the institutions of the perpetrators of gross human rights violations, for instance the Military and the Police, which creates a high potential for recurrence. In the context of the Trisakti student shooting, the way the State represented by the Police handled mass actions is still repressive and caused victims of the gross violation of human rights.

The involvement of the Coordinating Ministry for the Economy, the Ministry of Industry and the Ministry of State Budget in this activity should also be examined regarding the suitability of the nomenclature as well as the main tasks and functions of the Ministry of Institutions related to the resolution of gross human rights violations. The origin of the policies and budgets of this activity is also an aspect that deserves to be made transparent. The legal basis, background and motive behind this activity must also be made clear considering the activities of Airlangga Hartarto and Erick Thohir in the political practices. The image of the two people trying to enter the electoral market in 2024 can be seen in the tone of a number of reports that have emerged as a result of this activity.

Taking into consideration the abovementioned facts and information, the AHRC urges:

1. President Joko Widodo fulfills his promises to resolve the gross violation of human rights in Indonesia in accordance with national and international human rights law.

2. The Coordinator Minister of the Economy, the Minister of Industry and the Minister of State Budget have to publish detailed information regarding the policy on budget allocation and houses for the families of the victims of the Trisakti student shooting.