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The Strange Termination of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Indonesia

Colloquium with I Gusti Agung Putri Astrid Kartika, Director of the Indonesian human rights organization ELSAM

Thursday, April 05, 2007
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
10367 Bunche Hall
UCLA Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90095

The highest law-making body of the Indonesian state (the MPR) passed a resolution in 2001 requiring the president and the parliament (the DPR) to create a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). After that, two presidential administrations and most major political parties dragged their feet, wary about seeing the resolution actually implemented. The process for formulating the law regulating the commission's work was finally passed by the DPR in 2004 and a list of candidate commissioners was compiled by a selection committee in 2005.

President Yudhoyono's administration, worried about what would happen if the commission was created and past cases of human rights violations were openly debated, sat on the list for a year. It appeared as if it was determined not to establish the commission. In the meantime, the newly created Constitutional Court (Mahkamah Konstitusi) decided in December 2006 that the DPR's law on the TRC was unconstitutional. Even without the court's decision, the TRC might never have been formed given the resistance to it from major political actors, but that decision definitively, irrevocably aborted the TRC.

This paper discusses the debates over the TRC since the fall of Suharto in 1998, the resistance to it from certain sectors of political opinion, the Constitutional Court's unexpected decision, and the options available now for dealing with past large scale human rights violations.

I Gusti Agung Putri Astrid Kartika is the director of the Indonesian human rights organization ELSAM (Lembaga Studi dan Advokasi Masyarakat - The Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy).  Information about ELSAM is available on their website

Parking in UCLA's Lot 3 costs $8.

Cost : Free and open to the public.


Sponsor(s): Center for Southeast Asian Studies

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