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President wants action on Soeharto massacre

Atrocities of 1960's purge come to light

Members of this woman's family were among the half a million killed  (Photo Ryan Dagur) Members of this woman's family were among the half a million killed (Photo Ryan Dagur)
  • By Ryan Dagur, Jakarta
  • Indonesia
  • July 26, 2012
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President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered the attorney general to follow up on the findings of the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM,) which determined that a crackdown on communists 45 years ago was a gross violation of human rights.

“We must be clear, honest and objective about what happened in the past. We're not going to distort the history and facts,” President Yudhoyono said yesterday.

After a four-year investigation, involving interviews with hundreds of witnesses, the commission announced its findings on the anti-communist purge earlier this week.

It said it had discovered evidence of severe violations and crimes in the purge, which was ordered in 1965-66 and accounted for the deaths of more than half a million people.

It also concluded that the now defunct Operational Command for the Restoration of Security (Kopkamtib) was largely  responsible. The force was established in October 1965 and headed by Soeharto, who succeeded Indonesia’s first president Soekarno after he was overthrown.

The report said the crimes came in the form of murder, enslavement, expulsion or forcible transfer of population, deprivation of liberty or physical liberty, torture, rape and enforced disappearances.

“We want a good, just, factual, and constructive settlement,” Yudhoyono said, adding that he would also consult with legislative bodies and other institutions regarding the findings.

Haris Azhar, coordinator of the Commission for Disappearances and Victims of Violence (KontraS), who monitored the investigation process, praised the president’s immediate response but warned that it must be followed by concrete action.

“He must act progressively by urging the attorney general to immediately form a team to follow up on this report. Do not just talk," Azhar said.

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