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INDONESIA: Tanjong Priok massacre victims seek compensation for their sufferings

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An open letter related to the Tanjong Priok massacre in 1984 based on Komnas HAM (Human Rights Commission) Inquiry Team was sent to the following on 11 September: Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudoyono, President Republic of Indonesia; Mr. Andi Mattalatta, Ministry of Law and Human Rights; and Mr. Hendarman Supandji, Attorney General.

In 2003, the trial of the controversial Tanjung Priok case involved defendant Sutrisno Mascung and 10 members; Pranowo, R. A Butar-Butar and Sriyanto.

In 2004, an ad hoc trial initially imposed jail term on RA Butar Butar (10 years) and Sutrisno Mascung (3 years) and his members (2 year).Pranowo and Sriyanto were declared not guilty. Later in 2005, the trial judge released RA Butar Butar and Sutrisno Mascung. Between 2005 to 2006, the Supreme Court released all defendants.

The earlier sentence included compensation for victims. However, when the defendants were released, the part about compensation was unclear as the judge did not mention the problem of victims' rights in the release sentences. In fact, the fulfillment of compensation was subjected to a guilty charge on the defendants and was not considered a part of the main rights of victims.

Meanwhile in 2007, a group of victims appealed to the Central Jakarta Court for compensation. The amount of compensation demanded totalled 1,015 billion (IDR).

According to Government Regulation (PP) no. 3 year 2002 the Attorney General has an obligation to appeal for reparation of victims of human rights such as Tanjung Priok massacre 1984.

Therefore, in the open letter, the Attorney General was urged to seek the right of reparation for victims of the Tanjung Priok massacre in 1984. This action is in line with the statements of support by the President on 26 March, during a meeting with several victims and members of KONTRAS.

During the meeting, the President pledged to resolve cases of past abuses in Indonesian, including those in Tanjung Priok.