Indonesia Anonymus

We are a group of Indonesians, ranting about our beloved country. This blog is a result of many people grumbling about many things in many ways.
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Anonymus is the Latin word for anonymous, the correct English spelling. The Latin spelling, however, is traditionally used by scholars in the humanities to refer to an ancient writer whose name is not known, or to a manuscript of their work. Read more at Wikipedia.

Our blog in Bahasa Indonesia (but rarely updated) can be found here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Politics, Spare Tire and Baggage

"Vice presidency is like a spare tire. It has no power to do anything." said Prabowo's henchman at the Gerindra party [1].

But that was a week ago. This week, apparently it is ok for Prabowo to be a spare tire in Megawati bandwagon, and it will be made official on May 24 [2].

People, however, have not forgotten about his past.

"His past? You mean his crime against humanity thing?" asked one friend.

Now hang on a minute. We are not defending Prabowo, but if he is at all charged for this crime, we certainly have not found the information to support it. (but we stand corrected). 

"Isn't there an arrest warrant out there somewhere?" 

Actually, no. 
There is however an arrest warrant against Wiranto, issued by The Serious Crime Unit (SCU) of the East Timor General Prosecutor's Office [3]. Not by the UN nor ICC. So folks, this is not the same as the warrant issued by the ICC against for example the president of Sudan, Omar Al Bashir [4].

We are not saying Prabowo or Wiranto are saints. We are just making an effort to get the facts straight.

So Prabowo has nothing to worry about.

Except for the stories from the past that will keep resurfacing:

The British paper Guardian in 1999 wrote:
"US trained butchers of Timor: Specific commanders trained under the US programme have been tied to the current violence and to some of the worst massacres of the past 20 years, including the slaughter at Kraras in 1983 and at Santa Cruz in 1991. The US-trained commanders include the son-in-law of the late dictator General Suharto, Prabowo Subianto and his mentor, General Kiki Syahnakri" [5]

The UNHCR in 1998 published an update that said:
"in July, a military tribunal held Prabowo accountable for the much-publicized abduction and torture of several opposition and student activists and discharged him from the Armed Forces. By the end of the summer, evidence that Prabowo and his allies had instigated the violent anti-Chinese riots in mid-May in Jakarta also began to surface." [6]

And one more: Mr Prabowo has been denied visa to enter USA. For life. That's according to Robert Gelbard, former US ambassador to Indonesia and foreign policy advisor to Barack Obama [7]

This means (if it is not changed), he can never set foot on american soil. Ever. (that would include unable to visit the UN headquarter in NY. But hey, that's the president's job. Vice president stays at home and be - oh, well - spare tire.) 

[Correction : As host, the United States is obligated under U.N. rules to approve visas to foreign leaders no matter their relations with the United States, and no one has ever been barred [9]. Thank you Silverlines.]

Megawati may embrace Prabowo with a hope that he can boost her to the forefront of the presidential race. But with such history, her spare tire may also become a heavy baggage.

However, speaking of baggage, we end this post by leaving you with a cutting from the Jakarta Post, commemorating the May 1998 riot:

"Both the government's fact-finding team (TGPF) and the rights body's team are of the same opinion that the riots involved intelligence personnel and that someone had hired the rioters.
The rights body's investigation team said current Golkar presidential candidate Gen. (ret) Wiranto, then the Indonesian Military (TNI) chief, Prabowo and the Democrats' Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, then the TNI chief of territorial affairs, were three of dozens of military and police officers who were responsible for security at that time. [8]

The stupid neither forgive nor forget; 
the naive forgive and forget;
the wise forgive but do not forget.

Thomas Szasz



Anonymous Silverlines said...

A good reading.
However, it seems that your number (6) reference is not really UNHCR's paper nor it was its views. It was written by Writenet which disclaimer says " ... The views expressed in the papers are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of UNHCR."

That might have to be rather corrected.

Still, I like what I read. :)

7:49 AM  
Anonymous Silverlines said...

Oh and I forgot to ask, I believe that ICC cannot issue any warrant to anyone who is a citizen of a country that has not ratified the convention?

And we are not the Human Rights Convention signatory (can you imagine if we are! :D *pun intended*) therefore no one can be arrested under the clauses in the Convention.

Please do correct me if I am wrong.

7:52 AM  
Blogger Indonesia Anonymus said...

Oops. Our bad. Totally missed the Writenet thing. Mistake is corrected. Thank you Silverlines.

About the arrest warrant, as far as we know (and don't quote us on this), ICC can still issue the warrant. Sudan is a good example.

Once a warrant is issued, countries that have ratified the Rome statute of the International Criminal Court must comply (meaning must enforce the arrest). 108 countries all together. Last time we checked, Sudan is not one of them. So they have an excuse to ignore it.

However, ICC does not do the arrest itself because it has no police force. Hence it must rely on the international community to do it.

That's why Omar Al Bashir can only travel to limited countries this days. Wrong itinerary can cost him dearly.

2:36 PM  
Anonymous Silverlines said...

I see. I thought warrant can only be issued to the citizens of those countries who have ratified the Rome Statute.

As for Indonesia, the plan was 2008 when the President signed the National Plan of Action of Human Rights, yes?
Now it looks a tad hazy, don't you think? ;-)

PS: Someone just told me that USA as a host of the UN are obliged to give visa for an official delegation of UN meetings, regardless. So he can still do a sightseeing at UN HQs in New York :D

This news might help?

Thanks for the explanation though!

4:10 PM  
Blogger Indonesia Anonymus said...

Thank you Silverlines for the information. We added your correction.

About the National Plan of Action of Human Rights, if we read it here, it did not seem to touch on the ICC thing. It talked about the Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989, Convention on the Rights of Women but nothing about signing the Rome statute.

Looks like Indonesia is tiptoeing carefully.
But still better than nothing. No?

8:01 PM  
Anonymous Silverlines said...

I think what you were looking at was the National Plan of Action for 1998 - 2003.

Indonesia had (or still have them as a plan?) the one of 2004 - 2009 here and it includes Rome Statute of ICC.

Now, I guess only less than 5 (if I am not mistaken) has been ratified from what was planned (more than 10) but I guess there might be a lot of political risks on signing the Rome Statute. The Hague will be full with Indonesian, do you think? ;-)

But you are right, for whatever reason, Indonesia has been tiptoeing (too) carefully on the ratification. It will bring a whole new world if we are to be seriously implementing it.

9:29 PM  
Blogger Indonesia Anonymus said...

Ah, thank you again. We've never learned so much from one post like this one.

You are right. The ICC thing is there. It's 2004-2009, so the clock is ticking.

We're not quite sure about the political risk of signing the Rome statute. No one has been charged of anything so far. Just because Indonesia signs it does not mean ICC would suddenly churn out arrest warrants.

But we must admit, imagining the Hague full of Indonesia's human right abusers does sound somewhat entertaining...

11:33 PM  

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