Dear colleagues, friends and participants,
After four days of extremely intense hearings, we want to express our deepest thanks, appreciation and admiration for the survivors and witnesses who had the courage to speak in public about the events in 1965- 66 and the following years. This is the first time that survivors of the 1965 events have had the opportunity to speak out. This International People’s Tribunal was set up to render some form of justice not only to them but also to all survivors and victims of the atrocities.
Survivors and witnesses have talked about their sufferings, the brutal crimes they were exposed to, and the harm, discrimination and stigmatization that they face until today. The survivors dared to speak about the unspeakable. They are brave and strong. They have shown that, even after more than 50 years, the crimes and the consequences are present as if they occurred yesterday.
They testified for themselves and for their families, but also for all survivors who could not appear before this tribunal. Their testimony has been broadcasted and preserved, and everybody in Indonesia and worldwide can, and must, listen to their voices.
Although the homepage of the tribunal seems to be inaccessible in Indonesia— maybe blocked—means have been found to circumvent this attack against the
International People’s Tribunal. This is another attempt to silence the voices of the victims.
The testimonies shed light on the 1965 events and, by doing this, they change history as it is written and taught in Indonesia until today. Those who testified got some relief, although the scars and sufferings remain.
We would also like to extend great thanks to the experts who testified before the tribunal, and who provided very valuable background information and explanations about what happened back then. However, archives are not yet fully opened and a lot still needs to be done to clear up the full scale of crimes that were committed.
We also want to thank all who supported and contributed in so many ways to the setting up of the International People’s Tribunal and made it possible for the hearings to take place.
Finally, yet importantly, we want to acknowledge the testimony of the commissioner of the National Human Rights Commission, KOMNAS HAM, Dr Dianto Bachriadi. He demonstrated great courage to appear before the tribunal in an unofficial capacity. He reported on the difficulties of getting the recommendations of the report of the Komhas HAM implemented. The commission spent four years investigating the crimes against humanity, committed during the events of 1965.
He confirmed that the Komnas HAM findings are very similar to the counts 1-7 of the indictment that the prosecution submitted to this tribunal. There is enough evidence to open an investigation. Dr Dianto Bachriadi insisted that the truth must be revealed and properly established as a starting point for reconciliation. In other words, no reconciliation without truth.
Ms Mariana Amiruddin, the commissioner of the Komnas Perempuan, the National Commission on Violence Again Women, also appeared before the tribunal. She attended the hearings and testified in her official capacity. Ms Amiruddin confirmed that the Komnas Perempuan report, which documents sexual and gender-based violence committed during the 1965 events, describes 3 cases and patterns of sexual and gender-based violence that are similar to those submitted by the prosecution in its indictment.
We would like to thank both commissioners for their important contributions through their testimonies and through the reports that they have produced, all based on testimonies of victims.
It is unfortunate that the government of Indonesia has not yet implemented the recommendations of both reports.
I would also like to mention the difficult circumstances which the hearings of the International People’s Tribunal faced. After more than 50 years, the government of Indonesia is still reluctant to acknowledge the facts and the crimes that were committed. It was not possible to hold the hearing in Indonesia, and the government continues to suppress actively the truth about the 1965 events. That is more than regrettable. Nevertheless, it is a great success that the hearings here in The Hague have taken place, and that many violations and crimes could be brought before the bench of judges, who will assess the evidence.
As a German citizen, who lives every day with the knowledge of my country’s recent criminal and bloody past, and as an international lawyer and prosecutor before the International People’s Tribunal, I would like to begin by quoting from the closing statement of the British lead prosecutor, Hartley Shawcross, in the Nuremberg trials:
The law triumphs over the evil. The proceedings were not guided for the sake of revenge but by the strong resolution that such heinous crimes never ever occur again.
This well-intentioned hope expressed by the lead prosecutor, in a world still suffering under the shock of the Second World War, has been frustrated. History has proved that wars and attacks against the civilian population have continued in many regions of the world.
In Indonesia, in the middle of the Cold War and only 20 years after the Nuremberg trials, the Indonesian government, through the military and the police in concert with certain social and religious organizations, committed mass crimes. They were directed against alleged members of the PKI, the Communist party of Indonesia, and its allegedly affiliated sympathizers. The specific intent was to eliminate them as a national group within Indonesian society.
During the four days of hearings, we heard of mass killings, enslavement, imprisonment, torture, sexual violence, persecution, enforced disappearances, persecution through propaganda and complicity of foreign countries, in particular by the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Australia. The international community was aware of the mass crimes but remained silent.
The survivors still live with detailed knowledge of what their daily existence was like in those years. They live with the horrible torture and ill-treatment perpetrated against them every single day and night. I dedicate to them the following lines by Jean Améry, a survivor of the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz. I quote:
Anyone who has been tortured remains tortured. Anyone who has suffered torture will never again be at ease in the world. The abomination of annihilation is never extinguished.
The survivors have to deal on a daily basis with their memories. They want to be recognized as victims of horrible crimes and they wanted to give evidence of the
incomprehensible inhumane treatment that deprived them of their dignity as human beings.
They ask the question, “Why was I selected to be imprisoned, tortured, enslaved? I was not guilty of anything.”
The families want to know what has actually happened to their loved ones. Which torture methods were they subjected to? Were they interrogated and by whom? Did they leave any hidden message for us? Did they call out for help? How and where were they killed and by whom? Were they raped and sexually assaulted? Where were they disappeared to? Why were they selected to be dehumanized?
Both of them, the survivors and their families are seeking justice. But what does this justice mean for them? For both of them justice means, among other things, finding the truth and getting answers to their excruciating and relentless questions which haunt them at night and deprive them of necessary sleep.
When they do sleep it is often inadequate. There is permanent restlessness in their souls, and the events prey on their minds. They are permanently deprived of a peaceful life to this very day. In Indonesia, they are discriminated against, stigmatized and silenced until today. They demand to know the entire historical truth of what happened to their beloved ones, who are only ghost-like visions as long as no detailed information about their fate is available. Learning this information is the only way to re-establish the dignity of their beloved ones. Learning this information is the only way to release the living from these horrors, so they are able to live their own lives free of unanswered questions and visions from the past.
The prosecution believes that we have been able to present strong evidence during the four-day hearings. We believe this evidence convincingly proves the crimes against humanity, as we have listed them in the indictment, and demonstrates the responsibility of the State of Indonesia for these crimes. The evidence presented also confirms that the governments of the United States, The United Kingdom and Australia are responsible for complicity, by offering significant and conscious support to the Indonesian government in its commission of crimes against humanity.
However, there may be more foreign governments involved. Many archives are still closed. By actively disclosing the evidence, foreign states could contribute to the legitimate search for the truth.
The prosecution incorporates by reference the prosecution’s brief, outlining the legal framework under international law as applicable to crimes against humanity as charged in the indictment.
The indictment does not and cannot cover all crimes that were committed. Part of the attack against the civilian population was the eviction of people from their land. Entire villages were emptied and people forcibly transferred. Their property was confiscated, and they lost the basis for making their living. Until today, the government does not recognize their losses and does not compensate them.
The prosecution acknowledges the commission of these crimes. However, they could not be included into the indictment before the International People’s
Tribunal. Further investigation of these crimes is urgently needed.
State Responsibility Under International Law:
- Pursuant to the Articles on the Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts, the State of Indonesia is internationally responsible for the acts committed. These Articles represent customary international law and thus legally binding on all States.
- A State is responsible for the commission of serious crimes, such as crimes against humanity, if it facilitates, aids, abets, supports and commits such crimes under their responsibility and through state actors.
- The acts were committed under the full responsibility of the State. General Suharto immediately assumed de facto control of the capital and the armed forces on 2 October 1965. A new Operations Command for the Restoration of Security and Order (Kopkamtib) was established on 10 October to implement the liquidation of the PKI and alleged sympathisers. On 1 November 1965, General Suharto was appointed as the Chief Commander of the Kopkamtib. Consequently, this Command operated under the direct orders of General Suharto.
- Under the command of the army and in alliance with conservative religious forces, widespread and violent student demonstrations spearheaded a campaign to remove President Sukarno from power and annihilate the PKI. In March 1966, General Suharto wrested control from President Sukarno; the following year he was appointed President of the State of Indonesia.
- General Suharto and his associates immediately blamed the PKI as the masterminds of the 30th September Movement, G30S. A military propaganda campaign distributed pictures of the dead generals with claims that Communists, particularly Communist women, had tortured and mutilated them before death. As a result, violence and demonstrations by the army and various youth groups—equipped and supported by the military and the government—began targeting suspected Communists in Aceh, Central and East Java, before spreading all over Indonesia. Civilians were killed, raped, tortured, enslaved or subjected to other crimes against humanity in their own homes or in public places.
- On 21 December 1965, General Suharto issued an order (KEPI/KOPKAM/12/1965) for military leaders around Indonesia to compile lists of members of the PKI and PKI-affiliated organisations in their respective areas. Civilians whose names were included in these lists became the targets for gross human rights violations, including murder, torture and other crimes.
During the hearing, the prosecution explained in detail the chain of command, which demonstrates that the military and military police who committed the crimes, acted on the orders of the Indonesian state and in concert with civilian and religious groups and militias, who were instrumentalized and used for the commission of the crimes.
Now, I want to move on to detail the different counts and discuss the evidence that we presented during the four days—evidence which we submitted to Your Honours—researchers’ reports, the testimonies of witnesses and experts, and other material evidence.
All nine counts are committed as underlying offences of crimes against humanity. Immediately after the events of the 30 September, a widespread and systematic attack was committed against a significant part of the civilian population. The target groups were members of the PKI, members of its affiliated groups and organizations, and anybody who was perceived as a supporter or sympathizer of the PKI.
In particular, state authorities committed the following offences as part of the attack against the civilian population:
Count 1 Murder
The prosecution presented the statement of Mr Martono, a survivor of the 1965 events. For 2 years, he was detained by the military. During detention he was tortured and was forced by the OPSUS (a special team consisting of members from the military, air force, mobile brigade and political parties) to dispose of corpses of those killed during massacres in the Bengawan River, in Solo, Central Java. He picked up the bodies at the Diponegoro detention centre where detainees were electrocuted. Mr Martono estimates that he disposed of two bodies daily, and up to 20 bodies during weekends.
We heard the expert witnesses Mr Ferry Putra, an independent journalist, Ms Misty (pseudonym) and Ms Dwyer who could establish that mass murder took place immediately after 1st of October 1965 and lasted until 1967. The experts gave an overview of mass killings that took place in all areas of Indonesia and in a widespread and systematic manner.
In 1999, Ms Dwyer collected testimonies from witnesses who knew the locations of mass graves in Bali. Between 80,000 and 120,000 people were killed in Bali in the period December 1965 until March 1966. This was 5.8% of the total population at that time. Some of these mass graves contain the remains of 200 victims, among which are members of the PKI and the affiliated Indonesian Farmers Union, BTI; but also people with no political ties, such as children of the ages of 11 and 12 years. In Bali alone, at least 100 mass graves have been identified. In Bali, the killings started in December 1965, after the arrival of the Special Forces. These Special Forces conducted the killings, together with other military personnel, locals, PNI members and associated militias, and ANSOR militias from Java. The military and local police also ordered civilians to take part in the killings in neighbouring villages, and threatened to kill their families if they refused to cooperate.
We heard about one example of the excavation of a mass grave. Based on the position of the human remains in the mass grave, forensic experts concluded that the victims stood in one line before they were shot dead, and the shooting was carried out in a short period of time.
According to the expert witnesses, and from the data they collected, the different sections of the military and military police of the State of Indonesia were the perpetrators of the murders, also in concert with civilians, used and instrumentalized by the army.
Research shows that priests were also asked to be part of execution teams or to escort victims to the places of execution.
The military command directed the killings and solicited local militias.
The prosecution concludes that evidence proves that widespread and systematic killings took place, as described in the indictment under the count of murder, and that the State of Indonesia is responsible for the commission of these crimes.
Count 2 Enslavement
The evidence presented through the testimony of a survivor who testified under protection measures, and the expert witness, Mr Asvi Warman Adam, shows that during the 1965 events, widespread and systematic enslavement took place. The survivor described quite clearly that arrests experienced by the victim were carried out by the District Military Command, while the transfer of the prisoners to other prisons was carried out by the police and the military (the CPM Unit). The survivor belonged to an ethnic Chinese student organization which was not related to the PKI. When arrested he was stripped naked. After several transfers, he was brought to Buru Island where he was subjected to forced labour. In total,
he was detained for 14 years. The military who detained him did not give any reasons for the detention. No arrest warrant was issued. He was under the control of military guards. He did not receive any remuneration for his forced labour. After his release, he was required to report once a month and later in Jakarta he had to report once every three months. Further, he had to follow indoctrination classes on Pancasila—the ideological basis of the State of Indonesia. Before prisoners were released, they had to sign a statement in which they confirmed that they were not treated badly. They also had to choose a religion.
The expert witnesses described the detention system, with a specific focus on Buru Island.
He concluded that the crimes against those accused of being communists followed an order of General Suharto. General Suharto gave a speech in which he said that the communist party should be destroyed at its roots. Various military units interpreted the order in different ways, carrying out arrests, detaining and also killing people. In succeeding years, those who criticized the government were branded as communists, and the danger of communism was deliberately kept alive in order to control the people.
The conditions in the prison cells was very poor—prisoners were tortured, food was restricted and health services not available. Initially prisoners did not have access to families, only at the end of their prison time.
Prisoners were categorized into three groups: Those in Group A were considered to be involved in the murder of the generals and tried in courts or in military tribunals; Group B consisted of those members of the PKI who were involved, but they were not top-ranking officials; and Group C consisted of those allegedly sympathizers of the PKI.
Many who were arrested after October 1965 were transferred from one prison to another, often ending in the concentration camp of Buru Island. The military and military police carried out the detentions, during which enslavement took place.
The expert explained the chain of command and demonstrated that the commander of Kopkamtib decided on all matters. Thus, the State of Indonesia bears the ultimate responsibility for the enslavement of the prisoners.
On Buru Island, at least 11,000 people were enslaved. The purpose of removal to Buru Island was: to ensure other people were not influenced by communist ideology; to isolate communists; and to ensure people followed Pancasila.
Initially the government justified the detention on Buru Island to ensure the elections of 1971were not disturbed. However, the prisoners were not released after the elections.
In 1978 and 1979, the detainees were finally released, due to pressure from international governments and donor organizations.
Women were imprisoned in Plantungan prison. In addition to similarly poor conditions, female prisoners were subjected to sexual violence. If they became pregnant and gave birth, family members brought up the child because there was nobody to take care of them.
The prosecution concludes that the evidence proves that widespread and systematic enslavement as part of the attack against the civilian population took place, as described in the indictment under the count of enslavement and that the State of Indonesia is responsible for the commission of these crimes.
Count 3 Imprisonment
The prosecution presented two witnesses and survivors Mr Bejo Untung and Mr Martono. In addition, Ms Saskia Wieringa testified as an expert witness. Mr
Untung was a member of an independent, cultural students’ association, which the military characterized as affiliated with the PKI. When he was arrested by the 5th army military command in Jakarta, he was stripped naked and tortured through electrocution. He could hear other victims who screamed while obviously being tortured as well. An arrest warrant did not exist, and reasons for the detention were never given. The deprivation of liberty was arbitrary and without legal basis. He was never brought before an independent and impartial court. He was also held in prison under poor conditions without access to sufficient food and health care. The prisons were overcrowded. Prisoners had no access to a lawyer, and their families and relatives did not visit them. Today Mr Untung chairs a victims’ association and has collected 200 statements of survivors who were imprisoned.
Likewise, Mr Mortono was held in detention without any legal basis and due process. He was also tortured and electrocuted and subjected to interrogations.
Ms Wieringa explained that psychological testing was used in 1966 and again in the 1970s to identify prisoners who were staunchly communist. In 1966, after those who were deemed sympathizers of the PKI in the military and bureaucracy had been purged, all other prisoners were tested; in the early 1970s more elaborate tests were developed, which were deployed for instance for prisoners on Buru Island; and at the end of the 1970s, further tests were conducted to determine who could be liberated. Those deemed still committed to communist ideology were released much later. A major aim of the psychological testing was to give credibility to the purges of KOPKAMTIB and make them appear normal.
On 1 November 1965, General Nasution decided that prisoners should be categorized. Ms Wieringa also described this categorization. Psychologists, in close cooperation with Dutch universities, developed tests which were used to identify who might be a communist and their degree of commitment. They
categorized the prisoners, after conducting the tests; thus, taking the role of
judges, without legal process.
The prosecution concludes that evidence proves that widespread and systematic imprisonment took place, as described in the indictment under count 3, and that the State of Indonesia is responsible for the commission of these crimes.
Count 4 Torture
The prosecution presented the testimonies of the survivors Mr Muhammad Yusuf Pakasi and Mr Martin Aleida.
Mr Pakasi was a civil servant. He was arrested and subsequently tortured during interrogation. He was asked to provide names. He named those whom he knew, but the torture continued. The torture was so severe that he became unconscious.
Mr Aleida was a journalist and worked for a PKI affiliated newspaper. He was arrested and also tortured. He described various forms of torture, which were used during interrogation. He was detained for 1 year. He also reported about others who were tortured.
The prosecution concludes that evidence proves that widespread and systematic torture was committed, as described in the indictment under count 4 and that the State of Indonesia is responsible for the commission of these crimes.
Count 5 Sexual Violence
The prosecution presented for this count the testimony of one survivor of sexual violence, who testified under protection measures, and Ms Wieringa as expert witness. The survivor described that she was stripped naked while arrested and
interrogated. The military searched for a mark on her body that would show that she was a member of the Communist-affiliated women’s organization, Gerwani. Her genitals were burned and she was heavily tortured and raped during detention. She was also forced to engage in oral sex. Eventually, she was physically and psychologically destroyed. Until today, she is still suffering as a result of these sexual attacks against her. She is still wondering why these crimes were committed against her, and until today has had no answers.
Ms Wieringa presented an overview about the patterns of sexual violence committed, mainly against women. Ms Wieringa has conducted extensive research and interviewed survivors who then met in groups for discussion.
However, it was only after 1998 that survivors dared to speak in such groups. She also presented the findings of other researchers in this field. According to the expert witness, sexual violence was widespread and systematically committed. All forms can be found: vaginal and oral rape—mostly during interrogation and detention, being stripped naked and sexually assaulted, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, mutilation of sexual organs, enforced pregnancy.
All women faced the sexual attacks under coercive circumstances.
The perpetrators, military and militiamen, often acted in groups. They enjoyed impunity. Superiors were often involved and present. Nevertheless, these crimes were neither prevented nor punished.
Shame and stigmatization continue until today.
The prosecution concludes that the evidence proves that widespread and systematic sexual violence was committed, as described in the indictment under count 5 and that the State of Indonesia is responsible for the commission of these crimes.
Count 6 Persecution
Under the count of persecution, the prosecution presented the statements of Mr Surono and Ms Amnah whose Indonesian nationalities were revoked. They were abroad between 1965-1967, in the Soviet Union and in Bulgaria respectively. They were deprived of their right to return safely to Indonesia.
Like these two survivors, most Indonesians abroad were students, government officials, journalists or others who were studying and working abroad in an official capacity. Indonesian embassies throughout the world actively screened Indonesian citizens. The embassies characterized this as a dialogue with its citizens. The screening teams systematically invited all Indonesians into the embassy and interviewed them about their attitudes towards Sukarno. If they did not follow the invitation and/or if they were identified as supporters of Sukarno, or considered to be communists and not loyal to Suharto, their passports were revoked and they could not return to Indonesia. They were outlawed and eventually became stateless for decades. They felt like dust and “nothing.” Until today, they do not feel secure and many still do not dare to return to Indonesia.
The prosecution concludes that the evidence proves that widespread and systematic persecution on political grounds was committed as described in the indictment under count 6 and that the State of Indonesia is responsible for the commission of these crimes.
Count 7 Enforced Disappearance
The prosecution presented two witnesses. The first was Mr Astaman Hasibuan,
whose father disappeared.
Mr Hasibuan’s parents were members of a local branch of the PKI. His father was arrested, but eventually Mr Hasibuan could find no information about the whereabouts of his father—whether he was dead, and if so where he died and was buried. He has searched for witnesses, but after 10t December 1965 he lost all traces of his father.
The witness confirmed that in many cases people were arrested, transferred to different places, and then disappeared. Mostly at night, they were taken from their places of detention and never returned.
Their families have never received information about their whereabouts.
The prosecution submits that the count of disappearance as crime against humanity is established.
The second witness, Ms Intan, told the story of her brother, father and her mother who were arrested by the military. They were accused of being members of the communist party.
Her father disappeared from prison. She has searched everywhere, until today, but does not know what happened to him. In total, seven members of her family disappeared. She suffers severely until today. She feels helpless and is haunted by her memories.
Not-knowing haunts the victims who lost their family members. They ask the same questions: Where are our fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers? Our aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews? Where can I mourn and bury them?
The prosecution concludes that the evidence proves that widespread and
systematic disappearances took place and as described in the indictment
under count 7 and that the State of Indonesia is responsible for the commission of these crimes.
Count 8 Persecution through propaganda
The prosecution presented the testimony of the expert witnesses, Ms Wieringa and Mr Herlambang, who explained the use and functioning of propaganda that incited and eventually led to the commission of severe crimes.
Ms Wieringa explained the historical background first.
She described how the PKI was branded as atheists, and thus anti-Pancasila and against the nation. Since everybody in Indonesia had to have a religion, to be accused of being an atheist without sexual morals fell on fertile ground. This stigma continues until today.
Immediately after the 30 September coup, the military established the above narrative through a book written by a military historian, Nugroho Notosusanto, which was published in December 1965. Newspapers were banned and only army-owned newspapers were allowed.
The military spread the false story that girls from Gerwani seduced the generals and castrated them while dancing naked. The PKI was accused of having trained the girls. Although the results of autopsies of the generals showed that this was untrue, this idea is still commonly accepted in Indonesia today.
The anti-PKI campaign was spread via various means and instruments, including movies, the school curriculum, books, ceremonies and monuments. The radio was the most effective means used.
Expert analysis also confirmed that the hate propaganda led to acts of discrimination, marginalization, humiliation and dehumanization of the PKI, and in particular Gerwani and those affiliated with them.
The Propaganda created cultural fear.
Ms Wieringa concluded that the military was conscious of the powerful effects that the propaganda campaign, full of lies, could and would have.
The prosecution concludes that the evidence proves that widespread and systematic persecution through propaganda took place, as described in the indictment under count 8 and that the State of Indonesia is responsible for the commission of these crimes.
Count 9 Complicity by the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia
The prosecution presented two expert witnesses, Mr Simpson and Mr Herlambang. They described the involvement of the US, UK and Australia and the support these states gave to the State of Indonesia.
Mr Simpson could establish that the US government conducted covert operations before the killing of the generals on the 30th September and sought to take advantage of the events to urge the Indonesian army to destroy the PKI. The US, UK and Australia provided radio-communication equipment in order to facilitate communication between the troops and delivered small arms and money. They supported Indonesia in the commission of the mass crimes. They also provided lists of alleged PKI members to the Indonesian authorities.
Mr Herlambang explored another area—the cultural influence of the CIA, which
manipulated Indonesian intellectuals to uphold anti-communist opinions.
The prosecution concludes that the evidence proves that the US, UK and Australia are accomplices in the commission of the crimes of murder, enslavement, imprisonment, torture, sexual violence, persecution and forced disappearance as crimes against humanity.
After four days of hearings, I want to revisit the question of my colleague and chief-prosecutor who asked in the prosecution’s opening statement the question:
Why are we here?
We conclude that we made an important and enormous step forward on the long journey in the search for the truth, which has been silenced for so many decades.
And we take the next big step of calling on Indonesia to acknowledge and recognize the report of the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) of 2012, to follow its recommendations and to start immediately proper investigations into the large-scale crimes that were committed.
We truly believe that the International People’s Tribunal will open the door for a genuine acknowledgement of the crimes committed by the Indonesian government and individual perpetrators;
We truly believe that it will open the door for sincere apologies;
for reparations and
for rehabilitation of those who are discriminated until today.
The Tribunal will also significantly contribute to the long and continuing fight against impunity.
The survivors call upon the international community to acknowledge their complicity, to break the silence and put the historical record right.
This tribunal is also indispensable in reminding everyone that such crimes must never occur again.
I thank you for your attention.