tribunals 2015 the hague day 1 afternoon session

In the afternoon, the Tribunal heard two witnesses related to the incarceration and enslavement indictments. One witness, using the pseudonym Basuki Bowo, was a member of the Consentrasi Gerakan Mahasiswa Indonesia (CGMI, a leftist student organization). He endured incarceration in a number of camps. First of all, Bowo countered that CGMI was connected to the PKI. At that time, he continued, there were also members of the Pehimi (a student organization for ethnic Chinese) and Pemuda Rakyat (PKI’s youth organization) who were jailed. According to Bowo, most of those detained were members of Pemuda Rakyat.

Bowo further said that he never received any explanation regarding the reason for his detention. “I never saw a warrant, and never received any explanation. There was no explanation whatsoever.” Answering the chief prosecutor’s question, Bowo underlined that there was no explanation in the police interview report that he had to sign.

Bowo was detained on October 13, 1965, and moved to Nusakambangan island in late January or early February 1966. Then he was transferred to the Buru Island camp, again without explanation, where he stayed for nine years. In total, Bowo says, he was jailed for 14 years, and never given any reason for his incarceration.

When asked if prisoners were treated badly in Buru, Bowo answered in the affirmative. Bad treatment was particularly suffered from the military battalion present there. For example, prisoners were asked to plant rice, but if the rice was damaged, the prisoners would be accused of sabotage and then beaten up. Others were shovelling mounds of earth to plant flowers, and accused of making a monument to mock the seven generals killed on September 30, 1965.

Asked if prisoners were allowed to read books, Bowo answered:”Not at all.” One prisoner who was caught reading a scrap of the Kompas daily was punished. Afterwards, the prisoner’s corpse was found floating in the water. Bowo was not sure how the prisoner was punished.

Was it true that prisoners’ family members were taken to Buru, the prosecutor asked. That is true, Bowo answered: some voluntarily but others not. In the beginning, Buru prisoners were given some food like rice and fish. Later on, they were told to cook, and then produce their own nourishment. Being self-sufficient was part of the mission for the Buru prisoners. Another goal, he said, was to convert the political prisoners into true followers of the state ideology Pancasila.