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Source JakartaGlobe, June 2016

Jakarta. The Indonesian government should heed the verdict of the International People’s Tribunal in the Hague that recently found Indonesia guilty for a wide range of rights abuses during a communist pogrom in 1965-1966, according to a senior government official.

“The government shouldn’t overly worry about the verdict because it isn’t legally binding,” National Resilience Institute (Lemhanas) governor Agus Widjojo said on Thursday (28/07).

“But they shouldn’t ignore it altogether because it’s a reminder for us that we still have unsettled debts from a dark part of our history,” Agus told the Jakarta Globe.

The state should apologize to all the victims, survivors and their families for what the tribunal last week declared as crimes against humanity.

But having vowed to settle past cases of gross rights abuses including the 1965-1966 mass killings, government officials have since lashed out at what they have called foreign meddling.

Agus led a national symposium in April on what observers have called the worst mass killings of the twentieth century, gathering hundreds of senior government officials, retired generals, rights activists, academics as well as survivors.

The government-sponsored and military-backed killings resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of suspected sympathizers of the now-defunct Indonesian Communist Party and saw millions more imprisoned without trial.

The results of the symposium have been handed over to the government, which has hinted that they want to resolve the case through a national reconciliation.

“We hope the government will do what is right, so we can move forward and give dignity back to the victims and survivors of the tragedy,” Agus said.