The International People’s Tribunal 1965 (IPT) was opened Tuesday morning in The Hague by IPT 1965 coordinator Nursyahbani Katjasungkana. Speaking about the 1965 massacre which started on October 1 that year, Nursyahbani pointed out that 50 years have passed since then, and that this is an effort to finally try to reach justice.

“It is time to break the vicious cycle of denial which has continued for the past half a century.”

IPT, an international initiative, started with a statement of the Registrar, Szilvia Csevár, who invited the panel of judges to enter the room, at which time the audience all stood up.

After Nursyahbani’s opening statement, Helen Jarvis – one of the judges from Australia – welcomed all in the court in Indonesian and thanked the victims who are present to testify during the Tribunal. Jarvis, who was one of the judges of the UN Tribunal on Cambodia, gave a short speech to express her appreciation for the victims’ efforts and willingness to testify.

Then South Africa’s Zak Jacoob, who heads the panel of judges, said he recognizes the tumultuous situation in Indonesia which was followed by the massacres in 1965, with all its consequences. He proceeded to say that he would “make an effort to seriously consider” the considerations and testimonies which will be put forward.

Chief prosecutor Todung Mulya Lubis, in his dramatic opening statement, started with the question:“Why are we all here?” He then answered that question by pointing out that the aftermath of the 1965 atrocities can no longer continue. “We want to find the truth, the nation wants to find the truth.”

Some 250 people filled the courtroom, including a considerable international and Indonesian media presence.