Press Statement
on the findings and recommendations of
the International People’s Tribunal on Crimes against Humanity Indonesia 1965,
The Hague 10-13 November 2015


The international panel of judges of the International People’s Tribunal on Crimes against Humanity Indonesia 1965 have declared that crimes against humanity were committed by the State of Indonesia after the murder of the generals on October 1 1965 and that the USA, the UK and Australia were complicit in these crimes.

They pronounce that the mass killings intended to annihilate the PKI and progressive members of the National Party of Indonesia, staunch supporters of President Sukarno, fall within the Genocide Convention of 1948. Thus the Indonesian genocide must be included among the major genocides of the 20th century.

This conclusion was based on the evidence presented by the prosecutor team led by the well known human rights lawyer Todung Mulya Lubis and reached after the hearings of the IPT in November 2015.

The Foundation IPT 1965 (International People’s Tribunal) was formally established in 2014 to end the impunity for the crimes against humanity committed in and after October 1 1965 in Indonesia. This date marks the abduction and killing of 6 top generals and 1 lieutenant in Jakarta. The perpetrators were middle ranking officers and a few leaders of the Communist Party of Indonesia. They were captured and tried.

However the army and militias trained by the army unleashed an unprecedented campaign of mass killings and terror all over the country, targeting members of the Communist Party and of organizations associated with the Party, as well as progressive members of the National Party of Indonesia and ethnic Chinese people.

The justification for and incitement towards these killings and the mass arrests was provided in a black propaganda campaign in which the victims were painted as hypersexual, anti-Islam and as enemies of the state. General Suharto, who organized this campaign replaced President Sukarno in the years that followed and established a military regime in which human rights and social justice had no place.

The fall of the dictator in 1998 ushered in the so called ‘Reformasi’ period which brought hope for a process of transitional justice, reconciliation and rehabilitation of the millions of victims, survivors and their families. However loyalists of the Suharto years remained in power. In 2007 the Indonesian Commission for Violence Against Women produced a report on the violence committed against women survivors of 1965.

In 2012 the report of the Indonesian Human Rights Commission on the crimes against humanity committed after October 1 in Indonesia was submitted to the Public Prosecutor. Since then no follow up to these reports has been given. In his presidential election campaign Mr Joko Widodo promised he would redress the human rights violations related to the ‘1965 issue’. He renewed this promise after his election to President.

In the absence of an official domestic process of transitional justice based on truth finding the IPT 1965, composed of Indonesian and international human rights activists, members of victims’ organizations, Indonesian exiles, and researchers organized the International People’s Tribunal on the 1965 Crimes Against Humanity in Indonesia.

The hearings were held November 10 – 13 2015 in The Hague, international city of justice. During these 4 days the 7 judges listened to the testimonies of factual and expert witnesses, and considered the charges brought forward by the prosecution, based on the extensive research report provided by over 40 researchers from Indonesia and elsewhere.

After due consideration of the materials brought before them Presiding Judge Zak Yacoob presents the findings of the Tribunal in a video statement released on July 20, 2016. These are:

  1. The State of Indonesia is responsible for and guilty of crimes against humanity through its chain of command of the following inhumane acts;

a. The brutal murder of an unknown number of people, generally assumed to be around 400-500.000
b. The imprisonment under inhumane conditions of an unknown number of people, generally assumed to be around 600.00
c. Enslavement for instance in labour camps on the island of Buru
d. Torture
e. Enforced disappearance
f. Sexual violence.

2. Hundreds or thousands of people were deprived of their citizenship. This may well be considered a crime against humanity.

3. False propaganda was spread to prepare the ground for violence. This is integral to the committing of that violence.4. The United States of America, the United Kingdom and Australia were all complicit to differing degrees in the commission of these crimes against humanity.

4. The facts brought before the Tribunal include acts that fall within the 1948 Genocide Convention. These acts were committed against a national group of Indonesia with the intention to annihilate or destroy that section of the population.

The panel of judges recommends that the Indonesian government apologizes to the victims, survivors and their families, investigates the crimes against humanity as listed above and complies with the calls of Komnas Perempuan and Komnas HAM in their reports, so that the truth will be found and impunity of these crimes against humanity will be ended.

On behalf of the Foundation IPT 1965

Date July 20 2016 14.00 pm Jakarta

Nursyahbani Katjasungkana

Contact: +31 811 151 544