Activists of the International People’s Tribunal (IPT) 1965 launched the website 1965tribunal.org. The launch aims to describe what happened in 1965 through the eyes of the victims, and demand that the Indonesian state takes its responsibility for what had occurred.
The website was officially launched on Wednesday, December 17, 2014. The international activists behind the launch had agreed to establish the International People’s Tribunal (IPT) 1965 Foundation in 2012 in The Hague. It aims to reveal the events surrounding 1965, and break the circle of taboo that has surrounded the issue until now.
After almost 50 years, the 1965 events remain a sensitive issue in Indonesia. At that time, around one million people accused of being members or sympathisers of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) were pursued, killed, and tortured. Their children and relatives suffered repression for decades under the New Order government and military power of General Soeharto.
Until now, there is still no clarity of what had actually happened at that time. Hundreds of thousands of people were murdered, and additional hundreds of thousands were detained without due process. Up till now, 15 years after Indonesia’s reformation and democratisation process, there is still no legal investigation into these cases. No perpetrator of the 1965 slaughter has ever been taken to court.
The general public in Indonesia still believes the New Order version of the 1965 events, disseminated through classrooms and school textbooks, the media and indoctrinations. That version says, among others, that PKI members do not believe in God, are violent and barbaric, and addicted to sex. During Soeharto’s regime, the history texts were manipulated; discussions about PKI and the 1965 events were prohibited.
How can this circle of lies and indoctrination, which has resulted in a generation ignorant of its own history, be broken? How can it be assured that this kind of crimes against humanity is not repeated/ How can a voice be given to the victims and their families that have been muzzled for so long, and respect be shown to those who have been murdered and denied their humanity?
These questions have spurred the international activists of IPT 1965 to launch the 1965tribunal.org site. They hope that the site can be a documentation tool for historical notes and testimonies from various sides. It should help to unfold this grave historical tragedy, and be used as a foundation to build and strengthen Indonesia’s democracy, lift the dignity of the nation and its individuals as respected citizens.
Simultaneous in Amsterdam and Jakarta
The launch on Wednesday, December 17, 2014, was done simultaneously in Amsterdam and Jakarta. As a foundation, IPT 1965 cannot establish a court of law. However, it aims to urge different parties to appeal to Indonesia that the state takes its responsibilities towards the victims and their families.
IPT 1965 consists of human rights activists, intellectuals, academics and lay people. The foundation wants to engage international researchers to look into the 1965 events and the New Order system from different perspectives.
IPT 1965 has the target to organise a ‘1965 Tribunal’ in October 2015 in The Hague, the Netherlands, home of the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. The foundation is currently gathering testimonies from survivors spread throughout the globe.