Prabowo in the Hague?

ICC Detention Centre

In Indonesia  atrocities and gross human rights’ violations did take place in the past. Actually in all parts of the world crimes against humanity occurred. And still occur. Especially in times of (civil) war, chaos and socio-economic instability. And in oppressive, authoritarian dictatorships.

Often those who are responsible are politicians and people in uniform.

In as long as they stay in power they get away with their crimes – war crimes and crimes against humanity. And even if they don’t stay in power they in most cases enjoy factual impunity.

However recently the International Criminal Court became active. The treaty furthers international law and justice. The Court charges, prosecutes and, once caught tries, suspects of those crimes who are at large. Charles Taylor, former Liberian President with a very bad record, was the first one. Last year he has been convicted to fifty years imprisonment.

Almost 100 countries ratified the treaty and Rome Statute by which they promise to turn over people on their territory who are on the “wanted” list of the ICC. Marked absentees are for instance China, India, Israel, Pakistan and the US.

And Indonesia.

President Megawati’s administration decided RI would join the Court in the Hague and  signed the treaty. In the National Plan of Action on Human Rights (2004), ratification was planned to take place in 2006. It was changed to 2008 later on. That date also passed and nothing happened. Quite a relief I guess to a few prominent members of the New Order regime with blood on their hands and still politically and entrepreneurial ambitious.

Last week it looked like times were going to change.

Law and Human Rights Deputy Minister Denny Indrayana was in the Hague. He and his delegation of officials visited the ICC to clarify details and procedures as a first step to ratification. The bureaucratic and legislative machinery got started up and could ultimately result in extradition of wanted men ( and perhaps an occasional woman) to the ICC.

This news refreshed my memory of some small talk with one of my acquaintances in the Hague. A few years ago he told us about a business deal he was negotiating with Prabowo Subianto. We had a heated discussion on ethics in business at the time. We disagreed. So he never mentioned it again. But I wonder whether he will visit the general-businessman if/when  Prabowo will be in town in the future. Because if he is not visiting as the next President of RI, perhaps  this  will be his address.

Is that a serious risk for P.S.? I mean that he actually ever will be tried in the Hague?

No, probably not.

Why not?

Because there are a few technical problems concerning the period of his alleged crimes as a military commander. But more relevant appears to be this meeting he and President SBY  had.

Because as flabbergasting, stunning and unbelievable it is, JG quotes a political scientist, Aleksius Jemadu, who assumes SBY in this long friendly conversation probably promised the ominous general support for his candidacy in next year’s presidential elections, in return for protection of the present President and his family afterwards. I’m afraid that support would imply Prabowo’s impunity for whatever crimes committed back then.

It it’s true, that would mean ‘so much for democracy’. If the political scientist is right, at least two members of the political elite apparently bath in political cynicism. And in the background their brother in arms, Wiranto, the ‘hero of Timur’, is cheering them.