International People’s Tribunal of 1965 Tragedy

The hearing of the International People’s Tribunal 1965 (IPT 1965) was organized in the Hague last week, 11-13 November 2015.

A people’s tribunal is not something new. There have been several tribunals established, aiming to bring truth and justice and to address past human rights violations. Related to Indonesia examples are the People’s Tribunal on East Timor, Tokyo’s Tribunal, and Biak Tribunal. As a people tribunal, the concluding statement of the Judges of the IPT 1965 is not legally binding.

Yet that does not mean that the IPT 1965 is insignificant.  First, because it still carries a moral force in domestic and international politics. Despite the rejections made by several politicians including the vice president, the tribunal did renew the discussion about the atrocities taking place at the aftermath of the 30th September Movement or known as G30S/PKI. For the international level, the judgment, expected next year, will be delivered in front of  the United Nations, again scaling up the issue further.

Secondly, testimonies of victims, witnesses and experts bring formerly suppressed insights and nuances of the tragedy. They are important as acts of democratizing the process of historicization.

Thirdly, the IPT 1965 is a crucial milestone towards achieving the reconciliation between victims, perpetrators, the state and the wider population as constitutive parts of Indonesian society, something that has often been mentioned by both the Indonesian government, victims and social movements. Reconciliation of course requires revealing the truth, particularly a version of truth that comes from and accepted by every parties involved and affected by the tragedy.

Finally, resolving the past is an interest of every society. It signifies the extent of the future that society can claim. And it can set up possibilities to negotiate the state and people relationship as well as to reconfigure citizenship.

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