Indonesia: Thirteen Years after Soeharto Impunity Prevails


JAKARTA/NEW YORK, April 7, 2011—A joint report released today by the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and KontraS (the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence) examines the variety of state-sponsored initiatives to address mass violations of human rights in Indonesia since the fall of Soeharto’s New Order regime.

The research concludes that senior government officials consistently and repeatedly failed to achieve truth, accountability, institutional reform and reparations for the most serious crimes.

“Since Soeharto took power, hundreds of thousands of Indonesians have suffered from an array of serious human rights violations, at the hands of state actors,” said Haris Azhar, the national coordinator of KontraS. “After 1998 and the start of reformasi, there have been commendable government initiatives to address human rights abuses, including changes to the constitution, legal and security sector reform, and the establishment of new institutions to uncover the truth about past abuses and hold perpetrators accountable. However, a systemic review of these initiatives and their overwhelming failure to provide justice for victims highlights the continued triumph of state-sponsored impunity for these crimes in Indonesia, and the derailment of the reformasi movement,” he said.

The report titled [Derailed: Transitional Justice in Indonesia since the fall of Soeharto] was launched today at the National Human Rights Commission in Jakarta. Its findings highlight:

  • the 100 percent acquittal rate of those accused of human rights abuses before the human rights courts

  • the military providing lenient sanctions for low-ranking officers and blanket impunity for commanders

  • the failure of an array of official fact-finding mechanism to achieve tangible results

  • the lack of government resources dedicated to address the needs of victims

  • each security sector institution’s failure to vet officers implicated in human rights violations

“At a time when Indonesia’s transition from dictatorship to democracy is being increasingly used as an example for other nations emerging from similar contexts, it is important to recognize that reform in Indonesia is not yet a reality,” said Galuh Wandita, director of ICTJ’s Indonesia Program. “If we do not address the past, the patterns of abuse may be repeated.”

The full report is available in [English] and [Indonesian]. The Executive Summary and Recommendations are also available ([English] | [Indonesian]).

About ICTJ

The International Center for Transitional Justice works to redress and prevent the most severe violations of human rights by confronting legacies of mass abuse. ICTJ seeks holistic solutions to promote accountability and create just and peaceful societies. For more information, visit

About KontraS

KontraS (Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence) was established in1998 by Indonesian human rights NGOs and student organizations in response to the increase in political violence and abductions committed toward the end of Soeharto’s authoritarian regime. KontraS works toward a democracy based on people’s sovereignty, free from fear, oppression, violence, and human rights violations. To learn more, visit


Galuh Wandita Director, ICTJ Indonesia Program Tel: +62 21 391 4864

Haris Azar National Coordinator, KontraS Tel: +62 815 1330 2342

Lisa Jamhoury Communications Associate, ICTJ New York Tel: +1 917 637 3846