(Petaling Jaya, Friday): Although
the Indonesian government has appointed a 19-member fact-finding
team to investigate into the cause of riots in May that claimed about
1,200 lives, there are doubts both inside Indonesia and well as in the international community whether this would end up as a cover-up rather than an independent investigations.
The Indonesian government said it has appointed senior army and police
generals along with bureaucrats, human- rights activists and members of
non-governmental organisations to the team.
As certain quarters of the Indonesian army have been accused of masterminding the riots and in particular the organised mass gang rape of women and children, the Indonesian army should not be represented in the inquiry team but should pledge full support and co-operation to any investigations into the crimes against humanity and that it would not obstruct or impede the investigations in any way.
Although Justice Minister Muladi, a former member of the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission, said the investigation would be carried out in an open and transparent manner and that the appointment of the team ``is a reflection of the government's concern for the protection of human rights'', the Indonesian government must take into account national and international reservations about the independence of the inquiry team.
Last Wednesday, President B J Habibie said there would be a separate independent commission to investigate mass gang rapes during the riots.
Is the 19-member fact-finding team announced yesterday investigating into the mass gang rapes or would this be entrusted to another investigating team?
The best solution to the national and international concerns about the brutalities, atrocities and organised mass gang rapes against women and children in Indonesia is for President Habibie to instruct the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Ali Alatas, to propose at the current ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Manila inviting ASEAN to send an ASEAN Human Rights Commission to conduct a full and independent investigations against the crimes against humanity in Indonesia in May and to wash away the stain on international reputation of Indonesia, by bringing those who perpetrated the crimes against humanity to justice.