Komnas HAM Report Lays Blame for 1965-6 Killings Primarily on Suharto

An investigation has concluded that former President Suharto was the figure most responsible for human rights abuses during the mass killings of 1965-6, the National Commission on Human Rights has announced.

â??One of those responsible was Suhartoâ? as the general was in charge of security at the time, said Yoseph Adi Prasetyo, a commissioner of the rights body known as Komnas HAM. The report was launched with the assistance of dozens of victims of the abuses, who attended the event in Jakarta on Tuesday.

Yoseph said that the commission had presented its initial findings to the House of Representatives during a plenary session last year, but that House members had asked for the report to be improved and â??sharpened.â?

â??The House asked that the dates and places [of specific abuses] be made more specific, but we do not wish to thereby narrow the scope of the report, because this was a terrible crime that continued over a prolonged period,â? Yoseph explained.

Experts on Indonesian history believe that around half a million people, many of them ordinary villagers who supported land reform, were killed in a frenzy designed to purge the nation of communist sympathizers.

Victims of the 1965-6 rights abuses and their family members have for many years approached Komnas HAM, asking for an investigation to be undertaken and a report to be released to the public. Recently, their frequent complaint was that despite working on the investigation for three years, the rights body seemed to be shirking its responsibility to announce the findings.

â??It seems to us that Komnas HAM has deliberately postponed this,â? said Haris Azhar, coordinator of the Commission on Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), a civil society organization. â??Because theyâ??ve now twice met with the House, and presented results, but then failed to come out with any conclusions with the excuse that the case files arenâ??t complete.â?

Haris said the body, established in 1993 by then-President Suharto, should present detailed findings to the Attorney Generalâ??s Office for possible follow-up.