Anomaly in Prabowo Subianto the Special Rank of Honorary General Provision: KontraS Submits Request for Information

On Monday, 4th March 2024, the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) submitted a Letter of Information Request to the Ministry of State Secretariat of the Republic of Indonesia. This request for information was submitted owing the fact that on 28th February 2024, President Joko Widodo awarded a promotion to 4 Star Honorary General Rank to Prabowo Subianto, one of the alleged perpetrators in cases of serious violations of human rights (HAM), namely the 1997-1998 Enforced Disappearance of Persons case which resulted in 23 people became victims. The information requested includes two things, namely 1) Presidential Decree Number 13/TNI/2024 dated 21 February 2024 concerning the Special Award of Rank in the Form of an Honorary of Indonesian Army (TNI) General; and 2) The reasons for granting Prabowo Subianto the promotion to the rank of 4 Star Honorary General, accompanied by the results of the analysis and verification of the Degrees, Mark of Service, and Mark of Prestige.

This information request is not without reason. Besides seeking to demand the government’s commitment to resolving serious human rights violations in Indonesia, the reasons behind the award of the Four-Star Honorary General title to Prabowo Subianto are information that should be accessible to the public. This is in line with the provisions of Law No. 14 of 2008 concerning Public Information Disclosure (KIP) Article 2 Paragraph (1) which states that “Every Public Information is open and accessible by every User of Public Information.” Moreover, this information is important to be disclosed to the public at large in the context of transparency and the implementation of participatory democracy. This is also in line with the mandate of Law Number 20 of 2009 concerning Titles, Awards, and Honorary Signs, in Article 2 letter h, which states that: “Titles, Awards, and Honorary Signs are given based on the principle of openness”; which means that the granting of Titles, Awards, and Honorary Signs must be done transparently, openly, and can be freely controlled by the wider community.

In addition to the legal guarantee regarding Public Information Disclosure, the promotion given to Prabowo Subianto is worth questioning because he is no longer an active TNI officer. This is evidenced by the Decision of the Honor Council of Officers Number: KEP/03/VIII/1998/DKP which states that Prabowo Subianto is guilty and proven to have committed several offenses, including committing criminal acts such as deprivation of others’ freedom and kidnapping, resulting in him being administratively punished by being discharged from military service. The promotion also further solidifies the wall of impunity maintained by the government. Instead of being criminally punished as a form of accountability for serious human rights violations, the suspected perpetrators are allowed to roam free outside prison walls and are given privileges and awards within the government system in this country.

Furthermore, this request for information is made as a fundamental access for civil society to the right to information in accordance with Article 14 (2) of Law No. 39 of 1999 concerning Human Rights (Human Rights Law), which states: “Everyone has the right to seek, obtain, possess, store, process, and convey information using all available means.” Moreover, previously KontraS had also submitted a similar information request to the Ministry of State Secretariat regarding the awarding of the Bintang Jasa Utama award to Eurico Guterres, who has a bad track record in humanitarian crimes in East Timor in 1999, also awarded by President Joko Widodo. Although the Ministry of State Secretariat argued that the information was exempted, the information request submitted by KontraS was affirmed by both the Commissioner Assembly of the Central Information Commission and the Panel of Judges of the Jakarta State Administrative Court, stating that the information request was open. Therefore, the Ministry of State Secretariat must provide access to this information.

Thus, KontraS urges:

  1. The Ministry of State Secretariat to provide the requested information regarding Presidential Decree Number 13/TNI/2024 dated February 21, 2024, regarding the Awarding of Special Rank in the Form of Honorary TNI General and the reasons for awarding the honorary rank of Four-Star General to Prabowo Subianto.
  2. President Joko Widodo to halt the practice of impunity by implementing a human rights vetting mechanism or removing individuals responsible for human rights violations from the government system and fulfilling the obligation to criminally prosecute suspected perpetrators of serious human rights violations.

Jakarta, 4th March 2024




Dimas Bagus Arya
Coordinator of KontraS

Contact Person: (+62)82175794518