Brief description:

The shootings in Semanggi, Jakarta, refer to two incidents of protest demonstrations related to the Special Session of the Parliament in November 1998 and September 1999. In the incident of Semanggi I, from 11 till 13 November 1998 17 people were killed. In the incident of Semanggi II, 24 September 1999, one student and 11 others were killed  while more than 200 people were wounded.

Chain of events Semanggi I:

  • In November 1998 the transitional government held a Special Session of both chambers of Parliament (MPR) in order to decide when the next elections would be held and what the priorities for the transitional period would be. The students launched a protest against this session as they did not acknowledge the government of Suharto's successor, B.H. Habibie, and did not trust the members of the Parliament, still bounc to the New order of former President Suharto. The demonstrations also apposed the active role of the army in society (the socalled dwifungsi). Eevery day the demonstrators took to the streets, schools and universities were closed in an effort to break the demonstrators' dedication.
  • On 13 November 1998 the thousands of students held a sit-down demontration in the area of Semanggi, Jakarta. The authorities made use of tanks and live fire arms to solve the situation. Teddy Wardhani Kusuma was the first fatal casualty. Other victims were: Sigit Prasetyo (YAI), Heru Sudibyo (Universitas Terbuka), Engkus Kusnadi (Universitas Jakarta), Muzammil Joko (Universitas Indonesia), Uga Usmana, Abdullah/Donit, Agus Setiana, Budiono, Doni Effendi, Rinanto, Sidik, Kristian Nikijulong, Sidik, Hadi; 17 in total that day, including six students, two pupils of secondary schools, and two army officers.More than 400 people were wounded.

Chain of events Semanggi II:

  • On 24 September 1999, again the army resorted to violence against the activist students. The time the demonstrations were triggered by the issue of a law on a emergency situation (Undang-Undang Penanggulangan Keadaan Bahaya (UU PKB)) that grossly widened the authority of the army in an emergency situation. The lethal victim in this incident was Yap Yun Hap, student of the Universitas Indonesia. He died of shot wounds before the Atmajaya University.
  • Other victims fell in Lampung (South Sumatra) and Palembang (Central Sumatra): in Lampung Muhammad Yusuf Rizal and Saidatul Fitriah, in Palembang, on 5 Oktober 1999, Meyer Ardiansyah (Universitas IBA Palembang).

Investigation and prosecution:

(Source: Kontras:) The victims’ families, who demanded that the state be responsible for the case, were forced to struggle against various obstacles both politically and formal legalistically.  The military court for Trisakti case which was held in 1998 sentenced 6 officials from Indonesian Police department. In 2002 the military court sentenced 9 members of Gegana (bomb squad)/Regimen II of Brimob Polri (brigade mobile police). In 2003 the military court also prosecuted the perpetrators in the shooting occurred in Semanggi II but the result is still unclear.      

The military court brought disappointment to the victims’ families because it only prosecuted the lower level officials without bringing the main perpetrators responsible for the crime to court.  Moreover, the military court held was an internal court. The students and victims’ families continued with their demand until DPR (the House of Representatives) finally formed a Special Committee for Trisakti, Semanggi I and Semanggi II in the year 2000 with the task to monitor the resolution process of the case. In 2001 the Special Committee concluded that there was no severe violation in Trisakti, Semanggi I and Semanggi II cases and recommended a resolution through the existing on-going process in public court or military court. This result was equally disappointing for the victims’ families.

Reasoning that there has been a systematic and widespread severe human rights violation, the victims’ families and the students continued their demand to Komnas HAM to conduct investigation on the cases. KPP HAM for Trisakti, Semanggi I and Semanggi II was then formed in 2001. However, the investigation process faced various obstacles such as difficulty to access information from the state’s institutions and the uncooperative attitude coming from TNI and Polri towards the investigation of their members. In its report, KPP HAM concluded from the adequate preliminary evidence that there has been a severe human rights violation in Trisakti, Semanggi I and Semanggi II incidents with 50 people as suspected perpetrators. Komnas HAM investigation result was then submitted to the Attorney General office to be processed in accordance with Law No. 26/2000 in April 2002.

The Attorney General’s office returned the documents to Komnas HAM because it was considered unable to fulfill pro justicia procedure. Komnas HAM made some revisions and completion and re-submit the documents to the Attorney General’s office. However, the evasive attitude did not stop there. Based on DPR’s recommendation that there was no severe human rights violation, the Attorney General’s office acted passively by ignoring the case until 2004. Beginning 2005, DPR promised to review and cancel the recommendation.During year 2006, the victims’ family and KontraS still pressured parliament to discuss about this case in BAMUS. Unfortunately, on 9 february 2006  the parliament canceled to discuss again about case of Trisakti/Semanggi I & II due to ethical matter. Again, victims’ family and KontraS pushed BAMUS on 23 february to propose agenda on the case of Trisakti Semanggi to be brought to Paripurna meeting and ask commission of third to discuss on this case. In 2007, there was no significant progress for this case, therefore victim’s family kept to maintain the issue to pay attention from public conducted several campaign in University and other events. During this campaign, the pressure was to demand Parliament to annul recomendation of Pansus in 2001 and to propose next agenda to handover the post card to Agung Laksono, the chairman of parliament. 

On 26 March 2008, there were several victim’s families met to President SBY, representatives of tragedy Semanggi I, May Riots 1998, disappearance activist 1997, Tanjung Priok massacre 1984 and KontraS reported directly to President about the difficulties to resolve the case and who the responsibility of all cases occurred. To respond their report, President would conduct meeting special limited cabinet to be attended all ministers and other assistants of President who handle to the human rights violence resolve. On the meeting, President also promised to ask clarifications from AG, Mr Hendarman Supanji about the statement of lost documents of Trisakti Semanggi, as well as the statement of minister of defence, Mr Juwono Sudarsono on not essential for military officers and former members of TNI to fulfill of Komnas HAM invitation to be witness in inquiry team.

On July 1, 2008, KontraS and IKOHI visited the Third Commission of the Parliament. The group demanded that the Attorney General (AG) be called to explain why he is not implementing the MK decision to conduct further investigation on the four gross human rights violations. Specifically, the group’s calls were: (1) Demand the AG to investigate enforced disapperance cases which occurred in 1997-1998 especially that of 13 persons who remain missing up to this day.  Since these cases are continuing crimes, these should be handled by the permanent human rights tribunal and not necessarily by an ad hoc tribunal; (2) The President must establish an ad hoc human rights tribunal for past cases based on the documents which Komnas HAM have already submitted to the AG.  The victims’ families and surfaced victims are now closely monitoring the developments related to their calls.

In 2004 the case - with a clear connection with the Trisakti shootings - was to be reopened by a Parliamentary commission on the basis of the Komnas HAM findings (Source: The Jakarta Post, 04-02-2004): Former officials with the City Police and Military have denied any responsibility and claimed that they did not order their personnel to shoot the students. Komnas HAM Chairman Abdul Hakim said that the rights body's fact-finding team met with House leaders in October last year and asked them to review its conclusions and proposed the establishment of an ad hoc human rights court to try the alleged rights abusers. In response to the request, the House leaders assigned House Commission II to assess all documents on the incidents. During the hearing with the commission, Komnas HAM called on the House to facilitate a meeting involving Komnas HAM, the Attorney General's Office and the DPR to outline procedures for the implementation of Law No. 26/2000 on Human Rights Trials because there had been a difference of opinion on the law between Komnas HAM and the Attorney General's Office. The disagreement has left the AGO unwilling to follow up on the rights body's findings and recommendations over the three incidents. Abdul Hakim urged the AGO to become proactive by using the rights body's findings to bring perpetrators in the three incidents to justice. Human rights issues have been put on the back burner by the government and many leaders now lack the will to do much about the violations, especially since they have busied themselves with getting reelected.