By: Muhammad Hakim Rianta


The discourse on the enforcement of Human Rights (HAM) has become a phenomenal issue in the contemporary polemic discourse of the global community, including the Indonesian people. In Indonesia, sawala related to the enforcement of Human Rights began to roll after the reform that occurred in 1998, marked by the ratification of two legal products (regulations) on Human Rights, namely Law Number 39 of 1999 concerning Human Rights and then followed by Law Number 26 of 2000 concerning the Court of Human Rights.

The content material contained in the two legal products seems to animate the enthusiasm of the global community which is crystallized through international instruments namely the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (hereinafter abbreviated as UDHR), the Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and various other international instruments that contain spiritual values. protection of human rights, of course, by habituating the nation’s culture which is reflected in the Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution as the basic guidelines (fundamental) the foundation of life as a nation and state.

Historically, this spirit to protect basic human rights has existed long before it was formulated in the UDHR, namely since the founding of the Indonesian nation. This spirit is manifested through the formulation of Pancasila and is projected again in the preamble to the 1945 Constitution which contains statements and acknowledgments of dignity and worth and upholds universal human values ​​such as the right to independence, the right to welfare, and so on. Thus respect for human rights has been integrated and attached (inherently) to the noble values ​​embedded in the soul of the Indonesian nation.

However, that reality seems to be faded by the reality that is recorded in the black sheet of human rights enforcement in Indonesia. History records the various violations and crimes against human rights that occurred, such as the Cleansing of Suspected PKI Sympathizers, the Kidnapping of Activists, the Trisakti Tragedy, the Semanggi Tragedy I and II, and many others that have not yet come to light. The state seems to have closed the door on disclosure efforts by allowing the practice of impunity to continue to develop.

Impunity as a Barricade for Human Rights Enforcement

The term impunity is foreign to use in public discourse discussions related to human rights in Indonesia, in fact, the word impunity is not found in the official Indonesian language. However, because they are considered to have the same meaning, activists who are concerned about human rights issues often use the term impunity to mean impunity. In the Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI) impunity is defined as the state of being unable to be convicted or not being convicted.

The term impunity or impunity in the framework of international human rights enforcement efforts as contained in a series of principles for the protection and promotion of human rights through efforts to combat impunity is “the de jure or de facto impossibility of bringing perpetrators of human rights violations to account for their actions, whether in the process of criminal, civil, administrative or disciplinary proceedings because they cannot be the object of examination which may allow prosecution, detention, trial and, if found guilty, punishment with an appropriate sentence, and to make reparations to their victims”.

In simple terms, impunity can be interpreted as an effort to help or allow perpetrators of crimes against humanity and violations of human rights to be free from legal bondage. In a simpler sense, violators of the law are given the facility of “beyond the law” and even perpetuate freedom to hold strategic positions in the government. In practice, impunity is carried out in various ways, including granting amnesty to perpetrators of human rights violations, imposing light sentences and protracted law enforcement efforts in the human rights court mechanism so that it affects the quality of law enforcement and oftentimes the enforcement does not touch the main actors who are the key to the occurrence of violations. Human rights.

In Indonesia, the practice of impunity can be seen in the Trisakti Student Shooting case that occurred on May 12, 1998. The repressive actions in the form of beatings and even shootings that led to the deaths of four Trisakti University students are strongly suspected to have been carried out in a planned manner by troops who were members of Operation Mantap Jaya III involving combat units of the Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI). The Commander of the Indonesian Armed Forces, General TNI Wiranto, and the Chief of the Indonesian National Police, General Pol. Dibyo Widodo should be responsible both as a superior and as a commander. Moreover, it was clear that it was the Armed Forces Commander who had issued Speng/031/III/1996 dated March 25, 1996, which contained a Steady Operation Plan. Even though Komnas HAM had recommended the results of the investigation, in this case, the Attorney General’s Office stated that there was insufficient evidence.

Not only that, the tug-of-war between the Prosecutor’s Office and Komnas HAM also took place in other cases, including the 1965-1966 incident, the 1982-1985 mysterious shooting, the 1998 Talangsari Lampung incident, Semanggi I and II, and the 1997-1998 Enforced Disappearance. . The perpetrators who should be responsible for the series of violations of Human Rights (HAM) that occurred actually lived peacefully while still holding strategic government positions in the vortex of impunity.

Combating Impunity as an Effort to Uphold Human Rights

In principle, efforts to enforce human rights cannot be separated from law enforcement efforts in general. According to Prof. Dr. Soerjono Soekanto, there are several factors that influence law enforcement in society, including Legal Rules (law regulations); Officer or Law Enforcement Officer; Facility; and Community Participation.

According to Lawrence M. Friedmann, legal instability is created as a result of the powerlessness of the legal system to direct effectiveness in the legal structure concerning law enforcement officers and judicial institutions. In this regard, according to Suparman Marzuki, cases of human rights violations in Indonesia have not been resolved as a result of weak legal politics and legal instruments (laws) that regulate Human Rights (HAM) so that impunity is increasingly mushrooming into an incurable disease until now.

Therefore, in the context of efforts to combat impunity as a barrier to human rights enforcement efforts, it is important to make law enforcement officers and judicial institutions effective as facilitators in efforts to resolve cases of human rights violations. In terms of legal instruments, namely related laws and regulations, it is also necessary to make changes or amendments, especially to articles that are suspected of having the potential to perpetuate impunity, such as in Law Number 26 of 2000 concerning the Human Rights Court, article 20 paragraph (3) which, according to KontraS, is the trigger for impunity. In addition, decisive action is needed such as the removal from strategic public positions for alleged perpetrators of human rights violations as an effort to campaign against impunity and of course intensive community participation so that the process of resolving cases of human rights violations can run as expected.


This opinion article was written by Muhammad Hakim Rianta, a student of the Faculty of Law, Halu Oleo University / HMI Cadre, Insan Cita Pasarwajo. This article is the author’s personal opinion and does not represent the views of the editors of Yuris Muda Indonesia.