Indonesian 1965 Crimes Against Humanity: Towards Recognition of Genocide Status?


Film Screening


Session 12
Thu 16:00-17:30 REC A1.02



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In January 2023, Indonesian President Joko Widodo publicly acknowledged the mass crimes committed against communists by General Suharto’s military regime in 1965-66. This significant step follows the apology made by former President Abdurrahman Wahid in 2000, marking the second acknowledgment of the 1960s bloodshed by an Indonesian leader. Breaking more than 60 years of silence and historical misinformation propagated by the regime, President Jokowi’s statement also signals the freedom of scientific research in this period.

Eyewitness accounts show the historical reality of violence and discrimination against those accused of communism, while scholarly research underscores the orchestrated nature of these events involving multiple countries. The documentary film “The Mutes’ Soliloquy” by Stéphane Roland, to be featured in this screening event, reconstructs the mechanics of mass crimes using firsthand testimonies. It also revisits the International People’s Tribunal for 1965 (IPT 1965), initiated by Nursyahbani Katjasungkana and Saskia Wieringa, held in The Hague in 2015, resulting in numerous indictments for crimes against humanity.

The documentary and the discussion will also illuminate the victimization of women under the military dictatorship of the New Order regime. Furthermore, the concept of “political genocide” will be introduced to denote the mass killings targeting those accused of being communists and their families. The discussion will also underline the importance of garnering recognition for these atrocities from international legal bodies.

The chosen format consists of a movie screening followed by a discussion with academic and legal experts who organized the IPT 1965. These Indonesian and European experts will argue for the need to pursue academic research on the subject of “Indonesian 1965 Tragedy” and the process of reclaiming genocide status. This format is purposefully crafted to optimize the flow of ideas and encourage active engagement from the audience.