The Politics of Human Rights in Indonesia: The Failure to Adopt the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC)

Author: Yessi Olivia

Olivia, Yessi, 2019 The Politics of Human Rights in Indonesia: The Failure to Adopt the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Flinders University, College of Business, Government and Law

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This thesis examines the politics of human rights in post-Suharto Indonesia. It specifically analyses

the impact of the political environment created during Reformasi on the implementation of a human

rights policy. In doing so, this thesis uses the plan to ratify the Rome Statute of the ICC as an

instrument to investigate how actors (State and non-state) perceive Indonesia’s human rights policy.

It also examines how their actions contributed to the failure to adopt the Rome Statute.

This thesis argues that the mode of transition during Reformasi, where the elements of Orde Baru

played some influence in directing the trajectory of democracy, contributed to the discrepancies in

human rights policy in Indonesia. In post-Suharto Indonesia, human rights are acknowledged and

accepted, which is in contrast to the situation during Orde Baru where the government was quite

indifferent to human rights issues. However, since the democratic transition was a compromise

between the old and the new elites, human rights were only accepted as a component part part of the

pathway to democracy rather than as a fundamental responsibility of the State requiring the full

protection of people’s rights. This circumstance has marred the implementation of human rights

policy because the elites perceive a lack of urgency in addressing human rights problems.

Meanwhile, progressive civil society groups that work in democracy and human rights spaces have

been unable to push the government to further the reform because of their limited capacity to

influence the elites.

What this thesis has demonstrated is the firm solution to past human rights crimes and the

continuation of legal reform are crucial elements needed to execute the plan to adopt the Rome

Statute. Therefore, the uncertainty surrounding these issues and the government’s failure to address

them will do nothing but turning the human rights policy into a paper tiger.

Keywords: human rights, international criminal court, indonesia, indonesian politics, politics of human rights

Subject: Policy and Administration thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2019
School: College of Business, Government and Law
Supervisor: Anthony Langlois