Civil suit against ex dictator Suharto of Indonesia

This video is called Mass Grave in Indonesia 1-2.

Part 2 is here.

“Approximately between from 500 000 to 3 million of people in Indonesia have been killed by Suharto‘s regime and buried somewhere in the wood”.

By John Roberts:

Indonesian prosecutors launch limited civil action against Suharto

Indonesian state prosecutors launched a civil suit against former Indonesian strongman Suharto on July 9, claiming $US1.5 billion in restitution and damages for state funds plundered during his regime’s 32-year rule up to 1998.

The case alleges that the ex-president forced state banks, other institutions and businesses to contribute money to his Supersemar Foundation, ostensibly to finance social welfare projects, including education scholarships. Large sums were transferred to companies owned by members of the Suharto family and their cronies.

Prosecutors told the media that six similar foundations controlled by the Suharto family might be pursued depending on progress in the first case. Transparency International estimates that the Suharto financial empire, built on a variety of corrupt practices, including extortion and theft, is worth $35 billion. Other estimates put the figure as high as $45 billion.

The latest decision to go after a small part of the Suharto loot is highly political. It is also somewhat risky, given the association of many in the government, including President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, with the Suharto junta. It is possible that Yudhoyono has decided to take his chances in order to boost his government’s anti-corruption standing and his own flagging popularity prior to the 2009 presidential election.

The announcement did not produce the reaction Yudhoyono wanted. Adnan Topan Husodo of Indonesian Corruption Watch told the Jakarta Post on July 10: “The public expected the Attorney General to go further by filing a criminal case against Suharto. We don’t have any reports showing the success rate of civil lawsuits.”

The London-based Economist commented: “In Indonesia the suit was greeted with bored scepticism. Few expect Mr Suharto to lose even this small part of his rumoured fortune. Debate focused more on which bit of the chronically corrupt legal system will yield to pressure to ensure a Suharto victory.”

The magazine added: “The cynicism is understandable. Efforts to prosecute Mr Suharto for corruption foundered in 2000, when doctors declared him unfit to stand trial. His youngest son, known as ‘Tommy’, is the only one of his six children to be convicted of corruption (and, later, of having one of the judges murdered). Mr Suharto’s half-brother and his golf partner have both been briefly and comfortably jailed for misusing money from a government reforestation fund.”

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