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Seven retired but politically wired Indonesian
Military (TNI) generals held a meeting with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
at the State Palace on Wednesday, discussing the current political, economic and
security situation in the country.
The meeting, held only a day after
Yudhoyono met with chief patron of the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra)
Party, Lt. Gen. (ret.) Prabowo Subianto, has led to speculation that the two
sides were discussing possible political deals.
The retired generals
were Gen. (ret.) Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, Gen. (ret.) Fachrul Rozi, Gen. (ret.)
Subagyo HS, Lt. Gen. (ret.) Agus Widjojo, Lt. Gen. (ret.) Johny J Lumintang, Lt.
Gen. (ret.) Suadi Marasabessy and Lt. Gen. (ret.) Sumardi. The retired generals
are all alumni of the Military Academy class of 1970, senior to Yudhoyono who
graduated in 1973.
“We discussed many issues but the President
highlighted domestic politics, the economy and international relations. The
political situation ahead of the 2014 elections was also discussed,” said Luhut,
who served as a spokesman for the group, in a press conference held after the
two-hour, closed-door meeting.
Luhut said that members of the group also
shared their thoughts with the President. “We also gave our views on some
issues. I believe the President has received valuable and constructive input
from us as ‘market players’,” Luhut said, declining to elaborate on the term
Luhut applauded Yudhoyono’s achievements in some
sectors such as foreign diplomacy and economic growth. “Nevertheless, there are
still shortcomings here and there, including the unequal distribution of the
benefits of the economic growth,” he said.
Most of the retired generals
are known for their affiliation to the Golkar Party and some of them have been
named advisors to the party’s chairman Aburizal Bakrie. Luhut denied that they
served as emissaries from Golkar or Aburizal. “The President and us share
something in common. We are all alumni of the Military Academy,” he
Political analyst from the University of Indonesia Hikmahanto
Juwana suspected that the meeting could have discussed past human rights abuses,
which have implicated former TNI generals. He also suggested that the same issue
could have been discussed when Yudhoyono had his meeting with
One issue that could have concerned the retired generals is the
possible ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Court (ICC). A
delegation of government officials and prominent rights activists, led by Deputy
Law and Human Rights Minister Denny Indrayana late last week held a meeting with
officials from the ICC in The Hague, Netherlands, to discuss preparations by
Indonesia to ratify the statute.
Coordinating Political, Legal and
Security Affairs Djoko Suyanto recently said that the government was in the
final stages of establishing an ad hoc human rights court to hear past human
rights abuse cases including the kidnapping and disappearance of pro-democracy
activists in 1998. The House of Representatives officially issued a
recommendation for the establishment of the tribunal in 2009.
believe both courts could try retired generals with records of past human rights
abuses including Prabowo and chairman of the People’s Conscience (Hanura) Party
Gen. (ret.) Wiranto. “Denny visiting the ICC could have an impact on the
domestic political situation as 2014 nears. My question is, has Yu-dhoyono
endorsed Denny’s efforts?” Hikmahanto said.
“The President may have told
Prabowo and the retired generals not to panic on the issues of the ICC and the
ad hoc human rights court,” he added.
Generals and their last
Gen. (ret.) Luhut Binsar
• Chief of the Bandung-based Army Education and Training
• Industry and trade minister in the Cabinet of president Abdurrahman
“Gus Dur” Wahid
Gen. (ret.) Fachrul Rozi
Indonesian Military (TNI) commander
Gen. (ret.) Subagyo
• Army chief of staff
Lt. Gen. (ret.) Agus
• TNI territorial command chief of staff
Gen. (ret.) Johny J Lumintang
• Governor of the National Resilience
• Army deputy chief of staff
• Secretary-general of
the Defense Ministry
Lt. Gen. (ret.) Sumardi
of the Military Education and Training Command
Lt. Gen. (ret.)
• Wirabuana Military commander
• Chief of
staff of TNI’s general affairs