Journal Article <Articles>Preemptive Transitional Justice Policies in Aceh, Indonesia

Suh, Jiwon

4 ( 1 )  , pp.95 - 124 , 2015-04
The peace agreement for Aceh included standard post-conflict measures, such as a human rights court and a truth and reconciliation commission (TRC). Why were they neglected? If they were going to be neglected, why did the negotiators initially agree on them instead of choosing amnesty or nothing? I argue that their nature as preemptive policies is key to understanding why they were introduced but not implemented. Preemptive transitional justice policies are adopted when reluctant policymakers attempt to trump “tougher” options with more acceptable alternatives, such as the following preemption in reformasi Indonesia: a domestic human rights court against an international tribunal, and reconciliation through amnesty againsta domestic court. Preemptive policies are also mobilized to redirect pressure forother goals, such as a referendum for independence in reformasi Aceh. The process whereby preemptive policies were practically disabled in post-authoritarian Indonesia crucially influenced the non-implementation of transitional justice mechanisms in post-conflict Aceh. Meanwhile, aid measures have been implemented since the reformasi period, originally as attempts of preemption against the demands of the local society, and later as a less costly alternative to justice and truth.

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