Indonesia must act on promises to join ICC


Indonesia is the focus of our December Campaign for Global Justice.


The election of Jokowi—whose campaign emphasized accountability for human rights abuses—is a welcome step forward, but he must now follow through on these promises. We sent him a letter earlier this week calling on him to respond to Indonesians’ long-standing wish to join the ICC.

Bhatara Ibnu Reza, expert research for Imparsial and spokesperson for the Indonesian Coalition for the ICC:

“Ratification of the Rome Statute in the near future presents Jokowi with a perfect opportunity to live up to his promises. It would be a momentous decision, setting him apart from previous administrations beholden to the perpetrators of abuses and demonstrating a clear commitment to protecting the people he represents from the worst crimes. Indonesian society is strongly in favor of the Rome Statute, and we have been pushing for our government to ratify it for over a decade; Jokowi must respond to this call.”

Indonesia has been promising to ratify the Rome Statute for a decade, but has so far failed to act. This reluctance to move forward is in part due to lingering misconceptions about the court.

Amielle Del Rosario, Coalition for the ICC Asia-Pacific coordinator:

“Despite repeated public statements over the last decade on impending ratification, Indonesia remains an outsider to the ICC system, partly because of the fear in some establishment circles that ratification would allow foreign meddling in Indonesian affairs. But the reality of the matter is quite the contrary: the court is centered on the notion of complementarity- in other words, the ICC will not and cannot be involved in cases that Indonesian courts are willing and able to take up. And even in the extraordinary circumstance that Indonesian courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute alleged crimes, there are checks on the prosecutor’s power to take up these cases.”

Jokowi’s foreign policy platform promised to raise Indonesia’s profile as a global middle power. Promptly joining the 122 other ICC member states is crucial to assuming this role.

Indonesia must seize this opportunity to become an example for other Asian states to follow.


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