Indonesia in the Global Context of Genocide and Transitional Justice

This epilogue highlights some of the main issues examined in this special issue. It argues that, compared to other cases, the scholarship on the Indonesian genocide is sophisticated and agenda-setting. We focus on the issues of organization and morphology of the 1965–66 violence, the problem of genocide denial, and questions related to transitional justice; finally, we propose promising new avenues of research.

Genocide Finally Enters Public Discourse : The International People’s Tribunal 1965

This article describes public discussion in Indonesia and abroad before, during and after the International People’s Tribunal 1965 (IPT). Hearings were held in The Hague in November 2015. As a “tribunal of inquiry,” it derived its legitimacy from Indonesian and international civil society, while seeking guidance from conscience and the highest principles of international law and justice.

Sexual Violence as Torture : Crimes against Humanity during the 1965–66 Killings in Indonesia

In this article, I argue that sexualized forms of torture perpetrated mainly against women and girls in political detention camps across Indonesia between 1965 and 1970 were crimes against humanity. To make this argument, I draw upon some key cases in international criminal case law regarding the prosecution of sexual violence as torture as crimes against humanity.

Exposing Impunity : Memory and Human Rights Activism in Indonesia and Argentina

This article examines the impact of a new sustained focus in Indonesian human rights activism on connecting historical experiences of violence to ongoing impunity, in order to assess what forms of memory activism are effective in breaking a justice impasse. It does so by using the much more successful case of Argentinian human rights activism for justice for the 1976–83 repression as a point of comparison.

The Memory Landscapes of “1965” in Semarang

This article focuses on the formation of memory in relation to the mass violence of the years 1965/68 in Semarang. This port city offers a unique opportunity for studying both the violence of 1965/68 and its long-term effects from a local to a global level. Once nicknamed the “red city” and famous for its Chinese community, the events of “1965” deeply affected the city. Many (alleged) communists from Semarang were sent to prison camps in other parts of Indonesia, while many members of the Chinese community sought refuge abroad.

Contesting Victimhood in the Indonesian Anti-Communist Violence and Its Implications for Justice for the Victims of the 1968 South Blitar Trisula Operation in East Java

Since the end of the Suharto New Order regime and Indonesia’s transition to democracy in 1998, the country has struggled to address past serious human rights violations, in particular the 1965–66 anti-communist violence. Half a million members and sympathizers of the Indonesian Communist Party (Partai Komunis Indonesia, PKI) and its mass organizations were killed and hundreds of thousands were detained, most without trial.

Mechanics of Mass Murder : A Case for Understanding the Indonesian Killings as Genocide

This article presents an overview of new evidence recovered from the former Indonesian Intelligence Agency’s archives in Banda Aceh that is able to prove, for the first time, military agency behind the 1965–66 killings in Indonesia. The military leadership, these documents show, initiated and implemented the killings as part of a coordinated national campaign.

“Down to the Very Roots” : The Indonesian Army’s Role in the Mass Killings of 1965–66

This article makes the case that the anticommunist violence of 1965–66 in Indonesia was neither inevitable nor spontaneous, but was encouraged, facilitated, directed and shaped by the Indonesian army leadership. It develops that argument in three parts. It shows first how the temporal and geographical variations in the pattern of mass killing corresponded closely to the varied political postures and capacities of army commanders in different locales, and how the mass violence everywhere depended on the army’s substantial logistical assets.

1965 Today : Living with the Indonesian Massacres

The year 1965 marked a dramatic turning point in Indonesian history. On 1 October, a shadowy group of left-wing military officers calling itself the 30 September Movement kidnapped and killed several right-wing generals. Surviving generals led by Suharto quickly suppressed the poorly organized group. Reading the movement’s actions as a communist party (PKI) coup attempt, they then undertook a violent backlash against the entire political left. Civilian allies mainly belonging to anti-communist religious groups actively collaborated in the violence.

1965 Today : Living with the Indonesian Massacres

1965 Today: Living with the Indonesian Massacres: against that backdrop, this special issue of the Journal of Genocide Research explores the many ways in which Indonesians are “living” with the Indonesian massacres. It examines the violent events themselves, the way people try to make sense of them today, and their enduring legacies in and beyond Indonesia. It brings together a selection of papers presented at the international conference “‘1965’ Today: Living with the Indonesian Massacres,” organized in Amsterdam, 1–2 October 2015.