Friday, December 17, 2004


A Step Ahead

India appears to be a step ahead of Indonesia in its legal system. Twenty years from now, looking back, we will realize just what an important step it was. Jemma Purdey explains:

Events of mass violence and rioting between and against different communities within these two countries in recent years have similarly left behind victims seeking justice for the crimes against them. The responses and capabilities of the respective judicial and political systems in India and Indonesia are however, producing different outcomes.

The Indonesian case referred to is the riots in Jakarta and other major cities, which took place in mid-May 1998. Over one thousand people died and over one hundred women were raped and gang-raped. Not a single person has been prosecuted for crimes carried out during the violence and despite an official report calling for further investigation of elite military and political figures, no one has been held accountable. More than six years later, there has been no resolution for the victims of this violence.  In India the recent situation is vastly different. Almost exactly one year on from the Mumbai blasts the trial of six accused in the case is set to commence with the police boasting that they have ‘a watertight case’.The fact that the accused in this case are all Muslim may be seen by some from this minority community to account for the speed of bringing this case to trial. However as a counterpoint, simultaneously in a nearby court in Mumbai a trial will be underway of 19 Hindus accused of killing 14 people (mostly Muslims and their Hindu employees) trapped inside the Best Bakery in Vadodara, Gujarat on 1 March 2002.
Place your bets.