Amnesty and Accountability: The Price of Peace in Aceh, Indonesia
In 2005, the government of Indonesia and representatives of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) signed a Memorandum of Understanding bringing almost 30 years of violent conflict in Aceh to an end. At the centre of the agreement was the provision of an amnesty for GAM combatants that has been widely cited as one of the key reasons for the success of the Aceh peace process. This article assesses the price paid for that peace and its impact on democracy, rule of law and human rights in postconflict Aceh. It demonstrates that although the development of a human rights culture has not eventuated in the five years since the Acehnese war ended, general predictions about the negative impact of amnesties have not materialized in this case. Rather than leaving a significant debt, in this case peace has purchased democratic elections and marked improvements in the material respect for human rights.
International Journal of Transitional Justice