Looking over at the Aceh Peace Process, post conflict building is certainly a complex task that involves aspects such as secure environment, legitimate government rule of law, economic and social revitalization and social reconciliation. Furthermore, additional challenge remains to be an impediment for the Government of Indonesia. For example, Indonesia is still hampered by the fact that it needs to continue to increase its institutional capacities, organizational coordination and to continue its initial peace program in Aceh with an environment that is week politically and uncertainty. However, most scholars and practitioners have underlined that the Aceh Peace Process, which included a pertinent DDR program, is deemed a great success story.
Certainly, the objective of DDR differs from country to country and that the goal should only be made explicitly towards the security concern and the actors involve. The success story of the DDR program in Aceh is by no means helped by two important factors. First the paradigm of conflict in Aceh is underlined by the nature of the conflict. Unlike many civil wars that occur in African regions, where the power struggle is entangled by many factions and parties, the Aceh situation is deemed to be “popular movement” for an increase of regional autonomy rather than a balanced struggle between groups for a control over countries “sovereignty” nor resources. Second, the Tsunami event that happened in the late 2004 played a significant factor as the disaster successfully crippled the existing network of individuals in Aceh.
For all we know culture plays a very important role and it profoundly influences how individuals interact, think and relate with each other. In the case of Aceh, the community somehow had strong correlations between the one and another and that intra nor intercommunity relationship did not pose a threat towards peace. Ironically, the relationship between the fighters/GAM and the civilian population remained strong. As a result, the process of reintegrating individuals into society was somewhat “smooth”. For example, even after three years of the MoU (peace process) evidence shown that there is a high level of trust between combatants and non-combatants thus social cohesion remains intact.
One interesting aspect regarding the reintegration process in Aceh is that post war transition has triggered a move from the use of violent means towards political processes approaches by the ex-combatants. Most importantly, ex-combatants and their representative saw an opportunity and seize the existing momentum. For example, individuals accepted the legitimacy of rule of law and existing state institutions and for that reason commanders of GAM and other representatives began to see bigger opportunities through the existing democratic political processes.
As administered by the MoU individuals are welcome to access positional power in the districts and provinces. Furthermore, since the relationship between the intra-inter community is strong (i.e. ex-combatant and civilians) it was seen to be very easy to garner popularity needed to win an election. In the spirit of democratic election particularly in 2006, the Gubernatorial and most district head officials taken up by ex-rebel group members and GAM former representatives
Exemplified above are brief example of how a peace process coupled with external factors can certainly create an environment that is conducive for DDR programs (pre-conditions). Certainly the peace process would have not been successful if it weren’t for the actors involve (Government of Indonesia, Finland, European Union and GAM). What we can certainly underline is the fact that the DDR approach in Aceh is focused towards assistances that includes broad set of activities aimed at supporting conflict to peace transitions.
By Danurdoro Parnohadiningrat