A "people's tribunal" has opened hearings intended to publicize allegations that Indonesian authorities killed hundreds of thousands of suspected Communists 50 years ago.

The tribunal got underway Tuesday with the reading of a nine-count indictment against the state of Indonesia including charges of murder, torture and sexual violence. The court has no formal legal powers, but aims to shed light on what organizers call the darkest days in Indonesia's post-colonial history, and promote reconciliation by exposing the truth about the 1965 killings.

No representatives of the Indonesian government were present at the hearing in a historic church in The Hague.

Prosecutor Todung Mulya Lubis, a prominent human rights lawyer, says "the truth has to be told" about an issue that remains taboo in Indonesia.