Last week I made some notes (see here) about the dialogue held between the President and about 40 civil society organizations. This was followed by a series of media articles quoting the main NGO leaders and which I’m just catching up on (made easy by KP2KKN’s media archive blog). I thought I should add this response of the President to the request that he become more involved in overseeing corruption cases at the police and prosecutors (as quoted in Kompas here):
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, in the presence of anti-corruption activists, promised active measures to eradicate corruption in Indonesia. … “But it does not mean the President will take over the duties and responsibilities under the authority of the Police, State Prosecutor, and so on. There’s just no chance [that will happen]. Moreover, their jurisdiction shouldn’t be subject to intervention from anyone,” said the President in dialogue with the anti-corruption activists at the State Palace, Jakarta, Wednesday (25/01/2012).
Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, di hadapan para pegiat antikorupsi di Indonesia, berjanji akan aktif dalam langkah-langkah pemberantasan korupsi di Indonesia. … “Tapi tidak berarti Presiden mengambil alih tugas dan tanggung jawab kewenangan Polri, Kejaksaan, dan seterusnya. Tidak mungkin. Apalagi wilayah hukum itu tidak boleh ada intervensi dari siapa pun,” kata Presiden pada dialog dengan pegiat antikorupsi di Istana Negara, Jakarta, Rabu (25/1/2012).
As I commented last week, it’s unlikely the president will want to involve himself in the politics of deciding which cases proceed (and which do not). And it’s an easy position to make from a judicial independence perspective. But arguably judicial accountability is just as important as judicial independence (particularly when it comes to the police and prosecutors, which are not themselves judicial institutions). And from a political perspective, such a statement sends a clear signal to the police and prosecutors to continue, business as usual. I think it would have been good if the President had acknowledged some of the institutional accountability mechanisms that exist and encouraged their use, such as the praperadilan process as well as the commissions that are meant to monitor these agencies, e.g., Prosecutor Commission. Right now there’s not really any acknowledgment within the government that there’s a problem.
Finally, it also seems that these dialogues will occur on a routine basis, with the next one scheduled for April. Here’s Tetan Masduki as quoted in Tempo.co (here):
Secretary General of Transparency International Indonesia, Teten Masduki, stated that the Presidential Anti-Corruption Dialogue (dialogue between thepresident and the anti-corruption activists) will be carried out routinely. The next dialogue will be conducted in April. “We, the anti-corruption campaigners will use the dialogue forum to talk about concrete things that the president needs to follow-up,” he said at the Presidential Office, Wednesday, January 25, 2012.
The President himself initiated the dialogue, Teten continued. “And the dialogue is a continuation of the Anti-Corruption Day in Semarang on December 9 last year,” he said.
Sekretaris Jenderal Transparency International Indonesia Teten Masduki menyatakan Presidential Anti-Corruption Dialog (dialog antara presiden dengan para penggiat anti korupsi) akan dilakukan secara rutin. Untuk dialog selanjutnya akan dilakukan April. “Kami, pegiat anti-korupsi akan menggunakan forum dialog membicarakan hal-hal konkret yang Presiden perlu menindaklanjuti,” kata dia di Kantor Presiden, Rabu 25 Januari 2012.
Inisiatif dialog sendiri, Teten melanjutkan, berasal dari Presiden. “Dan merupakan kelanjutan dialog saat Hari Anti Korupsi di Semarang pada 9 Desember lalu,” kata dia.
It’ll be interesting to see how these dialogues develop.
h/t KP2KKN’s blog (here)