New Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

Last week Justice Hatta Ali won election as the Supreme Courts new Chief Justice.  His term will begin March 1 and will run until 2020.  He is from Pare-Pare, South Sulawesi and a graduate of Hasanuddin University, Makassar, and Airlangga University, Surabaya.

The consensus amongst commentators is that it remains to be seen whether Hatta is reformist and able to bring reforms to the Supreme Court , but that it could have been worse.  Artidjo was a favourite amongst activists:

Hermawanto, director of legal watchdog the Initiative Institute, said on Monday that out of all the candidates, only Artidjo had a clean track record.

“I have asked people inside the Supreme Court and they all told me that [Artidjo] is an idealist,” he said on Tuesday.

Alvon Kurnia Palma of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) agreed that only Artidjo had the integrity to lead the country’s top court.

Imam Anshori Saleh, Deputy Chairman of the Judicial Commission, said he hoped the Chief Justice would cooperate with the Judicial Commission, which has authority to monitor and recommend sanctions for judges (see here):

“We all know that [the Supreme Court] has been very protective of [judges] violating the law and judge’s code of conduct,” he said. “We hope that the court will be more open to its flaws so we can all work together to fix Indonesia’s judiciary.”

Hermawanto also commented on the divisions between career and ad hoc judges:

Hermawanto said that another factor hurting Artidjo’s chances was the fact that he did not start out as a district court judge.

“There’s long been a feud between career and non-career judges,” he said.

The Jakarta Globe article available here.

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