Supreme Court to Judicial Commission: “Not All Controversial Decisions Involve Bribery” …

… and therefore you shouldn’t say anything negative about judicial decision-making!

Koran Sindo, the Indonesian evening newspaper, has been reporting on the feuding (perseteruan) between the Judicial Commission and the Supreme Court. In today’s paper they have a nice graphic highlighting the main points of tension between the two institutions, which I’ve inserted below.  On Saturday the newspaper reported that Supreme Court spokesperson, Djoko Sarwoko, reminded the Judicial Commission not to interfere in judicial authority.  He suggested the Commissions efforts to publicise its views about unusual decisions was undermining judicial independence.  It seems pre-mautre to claim that the Commission is undermining judicial independence; indeed, it’s quite funny when this is the argument:

“Komisioner boleh curiga, tetapi jangan menggiring publik agar berpikiran sama dengan komisioner. Tidak semua putusan kontroversi berlatar belakang suap. KY jangan bertindak seperti KPK. Kasihan hakim yang memiliki integritas, namanya digulirkan dan diadili di media,” ujarnya di Jakarta kemarin.

I can’t help thinking that the Court is hiding behind an important, but by no means absolute, principal of judicial independence (judicial independence needs to be balanced with some form of judicial accountability); interestingly, in the same way that the press in the UK (and Prime Minister David Cameron) are, in my view, hiding behind the principal of press freedom to avoid attempts to strengthen press regulation.  Indeed, if the Judicial Commission was unable to make any public statements about complaints its received it would seriously undermine its effectiveness because, as I’ve noted before (here), the Judicial Commission has little power besides its ability to generate public pressure on the Supreme Court to account for its decisions.

The graphic from Koran Sindo:

Judicial Commission-Supreme Court Feuding

Judicial Commission-Supreme Court Feuding

Links to the articles: MA Nilai KY Campuri Kewenangan Hakim and MA-KY Jangan Saling Tuding-Hasil Sidang MKH Hakim Agung Achmad Yamanie Jadi Bukti.

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