Category Archives: National News

MK: Praperadilan Petitions Open to NGOs

The Constitutional Court ruled last week that the phrase “interested third parties” in the Criminal Procedure Code relating to praperadilan requests should be interpreted broadly and that NGOs must to be allowed bring praperadilan petitions.  Here’s Suara Merdeka coverage:

Mahkamah Konstitusi mengabulkan permohonan Masyarakat Anti Korupsi (MAKI) dalam uji materi Kitab Undang-Undang Hukum Acara Pidana tentang gugatan praperadilan.

“Mengabulkan permohonan pemohon untuk seluruhnya,” papar keputusan Mahkamah Konstitusi dalam sidang yang dibacakan Ketua Mahkamah Konstitusi Akil Mochtar di Gedung Mahkamah Konstitusi  Jakarta, Selasa (21/5).

Pasal yang diujikan materi adalah Pasal 80 Kitab Undang-undang Hukum Acara Pidana (KUHAP) yang berbunyi permintaan untuk memeriksa sah atau tidaknya suatu penghentian penyidikan atau penuntutan dapat diajukan oleh penyidik atau penuntut umum atau pihak ketiga yang berkepentingan kepada ketua pengadilan negeri dengan menyebutkan alasannya.

Frasa pihak ketiga yang berkepentingan dalam Pasal 80 KUHAP adalah bertentangan dengan UUD 1945 dan tidak mempunyai kekuatan hukum yang mengikat sepanjang tidak dimaknai, “Termasuk saksi korban atau pelapor, lembaga swadaya masyarakat (LSM) atau organisasi kemasyarakatan,” kata Akil.

Putusan ini dijatuhkan Mahkamah Konstitusi dengan pertimbangan pihak ketiga bukan hanya saksi korban tindak pidana, melainkan juga masyarakat luas. Hal Ini karena pada dasarnya KUHAP dibuat untuk kepentingan umum.

This strengthens court oversight of the investigation and prosecution process.  More recently, however, judges have generally accepted praperadilan requests from NGOs but have found in favour of the Kejaksaan, often on the basis of dubious arguments–see, for example, in the case of former Semarang Mayor Sukawi Sutarip: Again, Court Rejects Praperadilan Petition in Sukawi Investigation Termination.  Generally, however, it’s a step forward for law enforcement accountability.  There now needs to be a concerted effort to socialise the decision and provide local NGOs with the technical capacity to prepare praperadilan requests.

What’s next, private prosecution?

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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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Presidential Permission to Investigate Regional Heads Unconstitutional

In a landmark decision, the Constitutional Court announced on 26 September 2012 that Article 36 (1) and (2) are unconstitutional.  These articles required police and prosecutors to obtain presidential permission to investigate Governors and District Heads in corruption investigations–see here and here.  Article 36 (3), which requires presidential permission to arrest regional heads, was spared.  But the court clarified that police and prosecutors could proceed with arrests if the president did not respond within 30 days.

There are two relevant decisions, which I have yet to read, are here in PDF format:

The latter is cited more often in the press, and was brought by Feri Amsari, lecturer at Andalas University; Tetan Masduki, Transparency International Indonesia; Zainal Arifin Mochtar, lecturer at Gadjah Mada University; and ICW.

Donal Fariz, a researcher at ICW, explained that we should not see police and prosecutors delaying their investigations because of delays in seeking presidential permission:

“Ke depan, dengan adanya putusan MK ini, kami tidak ingin lagi mendengar jaksa-jaksa tidak memeriksa seorang tersangka ataupun saksi kepala daerah karena masih menunggu izin dari presiden,” kata Donal.

Merdeka.com article here: ICW apresiasi penyidikan kepala daerah tanpa izin presiden.

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Judicial Commission Statistics: 2005-2012

Tempo.co summarises the Judicial Commission’s performance statistics from August 2005 until June 2012:

  • 6,634 citizen complaints
  • 3,602 of which were complete and therefore registered
  • 1,415 of which were acted upon
  • 148 judges recommended for disciplinary action
  • 81 recommendations accepted by the Supreme Court
  • 67 recommendations rejected.

Article here: Komisi Yudisial Baru Periksa 570 Hakim Nakal.

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Corruption monitoring institutions in action, or not

This week’s Reformasi Weekly Review highlights, in relation to a new KPK investigation of corruption in the procurement of police driving simulators, the ineffectiveness of internal monitoring institutions at the Police:

Bambang [who couriered the kick-backs and a key witness in the investigation] also told Tempo that other payments flowed to other officers, including: Rp15 billion to the Traffic Police Primary Cooperative (Primkoppol), commanded by mid-ranking officer, Dep Maj Com (Ajun Komisaris Besar) Teddy Rusmawan; and Rp. 1.7 billion [~$170,000] to officials in the police Oversight Inspectorate (the unit designated with preventing corruption), including a Rp. 700 million [~$70,000] transfer to a team within the unit, and Rp. 1 billion [~$100,000] in cash to the commanding officer, a three-star general, Com Gen Fajar Prihantono. Sukotjo supported his claims by showing Tempo bank transfer statements and Blackberry Messenger conversations.

Unsurprisingly then…

For their part, police officials have asserted that an internal police investigation into the matter determined that no kickbacks occurred. A police spokesperson, Maj Com Agus Rianto, said that, “We did an investigation some time ago. The result was that there was no provision of money.”

The excellent Reformasi Weekly Review is available here: www.reformasi.info.

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Hambalang Investigation Upgraded

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) this week upgraded the corruption case involving corruption in the construction of the $265 million Hambalang Sports Facility in Bogor from a pre-investigation (penyelidikan) to an investigation (penyidikan).  The Reformasi Weekly Review highlights the implications of KPK’s methodical investigation strategy for the Democratic Party, including the Party Chairperson, Anas Urbaningrum, and the Minister of Sports, Andi Mallarangeng:

[T]he decision to upgrade the case status to ‘advanced investigation’ virtually ensures a court trial. In turn, it now seems likely that court revelations will eventually affect the chair of President Yudhoyono’s Partai Demokrat, Anas Urbaningrum, whose wife owned shares in an obscure firm that received contracts in the project. Another figure whom the case will likely affect is the president’s former domestic spokesperson, State Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng.

However, the KPK intends to apply its customary approach, which is to methodically pursue the conviction of lower-level figures first, using facts revealed in their trials as grounds for subsequently convicting higher-level actors. The KPK’s approach will likely require months of litigation before Urbaningrum might finally become a suspect.

It certainly seems expensive for what is a relatively simple set of buildings and athletic facilities.  For example, compare the pictures below of the London Olympic Stadium, which is estimated to have cost $880 million, with the Hambalang facility:

The case also highlights the importance of the Financial Transaction Analysis Center (PPATK) and its role in tracking financial flows relating to the project.

The website of the Reformasi Weekly Review: www.reformasi.info.

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KPK fundraising via social media networks

Interesting initiative from KPK–fund-raising via social media networks.  Reformasi reports:

Parliamentarians initially resisted a budget request from the Anti-Corruption Commission (KPK) for additional office space, and this prompted a voluntary fund‑raising effort for the KPK via social media.  The fanfare may compel parliamentarians to relent and accede to the KPK request, which will enable the commission to expand.  The episode shows that the KPK – fortified by its track record and bolstered by social networks – constitutes a potent political force.

As international donor funds decline, national and local civil society groups need to change their fund-raising models.  Social media could provide the infrastructure for this.  Imagine, for example, if everyone who “liked” ICW’s facebook profile could also choose to have a few thousand rupiah deducted from their debit cards each month.  Not only would it provide a sustainable and politically diffuse source of income, it would also provide an interesting accountability mechanisms.  This could be negative and positive.  Certain high-profile activities (organizations) are more likely to receive “likes” and therefore funds; whereas less exciting but important activities–like legal and data analysis–are less likely to draw “likes”.  Ideally the exciting stuff would cross-subsidize the boring stuff within an organization.  But it could be that organizations specialise (in the exciting stuff) and the boring (but important stuff) gets left behind.  This requires discerning “likers”, I guess.

Reformasi Weekly Newsletter available here: www.reformasi.info

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New Whistle Blower Website Launched

The Institute for Government Procurement of Goods and Services (LKPP) announced on 30 April 2012 the launch of a new website for anonymous reporting of corruption in government procurement.  This may be useful, but initial reports of corruption are already plentiful.  The real challenge begins, however, when the investigators collect evidence.  It is very difficult to ensure anonymity at this stage and those that provide testimony and/or documentary evidence can face retaliation for doing so.

Lembaga Kebijakan Pengadaan Barang/Jasa Pemerintah (LKPP) meluncurkan Whistle Blower Sistem Pengadaan Barang/Jasa Pemerintah. Program ini diluncurkan ini dengan beroperasinya website resmi whistle blower http://www.wbs.lkpp.go.id.

Kepala LKPP Agus Rahardjo menjelaskan, pengembangan sistem Pengadaan Barang/Jasa pemerintah dilakukan sesuai dengan amanat yang terdapat pada Instruksi Presiden Nomor 17 Tahun 2011 terkait Pencegahan dan Pemberantasan Korupsi.

As reported in SuaraMerdeka.com LKPP Luncurkan Program Whistle Blower via KP2KKN’s media blog here.

 

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Bibit: A Slap on the Wrist is Sufficient

Central Java Governor, Bibit Waluyo, was quoted laying responsibility for the arrest of Semarang Major, Soemarmo, on the local parliamentarians that demanded bribes to ensure smooth passage of the local budget.  He suggested that a “reminder” was sufficient punishment.  Although I’ve some sympathy for district heads–essentially it’s a politics of extortion–Bibit’s suggestions are not convincing.  Soemarmo is from PDIP, as is Bibit.

Gubernur Jawa Tengah Bibit Waluyo kecewa atas penahanan Wali Kota Semarang Soemarmo dalam kasus dugaan suap saat pembahasan rancangan anggaran pendapatan dan belanja kota oleh KPK. Alasannya, pembangunan kota menjadi tersendat.

“Harusnya wali kota tidak perlu ditahan, tetapi cukup diberi peringatan, karena yang dilakukan bukanlah kesalahan wali kota,” kata Gubernur di Semarang, Jumat (20/4).

Menurutnya, Soemarmo hanyalah korban akibat tekanan yang dilakukan anggota dewan yang meminta uang agar proses pembahasan anggaran dapat segera selesai.

“Harusnya cukup diberi peringatan agar tidak melakukan lagi, bukan ditahan,” lanjut mantan Pangkostrad itu. Bahkan, ia kembali membela Soemarmo dalam kasus tersebut sebagai tindakan yang tidak melanggar hukum.

Reported in Media IndonesiaGubernur Jawa Tengah Bela Wali Kota Semarang.

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Corruption Code Words

Bambang Widjojanto, from KPK, was quoted in the newspaper in April explaining that corruption methods are becoming increasingly sophisticated and that new vocabulary has developed.

Dalam kosa kata, muncul kota kata yang menyesatkan tindakan korupsi. Misalnya, penggunaan kata apel washington, apel malang, kilo, dan beberapa kata lain. “Penyertaan dengan digunakannya pihak ketiga untuk menyesatkan dari aktor utama korupsi,” tambah Bambang.

From Kompas.com: Modus Operandi Korupsi Berkembang.

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