Tag Archives: Constitutional Court

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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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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Money Politics in Local Elections

The national broadsheet Kompas reported comments from Constitutional Court Judge, Akil Mochtar, and Commission II member, Arif Wibowo, on the pervasiveness and negative effect of “money politics” or vote buying on Indonesia’s democracy.

Akil indicated that in a recent election in Waringin Barat City in Central Kalimantan, the Sugianto and Eko Sumarno ticket paid as much as Rp. 150-200,000 ($16-21) per “volunteer”:

“In general almost all candidates practice this [vote buying], only the method is different.  The goal is to influence voters so that they are elected” said Akil while attending a seminar on elections in Jakarta, Wednesday (25/01/2012).

“[The Sugianto and Eko Sumarno ticket] made arrangements to inappropriately pay people to volunteer in the campaign team. This is done by giving a volunteer certificate of the candidate to citizens together with Rp. 150 thousand – 200 thousand,” he explained.

“Pada umumnya hampir semua pasangan calon melakukan praktek ini (vote buying), hanya cara-caranya berbeda. Tujuannya untuk mempengaruhi pemilih, agar memilihnya,” jelas Akil dalam menghadiri seminar mengenai pilkada di Jakarta, Rabu (25/1/2012).

“Pasangan ini melakukan persiapan pendanaan secara tidak wajar untuk membayar warga yang menjadi relawan dalam tim kampanye. Hal ini dilakukan dengan memberikan sertifikat relawan pasangan calon urut nomor 1 kepada warga diserta dengan uang Rp 150 ribu – Rp 200 ribu,” jelasnya.

While Arif suggested it had become as widespread as a cultural practice and therefore very difficult to crackdown using the tools of law enforcement:

“Money politics has become a cultural practice.  If the government were to crackdown, there would be thousands of people who would be arrested.  While those who have received (money) includes tens of thousands.  I could argue that money politics has become a cultural practice that is not easy to tackle with laws.  I am confident to say that all elections involve money politics.  This is a chronic problem,” said Arif.

“Money politic ini jadi budaya. Kalau pemerintah mau tegakkan, ada ribuan orang yang mungkina akan ditangkap. Yang menerima juga puluhan ribu. Saya bisa menunjuk bahwa politik uang jadi budaya yang tidak mudah untuk ditegakkan secara hukum. Semua pilkada, saya berani mengatakan tidak ada yang tidak menggunakan uang. Ini masalah yang paling kronis,” pungkas Arif.

Regional corruption often has its origins in election campaigns.  Some of my informants from Central Java indicated that candidates must expend at least Rp. 10 billion (about $1.1 million) to become Bupati.  Those who win–and those who lose, but continue to hold positions in government–need to recoup these costs somehow and generally this involves corruption or extortion of one form or another.

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