Tag Archives: Supreme Court

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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Supreme Court Disciplines Judge Lilik

Hukumonline.com reported that the the Supreme Court will continue with Judge Lilik’s promotion to a remote court in North Sulawesi but will withdraw her accreditation to serve on corruption cases.

Disorot banyak kalangan terkait maraknya vonis bebas di Pengadilan Tipikor Semarang, Mahkamah Agung (MA) akhirnya bersikap tegas. MA memutuskan untuk mencabut Surat Keputusan (SK) atas nama Lilik Nuraeni sebagai hakim Pengadilan Tipikor Semarang. Tidak hanya dicabut SK-nya, Lilik juga dipindahkan ke Pengadilan Negeri (PN) Tondano, Sulawesi Utara. MA juga memutuskan tidak akan mengangkat Lilik sebagai hakim Pengadilan Tipikor dimanapun dia bertugas.

“Tidak ada perkara tipikor, tidak akan keluarkan SK Tipikor (atas nama Lilik Nuraeni). Di sana (PN Tondano) Lilik tidak boleh mengadili perkara tipikor. SK hakim tipikor sudah mati di Semarang, harus tidak diangkat lagi, harus ada sanksi,” ujar Juru Bicara MA, Djoko Sarwoko, Senin (25/6).

Dengan pencabutan SK ini, Lilik sudah tidak berhak atas tunjangan sebagai hakim Pengadilan Tipikor. Namun, hakim yang diduga melakukan pelanggaran kode etik oleh Komisi Yudisial (KY) ini tetap mendapatkan kenaikan jabatan alias promosi di PN Tondano (kelas IB) sebagai Wakil Ketua PN. Padahal, saat bertugas di PN Semarang (kelas IA) Lilik hanya hakim biasa.

Article here: MA Cabut SK Pengangkatan Hakim Tipikor Semarang.

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Supreme Court Examines 4 Judges

Kompas.com reported that the Supreme Court examined four judges from the Corruption Court in Semarang:

“Saya sudah tanya Kepala Badan Pengawas, hakim-hakim itu sudah diperiksa 14 hari lalu. Tetapi hasilnya belum ada, karena pemeriksaan waktu itu sempat tertunda sebab salah satu hakimnya berhalangan,” kata Ridwan, Selasa (19/6/2012).

Ridwan Mansyur didn’t confirm with Judge Lilik, the most controversial judges on the Court, was to be moved to the North Sulawesi:

Ditanya apakah benar Lilik telah dipindahkan ke Pengadilan Negeri Tondano, Sulawesi Selatan [Utara], dan kini menjabat Ketua PN, Ridwan mengaku belum mengetahui.

Pengadilan Tipikor Semarang dikenal sering membebaskan terdakwa korupsi. Setidaknya terdapat tujuh kasus korupsi yang dibebaskan, enam di antaranya dilakukan oleh majelis yang dipimpin hakim yang sama.

Original article here: MA Periksa Empat Hakim Tipikor Semarang.

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KPK Requests Soemarmo Case Transfer

Suara Merdeka provides more background on Komisi III’s intervention and MA’s decision to move the Soemarmo case from Semarang to Jakarta:

Komisi III DPR menemui Kepala Kejaksaan Negeri dan Wakil Ketua Pengadilan Negeri (PN) Semarang untuk mengetahui alasan pemindahan sidang atas terdakwa Wali Kota Semarang Soemarmo HS dan Ketua DPRD Jateng Murdoko SH.

Pertemuan dilakukan Kamis (31/5) lalu di Mapolda Jateng. Soemarmo dan Murdoko akan disidangkan di Jakarta. Padahal keduanya disangka melakukan korupsi di Semarang. Sidang atas sebuah perkara selama ini selalu dilakukan di mana peristiwa tersebut terjadi atau sesuai dengan locus delicti-nya.

Namun dalam kasus Soemarmo dan Murdoko, Mahkamah Agung memenuhi permintaan Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (KPK) agar memindahkan lokasi sidang ke Jakarta. Alasan KPK —yang disetujui MA— adalah adanya kekhawatiran intervensi dalam sidang tersebut jika tetap dilakukan di daerah.

Article here: PN Semarang Tersinggung.

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The 8 Points Removed from the Judicial Code of Conduct

A few days ago I noted that the Supreme Court had determined to remove 8 points from the Ethics Code for judges — see here.  I dug up the codes today.  Those from section eight relate to discipline, whereas those from section ten relate to professionalism.  These are two substantive sections of the Code.  Here’s a translation of the (former) articles, some parts of which were very difficult to render in English:

8. Discipline

Discipline requires that upholding norms or rules is believed to be part of a higher calling to carry out the mandate and trust of justice seekers. Discipline will encourage the formation of a dutiful approach to one’s responsibilities, sincerity in devotion and setting an example, and respect for the mandate entrusted to them.

Application:

8.1. Judges are obliged to know and perform tasks in accordance with laws and regulations, particularly the laws of procedure, in order to apply the law correctly and fulfill a sense of justice to every seeker of justice.

8.2. Judges must respect the rights of the parties in the judicial process and seek the examination of the case in a simple, rapid and low cost way.

8.3. Judges must assist the parties and try to overcome all obstacles and hurdles to realize justice that is simple, fast and low cost in accordance with the laws and regulations.

8.4. The chairing judge or a judge appointed as such, shall allocate cases to the panel of judges in a fair and equitable manner, and avoid allocation of cases to judge who have a conflict of interest.

10. Professionalism

Professionalism is underpinned by a moral stance that is determined to carry one’s chosen work with earnestness, backed by the expertise as the basis of knowledge, skill and insight. A professional attitude encourages the formation of personal rectitude and to strive to improve one’s knowledge and performance in order to reach the highest quality of work, effectiveness and efficiency.

Application:

10.1. Judges must take steps to maintain and improve their knowledge, skills and personal qualities so as to perform judicial duties properly.

10.2. Judges must diligently carry out their administrative responsibilities in collaboration with judges and other court officials in running the administration of justice.

10.3. Judges shall give priority to judicial duties over other activities professionally.

10.4. Judges must avoid mistakes in their decisions and not ignore the facts that could condemn the accused or parties, or deliberately make favorable consideration of the accused or parties in cases under adjudication.

8. BERDISIPLIN TINGGI

Disiplin bermakna ketaatan pada norma-norma atau kaidah-kaidah yang diyakini sebagai panggilan luhur untuk mengemban amanah serta kepercayaan masyarakat pencari keadilan. Disiplin tinggi akan mendorong terbentuknya pribadi yang tertib di dalam melaksanakan tugas, ikhlas dalam pengabdian dan berusaha untuk menjadi teladan dalam lingkungannya, serta tidak menyalahgunakan amanah yang dipercayakan kepadanya.

Penerapan :

8.1.Hakim berkewajiban mengetahui dan mendalami serta melaksanakan tugas pokok sesuai dengan peraturan perundang-undangan yang berlaku, khususnya hukum acara, agar dapat menerapkan hukum secara benar dan dapat memenuhi rasa keadilan bagi setiap pencari keadilan.

8.2. Hakim harus menghormati hak-hak para pihak dalam proses peradilan dan berusaha mewujudkan pemeriksaan perkara secara sederhana, cepat dan biaya ringan.

8.3. Hakim harus membantu para pihak dan berusaha mengatasi segala hambatan dan rintangan untuk mewujudkan peradilan yang sederhana, cepat dan biaya ringan sesuai dengan peraturan perundang-undangan yang berlaku.

8.4.Ketua Pengadilan atau Hakim yang ditunjuk, harus mendistribusikan perkara kepada Majelis Hakim secara adil dan merata, serta menghindari pendistribusian perkara kepada Hakim yang memiliki konflik kepentingan.

10. BERSIKAP PROFESIONAL

Profesional bermakna suatu sikap moral yang dilandasi oleh tekad untuk melaksanakan pekerjaan yang dipilihnya dengan kesungguhan, yang didukung oleh keahlian atas dasar pengetahuan, keterampilan dan wawasan luas. Sikap profesional akan mendorong terbentuknya pribadi yang senantiasa menjaga dan mempertahankan mutu pekerjaan, serta berusaha untuk meningkatkan pengetahuan dan kinerja, sehingga tercapai setinggi-tingginya mutu hasil pekerjaan, efektif dan efisien.

Penerapan :

10.1. Hakim harus mengambil langkah-langkah untuk memelihara dan meningkatkan pengetahuan, keterampilan dan kualitas pribadi untuk dapat melaksanakan tugas-tugas peradilan secara baik.

10.2. Hakim harus secara tekun melaksanakan tanggung jawab administratif dan bekerja sama dengan para Hakim dan pejabat pengadilan lain dalam menjalankan administrasi peradilan.

10.3. Hakim wajib mengutamakan tugas yudisialnya di atas kegiatan yang lain secara professional.

10.4. Hakim wajib menghindari terjadinya kekeliruan dalam membuat keputusan, atau mengabaikan fakta yang dapat menjerat terdakwa atau para pihak atau dengan sengaja membuat pertimbangan yamg menguntungkan terdakwa atau para pihak dalam mengadili suatu perkara yang ditanganinya.

Download the Code of Conduct here: Kode Etik Hakim

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Supreme Court Removes 8 Points from its Ethics Code

Tempo reported last week that the Supreme Court has removed eight points from its Ethics Code (link here).  The  Ethics Code was jointly promulgated by the Supreme Court and the Judicial Commission on 8 April 2009 and is the basis for the Judicial Commissions monitoring of judges.  The Judicial Commission expressed disappointment with the decision and Asep Rahmat, spokesperson for the Judicial Commission, indicated that it was prepared to work with the Supreme Court to ensure the Ethics Code continue to comply with the Bangalore Principals of the Judicial Conduct.

The Judicial Commission was disappointed with the decision of the Supreme Court to revoke eight points from the Ethical Code of Judges, one of which contains a prohibition against ignoring the trial facts. Judicial Commission spokesman, Asep Rahmat Fajar, expressed respect for the verdict but disappointed with the decision of the Supreme Court.

“Hopefully, KY [the Judicial Commssion] can coordinate with the Supreme Court for the reformulation of the material to ensure its accordance with the “2002 Bangalore Principles ” of Judicial Conduct,” said Asep by telephone, Tuesday, February 14, 2012.

Komisi Yudisial kecewa dengan putusan Mahkamah Agung mencabut delapan poin Kode Etik Hakim, yang salah satunya berisi larangan mengabaikan fakta persidangan. Juru bicara KY, Asep Rahmat Fajar, menyatakan menghormati putusan, meski sebenarnya kecewa dengan pilihan MA.

“Harapannya, KY bisa berkoordinasi dengan MA untuk reformulasi materi sehingga masih sesuai dengan “Bangalore Principles 2002″ tentang Kode Etik Hakim, tapi tetap memperhatikan concern kemarin,” kata Asep melalui telepon, Selasa, 14 Februari 2012.

The following codes were removed: 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4 as well as 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, dan 10.4.  I’ll try to dig the specifics this week.

h/t KP2KKN’s media blog, here.

 

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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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Supreme Court Judge Promises Death Penalty for Corruption

Last week Supreme Court Justice, Artidjo Alkotsar, promised that he would be the first to sentence the death penalty for corruption. He also suggested the criteria for sentencing the death penalty required development and suggested a figure of Rp. 500 billion ($55 million).

The drums keep beating the war against corruption. From among many judges, only Artidjo Alkotsar loudly promiseed to be the first judge to sentence the death penalty for corruptors in Indonesia.

“I will be the first to sentence death for corruption,” said Chief Justice Artidjo in a seminar forum in Jakarta, Friday (10/02/2012). […]

“Certain acts of corruption ought to qualify for the death penalty as formulated in a series of articles, for example financial corruption resulting in state losses of Rp. 500 billion, so that the parameters are clear,” he said.

Genderang perang terhadap korupsi terus ditabuh. Dari sekian banyak hakim, Artidjo Alkotsar lantang berjanji menjadi hakim pertama yang akan memberikan hukuman mati bagi koruptor di Indonesia.

“Saya yang pertama akan menjatuhkan vonis mati terhadap koruptor,” kata Hakim Agung Artidjo dalam sebuah forum seminar di Jakarta, Jumat, (10/2/2012).  […]

“Seharusnya ancaman hukuman mati itu mengkualifikasikan korupsi tertentu yang tertuang dalam rangkaian rumusan pasal, misalnya korupsi merugikan keuangan negara Rp 500 miliar, sehingga jelas parameternya,” ungkapnya.

Although I’m sceptical about the effectiveness of the death penalty as a deterrence, it’s sure to be popular at the local level.  The need for the death penalty for corruption was something that often came up in my interviews, particularly amongst local activitst.  Somewhat surprisingly many informants used the example of China as a country where the death penalty was deterring corruption.  I’m no China expert but my understanding is that the corruption drive there is highly politicised and that corruption prosecutions are a weapon used in factional struggles for power (see this article from the New York Times, for example).

Detik.com article here.

h/t KP2KKN, here.

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