Achievements, Challenges, and Recommendations for Judicial Reform

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10 Oct2018

Achievements, Challenges, and Recommendations for Judicial Reform

Lembaga Kajian dan Advokasi untuk Independensi Peradilan (Indonesian Institute for Independent Judiciary) was established in January 12, 1999. Reformation in 1998 brought fresh air for the development of social movement that encouraged democracy and better governance that upheld transparency, participation and rule  of law principles.


Concerns over the importance of judicial reforms came from various groups. The seeds of LeIP emerged from a group of college students who initiated Clean Judiciary Campaign (KAMPER). This received support from senior activists from various background who wished to establish a civil society organization that focused on judicial reform.


The establishment of LeIP was initiated by thinkers and activists from various sectors including legal practitioners, lawyers, activists, journalists, judges such as Abang (Adnan Buyung Nasution), Mas Achmad Santosa, Todung Mulya Lubis, Bambang Widjojanto, Frans Hendra Winarta, Benyamin Mangkoedilaga, Atmakusumah Astraatmadja, and Benny K. Harman. Several civil society organizations also assisted the establishment of LeIP, such as YLBHI (Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia/Legal Aid Institute), ICEL (Indonesian Center for Environmental Law) and KRHN (Konsorsium Reformasi Hukum Nasional/National Legal Aid Reform Consortium).

LeIP was established in January 12, 1999. The event took place in Grand Mahakam Hotel, Jakarta, and this coincided with the reading of recommendations for Indonesia from UN Special Rapporteur for Judicial Independence, Dato’ Param Cumaraswamy. The diverse backgrounds of LeIP founders showed the shared interests for judicial independence. Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary as stated both in LeIP objective and its name, were seen from the perspective of citizens’ right to obtain justice and independent judge. The meaning that went beyond the right of a judge or court.


Nineteen years after its establishment, concerns were once again formed in LeIP due to reform achievements not directly proportionate with benefits received by people who seek justice. Since the issuance of Judicial Reform Blueprint in 2003, Supreme Court became a state institution that was very open to civil society involvement in reform process. This openness led to implementation of many reform programs. Sizable amount of funding, thoughts and manpower were poured by civil society elements who were cooperating with reform champions from Supreme Court. There were many breakthrough policies created that supported transparency, accountability and modernization, these reflected commitments of Supreme Court Leader for a reformed Judiciary.


However, fundamental issues in judicial functions had not been resolved. Illegal fees, judicial corruption practice, quality and consistency of decision, as well as weak implementation of fair trial principle continued to happen.

 

There were even several cases that profoundly disturb our sense of justice. Death sentence handed to Yusman Telambuana in 2013 was one of the example. How was it possible that Prosecutor demanded death sentence, and then court handed death sentence to an underage defendant? How was it possible that the defendant was not assisted by legal counsel during investigation when the charge included possibility of capital punishment?


Another example was an order from Panel of Judges in West Jakarta District Court to Santa’s, a defendant, legal counsel to prepare defense plea in 30 minutes on the death sentence recommendation given by Prosecutors. How was it possible that due process of law was absent from those cases even after Indonesia issued Legal Aid Law; after Police, Prosecutor, and Supreme Court implemented bureaucratic reform; after National Police, Attorney General’s Office, and Supreme Court were busy implementing various programs for organizational modernization which took up considerable amount of funding?


These concerns led LeIP to came up with a question:
Was it possible that this condition caused by weakening synergy among civil society elements and actors working for judicial reform?


To answer that question, LeIP initiated IJRF as a marker event of efforts to rebuild a dynamic dialogue among civil society organizations, government institutions, and other stakeholders in judicial reform.


IJRF was called as a “marker” event due to expectation that it would build discussion among all judicial reform actors to better synergy: exchange of information and knowledge, as well as agree on role and approach to achieve judicial reform. This was not solely for the interest to strengthen organizations of judicial institutions. But it was also to ensure judicial institutions ability to fulfill their mandates to maintain and  protect citizens rights through judicial process.


IJRF was also held to appreciate openness of Supreme Court to involvement of civil society in judicial reform. Not all judicial institution possessed Supreme Court’s openness in receiving input from external parties and civil society to improve their organization.


This openness led us to be grateful that judicial reform condition was conducive. And to received benefit from that condition, it was important for judicial reform contributors to take a moment to reflect. To see what was working, lacking, and what needed to be continued to expedite the objective we aspired to have. The chance to reflect came in a form of plenary session and a series of panel discussions on critical.

issues of judiciary system in a two days forum, on January 15-16, 2018. Ideas and recommendations from panel discussions would be handed by representations of  civil society organizations that held IJRF to Supreme Court, Office of Presidential Staffs, National Development Planning Agency, and representations of other state institutions that were tasked to conduct judicial reform.


LeIP would like to say thank you for the willingness and support of various parties in the implementation of this year IJRF: civil society organizations, donor agency, National Library and Supreme Court. Finally, we hope that all participants received benefits from the series of IJRF activities. Thank you to all parties supporting IJRF 2018.

 

 

Jakarta, January 2018

Trustee

Institute for Independent Judiciary


Dr. Mas Achmad Santosa, S.H., LL.M.

 

 

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