Concern Supreme Court sentence cuts could undermine corruption fight

Source – January 7, 2021
Supreme Court building in Central Jakarta – Undated (Liputan 6)

Ardito Ramadhan, Jakarta – Researcher Zaenur Rohman from the Gajah Mada University's (UGM) Anti-Corruption Study Centre says that the trend by the Supreme Court of cutting sentences at the judicial review level could eliminate the deterrent effect for corruption convicts.

Rohman is of the view that the sentence cuts are of concern because they could see a mushrooming of corruption because the threat of heavy sentences will not exist.

"They won't worry because after all there'll be lots of opportunities later which can be used to obtain lighter sentences such as through judicial reviews", said Rohman when contacted on Thursday January 7.

Rohman said that it is appropriate to question this trend of sentences cuts because there have already been more than 20 corruption convicts whose sentences have been "discounted" at the judicial review level.

This number could grow longer because there are currently a number of corruption convicts who are in the process of submitting judicial reviews, including among others former Justice and Prosperity Party (PKS) President Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq and former Banten Governor Ratu Atut Choisiyah.

"I think then that here we should indeed be asking what's going on at the Supreme Court, I think this trend should be of concern to the public, give rise to question marks", said Rohman.

Aside from the trend of cutting sentences, he also highlighted a Supreme Court case review decision which reduced the sentence of graft convict Fahmi Darmawansyah in a bribery case involving former Sukamiskin prison warden Wahid Husein. The court determined that the gift of a luxury car was philanthropy and unrelated to special treatment afforded to Darmawansyah.

According to Rohman, this ruling has raises questions among the public about the Supreme Court's commitment to eradicate corruption.

He is also urging the Supreme Court Supervisory Board and the Judicial Commission to pay special attention to the judicial reviews being handled by the Supreme Court.

"To ensure that the rulings handed down in judicial reviews which show leniency towards corruption convicts are free from any kind of intervention which could be construed as ethical or legal violations", he said.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Tren Pemotongan Hukuman oleh MA Dinilai Membuat Koruptor Tak Takut Korupsi".]