Ruling on remissions for corruption convicts shows court has no sense of crisis: ICW

Source – October 6, 2021
Indonesian Corruption Watch researcher Kurnia Ramadhana - Undated (Detik)

Tatang Guritno, Jakarta – Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW) researcher Kurnia Ramadhana says that the Constitutional Court's (MK) ruling which declared that all convicted prisoners have the same right to receive remissions, including corruptors, shows that law enforcement officials no longer have a sense of crisis over corruption in the country.

"Corrupt practices are still rampant and are the main obstacle to social prosperity", said Ramadhana in a press release on Wednesday October 6.

According to Ramadhana, the Constitutional Court also failed to understand that corruption is an extraordinary crime which requires special treatment in order to create a deterrent effect.

"If all convicted prisoners without exception can easily get remission, does this not represent a view which sees all crimes as the same?", he asked.

"Yet previous MK rulings have explicitly endorsed limitations on the right to receive remissions for perpetrators of special crimes such as corruption", said Ramadhana.

In its ruling, the Constitutional Court asserted that the authority to give remissions lies fully with the correctional institution (prison) without intervention by other agencies.

With this ruling, Government Regulation Number 99/2012 on the Regulations and Rights of Penitentiary Inmates becomes less relevant.

This is because under Article 34A Paragraphs (1) and (3) of the regulation it states that those convicted of special crimes such as terrorism, narcotics and corruption can only receive remissions if they are given the status of a justice collaborator.

The justice collaborator status can be given by law enforcement agencies such as the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), the Indonesian police, the Attorney General and the National Narcotics Agency (BNN).

Furthermore, Ramadhana said that the court's grounds for the decision which linked the ruling to the problem of overcrowding in Indonesian prisons is flawed.

"Because based on data for 2020, corruption convicts total only 0.7 percent of the total inmate population", he said.

Related to the overcapacity of prisons due to narcotics convicts, Ramadhana said that the main factor for overcrowding is the narcotics law and its implementation by law enforcement officials.

"It's not a problem of giving remissions", he said.

As has been reported, lawyer and corruption convict OC Kaligis submitted a juridical review of Article 14 Paragraph 1(i) of Law Number 12/1995 on Correctional Institutions.

He submitted the judicial review because after serving six years of his sentence he never received a remission or sentence reduction as a consequence of the stipulations of the 2012 government regulation.

The Constitutional court rejected Kaligis' judicial review on the grounds that the problem he was facing was not about constitutional norms but the staged implementation of norms.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "ICW Sebut Putusan MK tentang Remisi Tunjukkan Ketiadaan Sense of Crisis Penegak Hukum".]