Law enforcement in Jokowi's era 'worst ever' say activists, academics

CNN Indonesia – May 31,
Activists and academics gather at YLBHI in Jakarta – May 31, 2023 (CNN)

Jakarta – A number of activists and academics that are members of the Civil Society Coalition gathered at the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) headquarters in Central Jakarta on Wednesday May 31.

During the gathering they discussed a number views and studies related to the problems facing Indonesia.

University of Indonesia (UI) Faculty of Law criminal law expert Gandjar Laksmana Bondan said that law enforcement in the country has entered its worst period ever and what is happening at the moment is not okay.

"In the context of law enforcement I think this way, my opinion is personal, I could be wrong but other people are also not necessarily right. This is a period where in my opinion law enforcement is the worst it has been in the 52 years that I have lived, in the 27 years my experience of teaching at the University of Indonesia", Bondan said during a press conference held by the Coalition at the YLBHI building with the theme "Reject the Murder of Democracy and Anti-Corruption".

He also cited the proverb Fiat justitia ruat caelum, which means "Let justice be done though the heavens fall".

"Sisters and brothers, the heavens are still standing, but the law has collapsed. That's what is happening now", said Bondan.

A number of figures were present at the press conference including former Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) leaders, academics and non-government organisation (NGO) activists.

One of them highlighted the recent Constitutional Court's (MK) decision to extend the term in office for the current KPK leadership, from four to five years.

In addition to this they also highlighted the defamation case filed by Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan against human rights activists Haris Azhar and Fatia Maulidiyanti.

With regard to the latest Constitutional Court ruling to extend the terms in office of KPK Chairperson Firli Bahuri and his colleagues, Bondan commented with a satirical remark.

"I have already proposed not just to extend their term in office from four to five years, but an extension of a [full] term. Selected for one but get two terms at the same time. Crazy shouldn't be half-hearted. The damage shouldn't be half-hearted", said Bondan.

Former KPK senior investigator Novel Baswedan meanwhile said that the Constitutional Court's decision to extend the KPK leadership's term to five years feels odd, especially since it was implemented before their term ended.

Baswedan stated that there is a good possibility that potential corruption is behind this strange decision or policy.

"Usually with such irregularities there is the potential for corruption, we would hope that the MK judges will safeguard the constitution. [But] we are instead worried about this decision", said Baswedan.

Baswedan, who is now working as a civil servant with the national police, admitted to being worried that the corruption eradication agenda will not run as it should. This can be seen from the KPK's performance under Bahuri and his colleagues, which has lacked achievements but been full of controversy.

"We all hope that the eradication of corruption will run properly, objectively, sustainably and of course comprehensively, but what we've seen lately is there are a lot of problems", he said.

End counter attacks

The Coalition is therefore urging the KPK and the Constructional Court to stop doing things that injure the spirit of the reform movement that gave birth to the two institutions in the first place.

"Institutions that are a result of reformasi, including the Constitutional Court and the KPK, must stop all counter attacks against reformasi that kill democracy and corruption eradication", said the Coalition.

Furthermore, the Coalition is also urging President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to intervene to deal with the chaos in the KPK and the Constitutional Court. "The President must take decisive steps to show his commitment to the values of reformasi in democracy and anti-corruption", they said.

They also urged Widodo to stop meddling in matters related to presidential and vice-presidential candidates in the 2024 elections and start reigning in law enforcement officials who are being used as political tools for certain interests.

"This commitment can be demonstrated by being neutral in the elections, stop all actions that have the potential to turn law enforcement officials, the national police, the prosecutor's office and the KPK into political truncheons, and stop all efforts to intervene, both directly and indirectly in the judiciary", they continued.

In addition to this, they also called for the defamation case against Azhar and Maulidiyanti to be halted. (mab/DAL)

[Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski based on two articles by CNN Indonesia on May 31. The original title of the lead article was "Akademisi dan Aktivis Kritik Hukum era Jokowi: Ini Periode Terburuk".]