National

House throws spanner at
Corruption Court bill

The House of Representatives has played down the importance of an independent Corruption Court, stating it was “not urgent” to protect it with a government regulation in lieu of law.

“There is no need for the government to issue such a regulation, because there is no urgency at all,” chairwoman of the House’ special committee for the Corruption Court bill, Dewi Asmara (of the Golkar Party), told a press conference on Thursday.

“State institutions such as the National Police and the Attorney General’s Office have enough authority to investigate graft cases already.”

She said it was essential for the government to utilize those institutions for what they were intended to do. There is no need for a regulation.

“Even if the government decides to issue a regulation, the House may not ratify it,” Dewi said.

The Constitutional Court ruled in 2006 that the Corruption Court violated the 1945 Constitution because it was established under the 2002 law on the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), instead of the law on judicial powers.

The Constitutional Court then ruled that a new law on the Corruption Court must be enacted by December 2009 or the Corruption Court would lose its legal standing. If this were to occur, the Corruption Court would be dissolved and forced to hand over cases under its investigation to district courts.

The Corruption Court bill is on the House’s priority list, and has been targeted for endorsement by September. However, the House will begin its recess period on July 3 and resume activities on Aug. 14.

Transparency International Indonesia (TII) chairman Todung Mulya Lubis told The Jakarta Post he doubted the House would be able to pass the bill into law in such a tight time frame.

“The fate of the Corruption Court is hanging on a really thin thread. With such a tight time frame, it is very important for the government to issue a regulation in lieu of law on the bill, as soon as possible,” Todung said.

“I also believe the House does not have enough political will to pass the bill into law.”

However, Dewi said the House had no intention whatsoever to delay the passage of the bill, and that the committee was being “cautious” rather than “slow”.

Separately, former KPK deputy chairman Amien Sunaryadi told a discussion held by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), titled The future of the KPK, that Indonesians had a tendency to destroy what they had already established.

“That is why I’m not surprised to see the current situation, even though the commission has been able to do a lot of great things,” he said.

There were two options for Indonesia in terms of corruption eradication; either it fights to end corrupt practices or becomes a donkey, he said. (hdt)

Actions that Could UNDERMINE corruption Eradication efforts

- Excluding identified strong measures in corruption related bills.
- Establishing legislation with weaker measures than those in the bill, because of excessive vested interests.
- Ignoring bills required to institutionalize operations that have proven successful.
- Changing clauses in regulations that have shown strong results.
- Undermining successful authorities.

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