The Jakarta Post
A House of Representatives committee tasked with deliberating the revision of the judicial commission law said Thursday it would provide the commission with the authority to wiretap judges as part of the effort to cleanse the judiciary of corruption.
“We have agreed [through the revised law] to equip the Judicial Commission with a wiretapping authority,” committee head Dimyati Natakusuma stated.
“The commission will be obliged, however, to cooperate with other institutions such as the National Police and the Corruption Eradication Commission [KPK] in using that authority,” he added.
The lawmakers are scheduled to begin deliberating the revision of the law in the next seating session in July.
The hearing will involve government officials, academics and civil society groups.
Dimyati said the committee was also ready to empower the commission by giving it the authority to fine judges who failed to answer the commission’s summons and requests.
“The bottom line is that we need to boost the commission’s dignity,” he added.
The existing judicial commission law, critics said, was not supportive of the commission’s crucial task of monitoring judges throughout the country.
The law, for example, does not specify mechanism procedures that the commission members have authority to use to gather information on judges suspected of illegal practice.
Commission member Soekotjo Soeparto said the wiretapping authority would enable the commission to more thoroughly investigate before summoning the judges.
“It would enable us to seek more valuable information and evidence when we conduct investigations,” he said, adding that cooperation with other law enforcers in conducting the wiretapping was necessary.
“It would be too costly to purchase wiretapping technology ourselves,” he said.
Soekotjo acknowledged the sensitive situation regarding handing the authority to the commission to oblige judges to answer their summons.
“We are in a delicate situation regarding this particular subject.
As a judicial watchdog, we want everyone to answer our calls. But we also must realize that we do not have the authority to force people to be questioned. We are not law enforcers.”
Hasril Hertanto of the University of Indonesia criticized the House’s plan to grant the commission’s request to acquire authority to wiretap, saying that it was not a law enforcing institution.
Another analyst, Eryanto Nugroho from the Law and Policy Studies Center ( PSHK ) concurred with Hasril, saying that the commission was primarily a regulatory body and was not tasked as a crime investigator.