National

Scene: Court to examine
KPK-Police standoff

Jakarta: The Constitutional Court is preparing to review whether or not the 2002 Law on the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) contravenes the Constitution.

The court is making the move after one of the law’s articles was deemed unclear, triggering a tense standoff between the antigraft body and the police.

“The court has received requests from petitioners who want us to review whether the KPK Law is contrary to the Constitution. The hearings will commence soon,” Supreme Court chief justice Mahfud MD said over the weekend.

Two lawyers, Farhat Abbas and Habiburokhman, filed requests with the court to challenge an article in the 2002 law that they considered was not in line with the 1945 Constitution.

Mahfud said the court would first examine the two requests in panel hearings before all nine court justices conducted plenary hearings. “We will study the requests first and determine the legal standing of the plaintiffs,” Mahfud said, adding that the court might reject the cases in the panel hearings.

The first panel hearing will take place on Thursday.

Both Farhat and Habiburokhman agree that Article 50 of the KPK Law is vague, but the two have different arguments.

The article in question stipulates that the police and the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) cannot probe a corruption case which is under KPK investigation.

While Farhat has suggested that the article be scrapped, Habiburokhman said he wanted the court to issue a ruling to clarify the article and strengthen the KPK’s power.

Disputes concerning the article began to intensify after the KPK named two police generals suspects in a high-profile corruption case linked to the procurement of driving simulators at the National Police Traffic Corps.

Despite the disputed article, the police have defied calls that the investigation be solely handled by the KPK and forcibly took over part of the antigraft body’s probe into the case. This in turn was met with accusations that the police aimed to downplay the graft and protect several senior police officers.

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