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Graft court faces problems
finding judges

The 40 candidates for the position of ad hoc graft judges lack integrity, with some of them having been involved in alleged bribery and adultery.

A selection panel set up by the Supreme Court wrapped up its interviewing process of the candidates on Wednesday. They are now expected to sit, along with local career judges, in high and lower graft courts.

The Judicial Commission, which monitored the selection process, issued a recommendation on Wednesday urging the Supreme Court and the selection panel to scrutinize 30 candidates on allegations that they have accepted bribes, gifts and gratuity, abusing their authority, committing adultery and other misconduct.

A coalition of non-governmental organizations, consisting of the Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW), the Indonesian Legal Roundtable (ILR) and the Indonesian Judicial Watch Society (MAPPI) at the University of Indonesia — which also monitors the selection process — found that 18 candidates lack the integrity to serve as judges in graft courts.

The coalition found that seven candidates were affiliated with political parties, four others once served as lawyers for graft defendants and have their names mentioned in graft indictments or dossiers. The NGOs found that the candidates also failed in technicalities, including falling short of meeting the basic requirement of 15 years of legal experience as stipulated in the Graft Tribunal Law.

The Supreme Court provides no details about the candidates data but the NGO coalition found that 24 candidates are lawyers, eight scholars, four civil servants, three active members of the Indonesian Military and a former member of the National Police.

The coalition also called on the Supreme Court to halt the selection process until the government conducted a thorough evaluation of the corruption tribunal system initiated, following the arrest of five ad hoc judges for receiving bribes.

The ad hoc judges are Setyabudi Tejocahyono, Kartini Marpaung and Heru Kusbandono, who are now serving their jail terms, while the other two, Pragsono and Asmadinata, have been named suspects by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

Data from the ICW shows that as of Aug. 20, at least 89 graft defendants prosecuted by the KPK or local prosecutor offices have been acquitted by the corruption tribunals across the country since the enactment of the 2009 Corruption Court Law.

The 2009 law gives the Supreme Court two years to set up corruption tribunals in the region in addition to the one established in Jakarta in 2004.

Deputy chairman of the selection panel MA Justice Suhadi said that the 10-member panel would take the recommendation from the Judicial Commission and the NGO coalition into consideration.

Chairman of Judicial Commission Suparman Marzuki urged the panel to fail the 30 candidates.

Currently, the graft tribunal system is experiencing a shortage of judges, and the ongoing selection process is expected to recruit 244 ad hoc judges in 33 lower courts and 30 high courts nationwide.

“We even have high courts with only one ad hoc graft judge,” Suhadi said.

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