Supreme Court justice says Sudjiono's acquittal is illegal
Hans Nicholas Jong
The Jakarta Post
The Supreme Court's decision to acquit graft fugitive Sudjiono Timan of all charges by granting his case review is being challenged by one of the court's justices, who claimed the controversial ruling violated the Criminal Code Procedures (KUHAP) and therefore should be considered legally void.
Supreme judge Gayus Lumbuun said on Friday that the case review should have never existed in the first place. 'Every court verdict that violates formal law due to judges' recklessness, should be declared null in accordance with the KUHAP,' he said in a statement released on Friday.
Gayus said the case review had violated the law as it was submitted by Sudjiono's wife.
Besides that, the case review also did not take into account Supreme Court Law No.1/2012 on case reviews.
'Law enforcement in this country should take into account existing law instruments, in accordance with the mandate contained in the KUHAP,' he said.
'The KUHAP clearly states the court's verdict can be considered void if it doesn't conform to the formal criminalization criteria.'
Former supreme judge Asep Iwan Iriawan, meanwhile, said the Supreme Court should swallow its own pride by admitting it had made a mistake in exonerating Sudjiono.
He also called on the court to evaluate the ruling as well as punish the panel of judges who issued the decision. 'Verdicts that do not conform to the KUHAP are very few,' Asep said.
Sudjiono, the former president director of state-owned company PT Bahana Pembinaan Usaha Indonesia (BPUI), fled the country after he was convicted of graft and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was found guilty of disbursing billions of rupiah to several questionable debtors before the financial crisis hit the nation in the late 1990s, causing billions of rupiah in state losses.
The case review panel said Sudjiono's case was a civil case, as the money he disbursed was a loan. Therefore, the panel argued, what Sudjiono did could not be seen as a crime.
The ruling is in line with the verdict issued by the South Jakarta District Court in 2002 that said Sudjiono did not breach any regulations despite the state's losses.
The case review panel consisted of justices Suhadi, Andi Samsan Nganro, Sophian Marthabaya and two other ad hoc judges, Sri Murwahyuni and Abdul Latief.
Attorney General Barief Arief, meanwhile, recently said the Attorney General's Office (AGO) would wait for the result of the Supreme Court and the Judicial Commission's investigation into the panel of judges' decision to exonerate Sudjiono.
'Whether there is a procedural mistake or not, we will wait for the Supreme Court and Judicial Commission's decision, including the legal steps we will take on the matter,' he said.
The case had drawn criticism from anti-corruption activists, who said Sudjiono's acquittal was a blow to the country's attempt to combat corruption.
Emerson Yuntho of the watchdog Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) questioned the Supreme Court's commitment to eradicating corruption.
'Many corrupt individuals will follow Sudjiono's move, flee the country and seek a case review in absentia,' he said.
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