The Jakarta Post
Anti-graft watchdog Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) and the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute Foundation (YLBHI) are calling on President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo to tackle ongoing attempts to weaken the Judicial Commission (KY) by stopping legal attacks on two KY commissioners.
'The President should lend a hand so that the systematic weakening of the KY can be stopped. The Constitutional Court should also reject a judicial review request concerning the KY's authority,' said the ICW and the YLBHI in a joint press statement in Jakarta on Monday as quoted by Antara.
The two NGOs said that currently, there had been a systematic attempt to weaken the KY. One example they gave of this was the disregard given to the KY's recommendation that the government impose sanctions on Judge Sarpin Rizaldi, who granted a pre-trial hearing request filed by Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan against the Corruption Eradication Commission's (KPK) decision to name him as a graft suspect.
'There have been delays of the judge recruitment processes, which should have involved the KY. There have also been attempts by several parties to undermine the commission's authority by filing judicial review requests [against KY authorities] with the Constitutional Court and letting the commission's leaders be painted as criminals,' said the groups.
In fact, they added, KY authorities being involved in the recruitment process of judges was made mandatory during Indonesia's reformation and could not be negotiated as it was the main thing guaranteeing a selection process that was accountable, clean and professional, and able to produce qualified judges that had integrity.
Citing Supreme Court data, the ICW and the YLBHI said 117 judges had been imposed with disciplinary sanctions. Those 117 judges account for 56 percent of all Indonesian court employees that have been dealt disciplinary sanctions.
The ICW recorded that at least five judges and a former Constitutional Court chief justice were involved in corruption cases. This figure did not include the three judges of the Medan State Administrative Court (PTUN) recently arrested by the KPK over an alleged graft case.
Therefore, the ICW and the YLBHI said, the public must stay vigilant against any systematic effort to weaken, or even abolish, the KY. Indonesian judicial institutions ' which were not yet clean, transparent, and accountable and still lacked integrity ' were still dependent on the existence of the KY, they said.
'Measures needed now are not the weakening or abolition of the KY but instead, the strengthening of the KY by giving it the authority to more closely supervise judges all across Indonesia,' the groups said. (ebf)(++++)
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