The Jakarta Post
Child molesters have recently caused growing fear in the community, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo says, and in response the State Palace has issued a regulation in lieu of law, and thus immediately effective, creating a special legal umbrella that allows new controversial punishments for the sake of child protection.
Among the punishments is the chemical castration of convicted child rapists.
Under the new regulation, which strengthens Law No. 23/2002 on child protection, judges can order that convicted rapists’ bodies be implanted with an electronic microchip to allow law enforcement agencies to monitor their movements in society after serving their prison time.
Another controversial provision in the regulation is for the widened application of another punishment long rejected by activists: The use of the death penalty to punish child rapists.
“Extraordinary crimes need to be handled in extraordinary ways,” said the President after signing the fast-tracked regulation, adding that the government had declared sexual crime against children an extraordinary crime due to its severe damaging impact on children’s personalities and childhoods.
The regulation is in apparent compliance with the public’s demand for the harshest of punishments for rapists following the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl in Bengkulu last month, as well as gang rapes in Gorontalo, North Sulawesi and Tangerang.
Other changes to child sex offender punishments provided by the regulation are the expanded application of life sentences, a possible onethird additional time behind bars and an increase in the minimum prison sentence to 10 years, from three years previously.
In addition, Jokowi announced that judges could henceforth order as part of their sentence the public identification of convicted rapists without this being deemed a violation of privacy.
“The addition of new articles [to Law No. 23/2002] will give judges the confidence to punish as heavily as possible perpetrators of sexual crimes against children. It is hoped that the new regulation can provide a deterrent effect for potential violators so that the number of sexual crimes against children decreases,” Jokowi said.
The new regulation will not impact on earlier lenient verdicts handed down for rapists, said Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly, but rather ensure that no lenient verdicts are handed down for rapists in the future.
“The new regulation is active as of today. The government will send it to the House of Representatives to be approved so that it can be passed into law,” Yasona said, adding that underage rapists would not be affected by the new law because they were instead subject to the Child Criminal Justice System Law No. 11/2012.
Yasona added that the new law specifically targeted recidivists, gang rapists and pedophiles. “[Rapists] can now [potentially] receive both chemical castration and microchip implantation,” he said, adding that a fine of Rp 5 billion was also on the table.
A child rapist, according to the regulation, is a person who deceives and coaxes children into having sex with themselves or others.
The additional one-third prison time on top of the maximum punishment set under the new regulation is applicable to rapists who are their child victim’s parent, family member, guardian, teacher or child protection official; rapists who are with other people also raping a child; and recidivist rapists.
Meanwhile, rapists whose offences cause trauma, mental disorders, sexual diseases, sexual dysfunction or death, as well as rapists of more than one child victim, will receive either the death sentence, a life sentence or a 10- to 20- year prison term, as well as the possibility of chemical castration and microchip implantation.
The regulation stipulates that rapists who are chemically castrated must be put into a rehabilitation program administered and monitored by relevant institutions including the Law and Human Rights Ministry.
House Legislative Body (Baleg) deputy chairman Firman Subagyo said the House would approve the new regulation issued by the State Palace.
“We hope that it will not only cover child protection, but will also protect women,” Firman said, adding that there was no reason for the House not to pass the regulation into law, citing the increasing number of child rapes that the country had faced in the past month.
The House could even suggest extra stipulations, Firman continued, to provide more deterrents for rapists should the regulation made by the State Palace be deemed not to provide enough protection for children and women.
Meanwhile, executive director of the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) Supriyadi Widodo Eddyono said activists agreed to harsher punishments for rapists but that his organization rejected new provisions for the use of chemical castration and the death penalty for rapists due to human rights considerations.
“We will carefully study all stipulations in the regulation [and then comment further],” Supriyadi said.
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