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Jakarta Post

Constitutional Court scraps controversial House immunity

  • Marguerite Afra Sapiie
    Marguerite Afra Sapiie

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, June 29, 2018   /   09:11 am
Constitutional Court scraps controversial House immunity Democracy under threat: Demonstrators protest at the Constitutional Court in Jakarta against the implementation of the Legislative Insitutions ( MD3 ) Law on Wednesday. The protesters claimed the law undermined democracy. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

The Constitutional Court ruled unanimously on Thursday to scrap a number of controversial articles in the 2018 Legislative Institutions ( MD3 ) Law that were believed to have given House of Representatives lawmakers legal immunity from criminal investigation and public criticism.

In its ruling, the nine-justice panel annulled Article 122, which could have been used by the House to criminalize critics. The bench also scrapped a requirement for law enforcers to secure consent from the House's ethics council before launching an investigation into lawmakers, initially stipulated in Article 245.

"The ethics council is not meant to act as the House's shield," Justice Saldi Isra said, while reading out the ruling on Thursday.

The bench, however, decided to maintain the condition that law enforcement authorities would need consent from the president before summoning lawmakers in a criminal investigation. The court said such a requirement was needed to provide proportional protection for lawmakers in carrying out their duties.

The controversial law was enacted in February, immediately inviting condemnation aimed at the legislative body, as well as President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's administration for allowing the law to be passed. (ipa)