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Jakarta Post

Court goes online during pandemic. Technical glitches now risk fair trial

  • Marchio Irfan Gorbiano

    The Jakarta Post

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Jakarta   /   Fri, February 19, 2021   /  11:27 am
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A judge speaks during a virtual hearing against former Central Lampung regent Mustafa at the Tanjungkarang Corruption Court in Bandar Lampung, Lampung on Jan. 18. During the hearing, prosecutors read an indictment letter against Mustafa for alleged bribery pertaining to goods and service procurement projects in the regency.(Antara/Ardiansyah)

The Supreme Court has adopted a virtual trial system to help the country’s highest court handle more cases amid the pandemic and enact judicial reform quicker than planned, but recurrent technical glitches have called into question its ability to deliver justice. The Supreme Court has allowed for all lower and appellate court hearings to be held via Zoom since April last year, roughly a month after the country detected its first COVID-19 patients. The court signed an agreement with the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) and the Law and Human Rights Ministry, allowing the trial of criminal cases to be held online. It issued Supreme Court Regulation No. 4/2020 in September 2020 to serve as a legal basis for online trials for criminal cases. According to the 2020 regulation, judges and prosecutors are allowed to be physically present in the courtroom during the trial of a ...