Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Controversial judges get promoted to new posts

Controversial judges get promoted to new posts

Apriadi Gunawan, The Jakarta Post, Medan January 15, 2008

The Supreme Court has promoted deputy chief justice of the Medan District Court Robinson Tarigan to head of the East Jakarta District Court.

Robinson was a member of the panel of judges who pardoned illegal logging suspect Adelin Lis three months ago.

The promotion was not widely publicized and his name was missing from the list of judges working at the Medan District Court.

Robinson's promotion would likely be followed by the presiding judge in the trial case, Arwan Byrin, currently chief of the Medan District Court.

Reports also suggest Arwan would be promoted to justice head in Palembang, South Sumatra, at the end of the month.

Medan District Court spokesman Jarasmen Purba said Monday Robinson had been transferred from Medan to Jakarta for nearly a month, adding the Supreme Court had yet to appoint Robinson's replacement.

"His position has been vacant for nearly a month," Jarasmen said.
"We don't know who his replacement will be. It's for the Supreme Court to decide," he told The Jakarta Post.

Asked whether or not Robinson's promotion was related to Adelin's acquittal, Jarasmen said he was not authorized to answer the question.

"The Supreme Court has appointed Sunaryo to replace Arwan at the Medan District Court," Jarasmen said.

"He is still deputy chief of the Jambi District Court. The transfer of duty ceremony may likely be conducted at the end of the month."

Members of the panel of judges who heard Adelin's trial and who have been reportedly promoted include Arwan Byrin, Robinson Tarigan, Dolman Sinaga and Jarasmen Purba.
The only panel member who did receive a promotion is Ahmad Semma.

Asked about his views over the matter and reports around his appointment as the Surabaya District Court deputy chief, Jarasmen said the matter was under the full authority of the Supreme Court.

"It's the Supreme Court's domain," Jarasmen said.
"So far, I have not received any signs indicating I would be appointed as the deputy chief of the Surabaya District Court."

Law practitioner Ikhwaluddin Simatupang, also director of the Medan Legal Aid Institute, said he regretted the Supreme Court's decision to promote judges involved in Adelin's case.
Ikhwaluddin said the promotion was like a gift to judges who had been able to acquit Adelin from being convicted.

"The inconspicuous promotion is contradictory to the measures taken by the prosecutor's office by punishing a number of prosecutors who were proven guilty of mishandling the case," Ikhwaluddin told the Post on Monday.

The Attorney General's Office recently demoted the ranks and salaries of three prosecutors handling Adelin's case.

They were former head of the North Sumatra Prosecutor's Office Teuku Zakaria and former special crimes assistants Sultan Bagindo Fahmi and Mochtar Hasan.
They were responsible for committing severe disciplinary violations.