Tuesday, 4 August 2009

89 Rogue Supreme Court Officials Punished For Misconduct

Personal note: This gives you a flavour of the scale of corruption in Indonesia.


August 04, 2009

Nivell Rayda

The Supreme Court took action against 89 rogue officials for misconduct in the last six months in an effort to eradicate judicial corruption in one of the country’s most graft ridden institutions, a Supreme Court judge said on Tuesday.

During a discussion held by the Judicial Commission, Judge Artidjo Alkostar added that a total of 45 judges had been disciplined and 21 were fired between January and June this year.

“Those who were fired were suspected of taking bribes from one of the disputing parties,” Artidjo said. “Those who were cautioned or received administrative sanctions mainly breached the code of conduct by interacting with one of the disputing parties and discussing their respective cases.”

This year, the court also dismissed 44 court clerks and staffers, the judge said, for various offenses including leaking court documents and illicitly releasing confiscated goods.

The figure for 2009 is already close to the number of rogue officials disciplined by the court during all of last year, when the court sanctioned 91 officials, 38 of whom were judges.

The court data confirms long standing allegations of corruption inside the country’s judiciary system. In a 2008 study by Transparency International Indonesia, 30 percent of respondents admitted to having paid bribes to court officials and judges.

“We are reforming ourselves, by having no tolerance against misconducts,” Artidjo said. “That’s why we see an influx of officials
sanctioned for their illegal actions.”

The judge said that the court is minimizing direct contact with disputed parties by setting up electronic systems. “In the future
there won’t be any more brokers in court,” he said.

Busyro Muqoddas, a member of the Judicial Commission, said that there should be transparency in the court.

“Civil society shall become the most effective external watchdog,” Busyro said. “Everyone should be able to access court decisions, indictments and records, including the court’s financial statements.”

Chairman of Transparency International Indonesia, Todung Mulya Lubis, who is also a prominent lawyer, said that with the rampant corruption practices in the courtrooms, people have lost their faith to the judiciary system.

“The court must make a landmark decision, one that benefits the greater good of the people,” Lubis said. “Only then will people trust
and respect the court.”