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Indonesia: Corruption Court Bill in Deliberations

(Dec. 17, 2008) Indonesia's Corruption Court was established under a law promulgated in 2002; that law was ruled unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court in 2006. Since December 2006, work has been underway on a new bill for the Corruption Court. (House Vows to Uphold Graft Courts, THE JAKARTA POST, Nov. 26, 2008, available at

Deliberations on the new law have run into difficulties, with lawmakers working to reach agreement on various aspects of the legislation. The Constitutional Court has stated that the new law must be completed by December 19, 2009; if it is not enacted by that date, corruption cases currently before the special court would be dismissed. Trials would then have to be transferred to district courts. (Corruption Court Bill Deliberation Hits Snag, THE JAKARTA POST, Dec. 15, 2008, available at

The disagreements between lawmakers are over the terms of the bill, with many different ideas having been proposed. Gayus Lumbuun, a legislator from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, has said that the negotiations are not very advanced. “We are still discussing the bill and various problems that have arisen, with legal experts and the Corruption Eradication Commission. The actual conditions and specifics of the draft law have hardly even been discussed yet.” (Dec. 14, 2008, statement, quoted in id.)

Lumbuun has suggested that since the deadline is only a year away, it might be preferable to have some technical issues handled in government decrees, rather in than in the law itself. “Certain articles, such as those involving the selection judges [sic], pre-trials and the proposed integration of the Corruption Court with district courts, can be regulated by governmental decrees. This would allow us to simplify the law and catch up on the deadline.” (Id.)

Others have also raised concerns about whether the legislation can be completed by the deadline, especially given that legislative elections are scheduled for April 2009. Indonesia Corruption Watch coordinator Emerson Yuntho has said, “[i]f lawmakers cannot pass the law by the end of this year, the chances of action being taken next year, with the distractions and tight schedules of the election campaign, is [sic] even less likely.” He advocates including all the technical issues in the bill, which could be worked on by a small special legislative committee. (Id.)