ICJR’s Commentary on the 2019-2024 Presidential Candidates Campaign Regarding Criminal Policy Reform in Indonesia

September 2018 marks the beginning of Indonesian Presidential Campaign of 2019 Election. With duo presidents and vice presidents competing, both parties are competing to promote their best vision and mission to win people’s votes. Looking at their vision and mission, Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) notes that there are many problems that are unaccounted for.

Presidential Candidate Number 01 – Joko Widodo and K.H. Maaruf Amin

In terms of law enforcement, presidential candidate pair number 01, Joko Widodo and K.H. Maaruf Amin revealed five main things that they would do in their administration of 2019-2024 if they were elected, namely to reorganize the regulations, reforming the system and process of law enforcement, preventing and eradicating corruption, respect, protection and fulfillment of human rights, and developing a culture of legal awareness.

When comparing with the vision and mission campaigned by Joko Widodo in his 2014 presidential election, there are several important issues which are disappeared in the current vision and mission.

First, in the 2014 vision and mission, Joko Widodo made a commitment to prioritize the handling of sexual violence cases, especially those that involved women and children. However, in the 2019 vision and mission, this does not appear to be a concern. The National Commission on Violence Against Women’s annual report of 2018 shows the number of violence against women cases reported and dealt in 2017 had reached 335.062. This number increased increasing when comparing to the 2014 Annual Report that shows in 2013 the number of violence against women cases was 279.688. This means that in the situation where violence against women and children cases is increasing, this problem should not be ignored and not become a priority if Jokowi is re-elected for the second period. As of today, 2018 has many cases of criminalization of women sexual violence victims, one of them was the case of the Jambi girl.

Second, the problem of overcrowding in the correctional institutions. ICJR highly appreciates the special attention given by candidate pair number 1 about the problem of Overcrowding, which has become a chronic problem in Indonesian penal system. Unfortunately, when compared with the vision and mission that Jokowi carried out in 2014, the focus on solving this Overcrowding problem is actually shifted in 2019. In the 2014 vision and mission, Jokowi stated that to overcome Overcrowding, he would develop alternative punishments. However, in 2019 vision and mission, the focus targeted was only on the problem of prison reform. In fact, the problem of Overcrowding is actually not only a problem that comes from the detention or correctional institutions alone but also comes from Indonesia’s criminal justice system that tends to be punitive and prioritize imprisonment. In the Draft Bill of Penal Code, which is currently being discussed in the Parliament, the number of alternative non-imprisonment punishments is still very minimal and this condition is exacerbated by the strict conditions to impose this kind of punishment, makes it hard to be implemented. Prison reform alone will not be able to solve this problem if there are no alternative non-imprisonment punishments that will actually reduce the number of population in correctional institutions.

Third, regarding narcotics issues. In the candidate’s program plan, president and vice president candidate number 01 said it would continue the eradication of narcotics and psychotropic drugs program to protect the younger generation. Narcotics and psychotropics drugs are not something that should be eradicated, because both are actually allowed to be used in certain corridors that have been determined in the legislation. However, it is the illicit trafficking of narcotics and psychotropic drugs that should be eradicated. In carrying out this program, candidate number 01 must be careful and not only prioritize the punitive approach in overcoming narcotics and psychotropic problems, which has been done by the Government. The result is resulting in causing new problems and does not solve the real problems. To solve the problem of illicit drug trafficking, a public health approach to the drug users is needed, which will have an impact on the decline of users and demands in order to break the chain of illicit drug trafficking.

Fourth, concerning criminal law and criminal procedure law reform. Candidate Number 01 specifically makes a follow-up program on criminal law and criminal procedural law reform to ensure that the law enforcement runs efficiently, humanely, impartial, and guarantees effective control of law enforcement. The Draft Bill of Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code are two instruments that become the objective for the implementation of this program in the future. This program needs to be carried out carefully and gradually, and it needs to involve various parties in the parliament for the discussion, not only criminal law experts. In the current discussion for the Draft Bill of Penal Code, there are still many problems that must be considered, some of them are the imposition of death penalty that violates the right to life and also some articles that limit freedom of opinion and freedom of expression which are clearly guaranteed in the 1945 Constitution.

Presidential Candidate Number 02 – Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno

Presidential candidate number 02 is Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno as his vice. This pair is focusing their campaign program on the political, legal and defense pillars of 7 (seven) issues: democracy, national defense and security, law enforcement, bureaucratic reform, prevention of corrupt practices in bureaucracy, the realization of free and active foreign policy, and development of maritime sovereignty. Of this presidential candidate’s vision and mission, some things that need to be noted are:

Firstly, presidential candidate number 02’s vision and mission have fewer action programs that are directly related to law enforcement, especially criminal justice. One action program that is directly related to the enforcement of criminal law is to strengthen the regulations for perpetrators of corruption, narcotics and psychotropic, and trafficking in persons. As a matter of fact, the problem of criminal justice in Indonesia is clearly broader than just about eradicating the criminal act. Prison overcrowding and also extra-judicial killing, for example, need a spotlight. This then raises the question of how much commitment the candidate pair has given to criminal justice reform, which is one of the most important issues that urgently need attention from the government in the next 5 (five) years.

Second, the vision and mission highlight the issue of terrorism as a concern. To strengthen synergy between Indonesian National Armed Forces and National Police in preventing and overcoming acts of terrorism is one of the action programs that will be carried out. However, no action program can be found relating to the guarantee of protection of victims of terrorism. The extra-judicial killing problem against suspected terrorists is also not a concern. Former National Police Chief, Bambang Hendarso Danuri, said that in the past 10 years there are as many as 44 terrorist suspects who had been shot dead. This, of course, should be of concern to the government. Extra-judicial killing is a serious violation of criminal procedural law because people suspected of being involved in a crime have the right to be tried in a fair trial.

Third, the problem of corruption. Corruption is being mentioned a lot of times in the action programs. During Prabowo’s presidential campaign in 2014, prevention and eradication of corruption are one of his priority programs. One of the corruption cases that has taken the public’s attention now is bribery in detention centers and correctional institutions. The candidate pair number 02 actually fails to see the answer to the problem of corruption if it only prioritizes to eradicate the perpetrators. The main problem of corruption, particularly corruption in detention and correctional institutions, is rooted in ‘Commodification Culture’ that arises due to the inability of the Government to provide minimum standards of the inmates needs as stipulated in the legislation. The failure to fulfill the minimum standards itself arises from the problem of prison overcrowding which also arising from punitive policies in Indonesian legislation.

Fourth, the presidential candidate pair number 02 in their action programs alludes the guarantee of press freedom. However, the narrative used in the action program is to guarantee the freedom of the press that is ‘responsible’ and has ‘integrity’. ICJR views that this narrative has the potential to injure press freedom, because the absence of explanation of the wording “responsible” and “integrity” can lead to false interpretation.

ICJR calls on the two pairs of Candidates for President and Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia to focus more on the program to strengthen the development of Indonesian national law. With better action programs, it could help the community to easily assess the candidates for President and Vice President period 2019-2024.

We understand that not everyone has the opportunity to become a supporter of the ICJR. However, should you share a common vision with us, you can be part of our mission to ensure that Indonesia will have a fair, accountable and transparent legal system for all its citizens, without any distinction of social status, political views, skin color, gender, origin, sexual orientation and nationality.

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