Overview on Death Penalty in Indonesia

During President Joko Widodo administration, Indonesia decided to execute the death convicts involved in narcotics crime. The first batch of the execution was organized on 18 January 2015, and the second batch was on 29 April 2015.

Before executing these death convicts, President Joko Widodo has asserted his position, which is rejecting every pardon request from death convicts in narcotics crime. However, the President’s did not give due consideration on these requests. The rejection fails to consider unique aspects and characteristics of each padon petitioner. In addition, the rejection was given without proper explanation from the President. Rejection to the pardon petition was rendered without even reading the pardon petition.

Such problem was caused by the shortcomings in the Indonesian criminal justice system, currently stipulated under the Criminal code and several other laws. The current system has many flaws, and one of which is the failure to protect human rights. It is evident when the judicial institution sentenced Yusman Telambanua—a minor—with capital punishment. Yusman and Rasulah Hia—also a death convict—were allegedly tortured by the investigator, and to make things worse, they did not have proper legal assistance. Unfortunately, when they obtained legal assistance, their lawyer asked the court to sentence them to death.

Based on the review of the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR), there are 13 laws that incorporate capital punishment. The Draft Bill on Criminal Code (RKUHP), which has been submitted by the government to the parliament, is still incorporating death penalty. The only difference under RKUHP lies in the limitation of death penalty implementation.

The effort to eliminate capital punishment from the Indonesian criminal justice system is still facing many challenges. Therefore, ICJR and other non-governmental organizations are encouraging the revision on both Criminal Procedural Law and Criminal Code. As of now, the revision to both legislation is still discussed at the House. ICJR will also encourage the government and the parliament to strengthen human rights protection within the Indonesian criminal justice system.

The rights to fair trial is better implemented in every provision of criminal justice system legal framework, and not merely stipulated in academic papers.

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