The Case of Yusman Telaumbanua, Prove of Weak Fair Trial in Death Penalty

This case is a factual evidence that the Juvenile Justice Law (UU SPPA) is not properly implemented, Children Rights are not protected, and even worst proves the poor standard of Fair trial process for defendant who is threaten with death penalty

Death penalty verdict imposed on 16 years old child, Yusman Telaumbanua by the Panel of Judges of Gunung Sitoli District Court in Nias Island is a real form of the poor criminal proceeding in Indonesia. Besides shows how weak the protection given to children rights, this death penalty verdict also shows the poor standard of fair trial process for defendant who is threatened with death penalty. Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) assesses that there are several important notes which can be taken from the trial process of Yusman Telaumbanua.

First, for whatever reasons Yusman Telaumbanua who is still in the children ages, cannot be punished with Death Penalty. Based on International Law, referring to Article 37 (a) of Convention on the Rights of the Child and Article 6 paragraph (5) of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, death penalty and lifetime imprisonment cannot be implemented to a child. From National Law point of view, based on Article 26 paragraph (2) of Law No. 3 of 1997 on Juvenile Court, Article 66 paragraph (2) of Law No. 39 of 1999 on Human Rights, Article 3 letter (f) of Law No. 11 of 2012 on SPPA, and Article 64 letter (f) of Law No. 35 of 2014 on Amendment to Law No. 23 of 2002 on Children Protection, all of them state the same thing which is death penalty and lifetime imprisonment cannot be implemented to a child.

Second, there are violations of children rights in the examination process of Yusman Telaumbanua Case, based on UU SPPA or due to at the time of criminal act occur is still in the jurisdiction of Juvenile Court, Yusman Telaumbanua should has been examined in a closed trial and specifically for children. Based on discovered facts, all processes which were faced by Yusman Telaumbanua are the same with the trial for an adult defendant.

Third, based on Article 3 letter c of UU SPPA, it is regulated that a child has the right to acquire legal assistance and other assistance effectively. Effectively in this provision means that of course related with the quality of the legal counselor itself. The attitude of Yusman Telaumbanua’s lawyer who asked for his client to be punished with death penalty has violated provision of UU SPPA, the worse thing is that the Judges did not responded to this matter, even the Attorney General HM Prasetyo uses Yusman Telaumbanua’s statements as a basis to claim that there is no manipulation of case in this case.

Fourth, the case of Yusman Telaumbanua, shows that Indonesia has failed to convince the public related with Fair Trial Principle in the imposing the death penalty to a defendant. In the “High-Level Panel Discussion on the Question of the Death Penalty: Regional Efforts Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty and Challenges Faced in that Regard” in the 22nd session of the human rights council of the United Nation which was held on 4 March 2015, in the United Nation Headquarter Geneva, Republic of Indonesia Permanent Delegation in Geneva states that all death penalty decisions in Indonesia are in accordance with the Fair Trial Principle. Decision on Yusman Telaumbanua has totally erased this assumption, it must be realized and recognized that trial in Indonesia has not completely fulfilled Fair Trial Principle.

ICJR urges the government of Indonesia to have quick responses to the Case of Yusman Telaumbanua, further the government must takes responsibility to answer all doubts related with Fair Trial in Indonesia, and it should not only be empty messages like what have been spoken up until now. For the case of Yusman Telaumbanua, the government must immediately responses with all legal efforts, particularly extraordinary efforts such as request for Case Review and cassation for the interest of law. Related with all death penalty cases, the government must ensure that there is no doubt related with Fair Trial issues in the existing cases.

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