Jakarta, December 14th 2022
The judiciary is facing severe challenges as the two-decade-long maturity of Indonesia’s Blueprint for Judicial Reform approaches. There are also several court personnel who have stumbled on corruption cases; this implies the fact that the judicial reform agenda is still far from expectations. Responding to this situation, Transparency International Indonesia (TI Indonesia) took the initiative to conduct a national survey to measure the courts’ performance and how the risks of corruption exist to provide recommendations for the governance of judicial reform.
The survey, conducted by TI Indonesia with Litbang Kompas from September to October 2022 on 1,200 respondents, proved to provide several significant findings. The Secretary General of TI Indonesia, Danang Widoyoko, in the National Seminar “Welcoming Two Decades of Blueprints for Indonesian Judicial Reform: Launch of a Portrait Survey of Public Trust in Court Institutions,” explained that there are at least ten critical findings that must be of common concern, especially the Supreme Court as one of the pinnacles of judiciary power in Indonesia, among others:
- Requests for money by court officials are mostly perceived as corruption. The majority of respondents considered that costs other than official fees violated the rules and were unreasonable;
- A quarter of the respondents have known or even become victims of corrupt practices. Gratuities dominate, generally in the form of requests for money, gifts of goods, or discounts;
- Third parties are the most reliable people to expedite court services. In general, respondents choose advocates as the first alternative;
- Women are more prone to interact with corrupt actors in court. Women who were seeking justice often use personal connections when accessing court services;
- Decision-making is believed to be the stage with the most excellent chance of corruption. Areas of (a) the discretion of judges’ decisions, (b) administration of cases, and (c) decisions of the panel of judges, decisions, and executions are perceived to have the most red flags;
- All parties in the judiciary have the opportunity to commit corruption. According to respondents, among all court officials, judges are considered to have the most opportunities to engage in corruption;
- Respondents still trust courts as a party capable of making decisions fairly. The younger the generation, the more positive their perception of the judiciary;
- The majority of court information services are not known to the public. However, those who have accessed it are satisfied;
- The majority of respondents hope that court services in Indonesia will be fairer and without manipulation;
- There are two priority recommendations for increasing public trust in the courts, namely strengthening the integrity of personnel and strengthening the role of civil society in justice reform agendas.
In her remarks, the Chairperson of the TI Indonesia Board of Management, Felia Salim, stated, “To support the realization of the vision of “Creating a Supreme Judicial Body” from the Supreme Court, Transparency International Indonesia, through its studies, has proven to provide several important findings that should be of common concern. These findings should reflect us together, at what point we have succeeded and at what point we need to work harder.” Meanwhile, Mr Stéphane Mechati, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. (Acting Ambassador) of the European Union to Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam, Mr. Stephane Mechati, implied that, “International cooperation is important in efforts to prevent and eradicate corruption, especially in the justice sector because the community hopes for a fair and just judiciary.”
On the same occasion, Sugiyanto, Head of the Supreme Court Supervisory Board of the Republic of Indonesia, and Member of the Judicial Commission, Sukma Violetta, were also present. Both welcomed the initiative by TI Indonesia. “The Supreme Court has a Blueprint for Judicial Reform in Indonesia which summarizes several guidelines and a code of ethics for Court personnel. The Supreme Court has also conducted a Corruption Risk Assessment, where the assessment and survey findings are in line. So the strategy for eradicating corruption and increasing public trust needs to be carried out in parallel and more massively,” said Sugiyanto. Member of the Judicial Commission, Sukma Violetta added, “The Judicial Commission as an ethics enforcement agency has supervised judges. The practice of corruption (bribery, gratuity – ed) has become a focus for the Judicial Commission, especially with regard to the selection process for Supreme Court Justice candidates. Gathering information, including Wealth Report Management (LHKPN), is the main ingredient for tracing its track record”. Nevertheless, guarding the integrity and disseminating the code of ethics for judges is necessary.”
The seminar also presented state constitutional law experts Prof. Susi Dwi Harijanti and Bivitri Susanti, lecturers at Jentera Law School and TI Indonesia Board of Management members. According to Prof Susi, “An independent judiciary is a guarantee for judicial reform. This form of guarantee is found in the law and must be kept from political intervention. Corruption is one of the obstacles to judicial reform. So that the Supreme Court must carry out the integrity, independence, and competence of judges.” She was also noted that this survey is critical to capture public perception, but it does not know how serious the problems faced by the judiciary are. Judicial reform should arrive at providing justice for the community so that the focus is on developing a system that can encourage the eradication of corruption by substantively involving the community.
At the end of the event, KORUPEDIA was also launched, a digital platform dedicated by TI Indonesia as an encyclopedia of corruption cases in Indonesia, especially those involving court officials. Besides being able to find court decisions on corruption cases that have permanent legal force, Korupedia also provides a feature to read the track records of Supreme Court judges and prospective Supreme Court judges. With this platform, it is hoped that public oversight of court institutions will strengthen, thereby preventing court officials from being snared by corrupt behavior.
Access the full report here
Sahel Muzzammil (firstname.lastname@example.org / 0859 4545 0275)
Izza Akbarani (email@example.com /0897 3286 732)