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Cablegate: Key Anti-Corruption Court's Mandate Up for Renewal

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DE RUEHJA #1818/01 2690835
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 250835Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0198
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 5442
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 3092
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO 1330
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA 1300
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 2273
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 4951
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 2541
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 3116
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 2991
RUEHPT/AMCONSUL PERTH 1161
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAWJB/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHHJJPI/USPACOM HONOLULU HI

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JAKARTA 001818

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, INL
INL FOR ROESS/BARCLAY
DEPT FOR EEB/IFD/OMA
DOJ/OPDAT FOR LEHMANN/ALEXANDRE/JOHNSON
MCC FOR LONGI
SINGAPORE FOR BAKER
TREASURY FOR M.NUGENT
NSC FOR E.PHU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KJUS KCOR ID
SUBJECT: KEY ANTI-CORRUPTION COURT'S MANDATE UP FOR RENEWAL
IN LEGISLATURE

REF: A. JAKARTA 1815
B. JAKARTA 1759
C. JAKARTA 865

JAKARTA 00001818 001.2 OF 002


1. (U) SUMMARY: President Yudhoyono sent a draft bill to
re-authorize the Anti-Corruption Court to the Indonesian
Parliament (DPR) on August 11. The DPR is slated to begin
discussions of the draft soon. There are a couple of
problematic issues that need to be addressed before the bill
is passed. In addition, due to the political timetable, it
is unlikely that the draft could be passed into law before
late 2009. The Anti-Corruption Court has been a key link in
the GOI's efforts to tackle corruption and warrants a renewal
of its important mandate. END SUMMARY.

KEY COURT'S MANDATE UP FOR RENEWAL

2. (U) A key court needs to have its mandate renewed by the
Indonesian legislature. The Anti-Corruption Court (ACC) was
created in tandem with its partner body, the Corruption
Eradication Commission (KPK), to try high-profile corruption
cases as well as cases which incur a state loss of over USD
$100,000. Since their founding in 2002, the KPK and the ACC
have been a solid success and are repeatedly mentioned as
Indonesia's most trustworthy institutions in public polls
(ref B). (Note: For a big picture review of Indonesia's
anti-corruption effort, please see ref A, which includes a
discussion of the effectiveness of the ACC and the KPK.)

3. (U) In December 2006, the Constitutional Court ruled that
the Anti-Corruption Court (ACC) was unconstitutional due to
flaws in the original legislation and the potentially
differential treatment defendants might receive in the ACC
versus the general courts (ref C). The ACC was granted a
three-year grace period to continue operation, pending new
DPR legislation. A Ministry of Law and Human Rights drafting
team submitted the draft bill to the President for approval
in 2007. After initially sending the bill back to the
Ministry for further revisions, President Yudhoyono sent his
Cabinet-approved version of the bill to Parliament on August
11.

DPR TO DEBATE DRAFT LEGISLATION

4. (U) Deliberations on the bill in the DPR are slated to
begin on October 15. The draft bill has two critical
variables: the number of courts and the ratio between career
and non-career (so called ad-hoc) judges. The Ministry's
draft law would establish five "model" Anti-Corruption Courts
in Jakarta, Medan, Semarang, Surabaya, and Makassar. In the
version approved by the Cabinet, however, ACCs would be
established in the district court of every provincial
capital--34 courts in all. The specialized nature of the
courts could be rendered meaningless with this arrangement as
there may not be a sufficient number of qualified justices to
staff 34 ACCs, experts assert. Judges in the ACC's district
courts would not necessarily understand the issues and could
be easily influenced by political or economic considerations,
according Prof. Romli Atmasasmita, chief drafter of the
Ministry of Law and Human Rights' version of the legislation.


5. (U) The ad-hoc to career judge ratio, currently 3 to 2
respectively, is seen as critical to court independence. In

JAKARTA 00001818 002.2 OF 002


the Cabinet approved bill, the Supreme Court would determine
the composition and ratio of ad hoc to career judges,
undermining the current independence of the body. According
to Atmasasmita and other ACC contacts, the majority of ad hoc
justices on panels hearing cases have created a more
independent and less corrupt judicial body in the current
ACC. The current Anti-Corruption Court has ruled in favor of
the KPK in 100% of the cases (some civil society groups
express concern over this high conviction rate). He
clarified that the Supreme Court, which appoints all career
judges to the district courts, regards this non-career, ad
hoc judge majority as an affront to its judicial authority.

ANTI-CORRUPTION MOMENTUM CONTINUES

6. (U) Mission contacts are optimistic that the draft ACC
legislation will become law by December 2009. Even though
the DPR is scheduled to begin deliberations on the ACC bill
in mid-October, Atmasasmita and other court insiders believe
that the legislation will not be passed until after the 2009
national elections. Atmasasmita, and anti-corruption
watchdog groups, have stated privately and in the press that
they hoped that the recent KPK investigations into former and
current members of the DPR would not stall the legislation.

7. (U) The pending legislation has not slowed down the work
of the KPK or the ACC. The KPK continues to investigate and
successfully prosecute high-level government officials for
bribery and corruption using the ACC. In the past six
months, the KPK has arrested six Members of Parliament--from
both ruling coalition and opposition parties--in separate
scandals. On September 24, President Yudhoyono expressed his
support for the anti-corruption drive in his reaction to the
Transparency International release of its corruption
perception index (which showed that Indonesia had slightly
improved its relative standing). He again underscored his
commitment to reform and the ongoing campaign to eradicate
corruption.

HUME

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