Graft Watchdogs Growl at House Reps

By webadmin on 11:18 pm Jun 19, 2009
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Nivell Rayda

Several antigraft watchdogs on Friday rallied in front of the House of Representatives to protest the House’s apparent lack of commitment in passing the bill on the Anti-Corruption Court.

The Indonesian Corruption Watch, the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation, the Consortium for National Legal Reform (KRHN) and the Indonesian Forum for Budget Transparency participated in the rally.

In a theatrical performance, activists pretending to be lawmakers were given some energy drinks ­— symbolizing that they should expedite the deliberation process — and were given fake money as “overtime fees.”

The current Anti-Corruption Court, which has a 100 percent rate of conviction, including several high-profile officials and eight legislators from major political parties, came into being under a 2003 law related to the establishment of the Corruption Eradication Commission.

But the Constitutional Court has since ruled that a law on the Anti-Corruption Court should be issued by Dec. 19 to provide a legal basis for the court.

The rally came after a special committee of the House deliberating the bill resumed their duties after a long been absence due to campaigning in the April 9 legislative poll.

Committee members, however, have continued to question the urgency of the legislation to give the court a stronger legal basis.

Some committee members have even suggested that corruption cases should be heard by regular courts, which have been proven to have had less success in putting corrupt officials behind bars.

“House speaker Agung Laksono and special committee chairwoman Dewi Asmara have promised to pass the anti-corruption court bill on time,” KRHN researcher Wahyudi Djafar said. “We are demanding that they keep their word.”

The groups also urged President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to issue a regulation in lieu of a law, or perpu, to save the court.

Experts have said that should the House fail to issue the law by the December deadline, the court would have to disband and that only a perpu issued by the president could prevent that.

“The president shouldn’t remain passive and wait for the House to pass the law,” ICW researcher Febri Diansyah said. “His term ends in September, so waiting until December would be too late and there’s even a possibility that he won’t get re-elected.”

Febri added that as a presidential candidate who puts anti-corruption as one of his key campaign platform, Yudhoyono should order his Democratic Party lawmakers to expedite the bill’s deliberation and issue a perpu.

At the presidential debate on Thursday, Yudhoyono said that he would not issue a perpu any time soon and opted to wait for the House, because a perpu should only be issued in times of national emergency.

“Time is running out for the bill. We are in a state of emergency,” Febri said.