30 Lawmakers to Travel to Europe to Study International Criminal Codes

House Commission III deputy chairman Tjatur Sapto Edy, left, talking with PDI-P member Ikhsan Sulistyo. Tjatur has criticized a European trip that 30 lawmakers will take to study international criminal codes. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)

House Commission III deputy chairman Tjatur Sapto Edy, left, talking with PDI-P member Ikhsan Sulistyo. Tjatur has criticized a European trip that 30 lawmakers will take to study international criminal codes. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)

Amid heavy criticism against the revised draft of the Criminal Code Procedures by the government, 30 lawmakers have announced a plan to visit four European countries to study how they adapted criminal code revisions.

“It is important to see and hear first hand about the sources of [the codes] adapted in Europe,” Achmad Dimyati Natakusumah, a member of the House Commission III, which overseas legal affairs, said on Friday.

He said that around 30 lawmakers would embark on a five-day trip to Russia, France, England and the Netherlands. The United Development Party (PPP) lawmaker added that it was important for the lawmakers to make the trip instead of learning about the codes adapted by the countries online.

Achmad said that the House would send two teams of 15 lawmakers to visit two countries each, adding that he would join the team of lawmakers departing for England and France.

The commission is deliberating the Criminal Code, known here as the KUHP, and the Criminal Procedures Code (KUHAP) which were adapted from the codes imposed during the Dutch colonial rule.

The two codes have been heavily criticized for being out of date.

Eva Kusuma Sundari, from the opposition Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), also supported the plan.

“We are not just deliberating the KUHP and KUHAP but we are also trying to try to go deeper, because these rules came from rules and procedures of overseas country,” she said.

The Indonesian Forum for Budget Transparency (Fitra) criticized the plan saying that the trip would be a waste of money.

“Why do they need to go to other countries if the House stated that they want to make legal codes based on Pancasila [state ideology], culture and character of out people,” Fitra’s advocacy director Uchok Sky Khadafi said.

Uchok said that the budget watchdog estimated that the trip would cost taxpayers Rp 6.5 billion ($667,000)

National Mandate Party (PAN) lawmaker Tjatur Sapto Edy, a Commission III deputy, also criticized the trip adding that he was considering to pay for his own expenses or not go at all.

“The law is the embodiment of the norms which flourishes in a society. A study on the norms adopted by our own society is more important,” he said.

“There is no way that laws taken from another country will be compatible with our society because of the differences in value.”

But Tjatur admitted that he was curious to learn more about the codes adopted by the four countries.

“For the overseas trip, I haven’t decided whether I should go or not. If I think this is important, perhaps I will go but out of my own pocket and not use state coffers,” he said.

“Considering the current workload of Commission III, an overseas trip is unwise and unnecessary,” said Miko Ginting, a researcher at the Indonesian Law and Policy Studies (PSHK), on Friday.

Miko added that the House Commission III had already committed on finishing the revision of the four laws by April 2014.

“With the recess, political campaigns, effectively they will only have five to six months to finish all of their work, they better focus on those jobs first because a trip overseas will only interrupt their works,” Miko said.

One of the proposals for the revised draft of the criminal code states that singles who are engaged in premarital sex could be sentenced to five years in jail.

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