INDONESIA: New bill on the Indonesian Penal Code needsimmediate review

Asia Human Rights
November 17, 2015
Reproduced with Permission
Asian Human Rights Commission

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), a Hong Kong-based regional human rights organization,urges the Drafting Committee of the Parliament of Indonesia to review the draft billon the Indonesian Penal Code (KUHP). In particular, those articles of the new bill which seek to regulate serious crimes or gross violations of human rights, and which already exist in some form in specific national law outside KUHP, such as Law No 26 of 2000 on Human Rights Court, need immediate review. Additionally, the new bill needs toincorporate essential features of core international human rights instruments to which Indonesia is a state party, such as the International Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Now that the Parliament hasbeen handed the draft bill by the government, it has an obligation to discuss and finalize 786 articles in the new KUHP bill. Considering there are hundreds of articles in the new bill, the taskhas become abig challenge for Parliament, especially in the wake of the 1998 political reform. The new bill is a matter of prestige for Parliament. If Members succeed in passing the bill, it will become the main guideline for criminal law in Indonesia. It will replace the old penal code, a legacy of Dutch colonialism. As the new KUHP bill has an important position in the Indonesian criminal justice system, the Drafting Committee must necessarily be more careful and open the matter for maximum public participation before pushing for enactment.

In the latest version of the bill submitted by the government to Parliament, what has struck the AHRCare both the benefits on one hand and the weaknesses and potentialfor misuse on the other.

The government primarily focuses on two main problems, namely:

However, the AHRC hasfound that the new KUHP bill still has some weaknesses. These have been enumerated as follows:

As a result, the AHRC calls for the drafting committee to:

Remove the provisions of gross violation of human rightsfrom the new KUHP bill. Parliament should amend Law No. 26 of 2000 on the Human Rights Court, to strengthen criminal charges against gross violations of human rights. Consider and accommodate the criticism and proposals relatedto a number of articles mentioned in this open letter, in order to guarantee protection of human rights of every citizen.

Be more open toinput and criticism from the wider public and avoid churning out legislation products lacking quality.

Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to hearing back from you.

Yours Sincerely,

Bijo Francis
Executive Director of Asian Human Rights Commission