Indonesia Shared

14.11.09

What the facts say


It’s all getting a bit out of hand. As the world’s third-largest democracy, Indonesia’s legal system seems to have taken on a Wild West character. Stubbornness and provocation have taken over the reigns of judicial prudence and commonsense.
Guns and guts are replacing justice and rectitude.
If it had not been for the intense media scrutiny emoting the swell of public pressure, the prejudice against the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) may surely have continued to this day.
There is now a temporary respite for KPK deputies Bibit Samad Rianto and Chandra M. Hamzah. But justice is far from being served.
In fact it continues, in the eyes of many, to be undermined to a state where public trust in justice is debilitated.
The presidential fact-finding team on Monday submitted its preliminary report to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono through the Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto.
Despite the initial public skepticism, the team has come to represent the best hope of justice and source of revelation in this awkwardly confusing case, which seems to implicate too many key figures in the country’s legal system.
Members of the team stopped short of officially revealing their recommendations, but the gist of their message was not surprising to all with an interest in this case.
According to team chairman Adnan Buyung Nasution, the charges of extortion, bribery and abuse of power against Bibit and Chandra were backed by very little evidence.
“The police just don’t have enough evidence to continue with the case,” Buyung said Monday, while adding the team’s hope that “what we’ve concluded here tonight will be heeded by the President”.
In the team’s findings, hard evidence could only show a flow of money from graft fugitive Anggoro Widjojo and his brother Anggodo Widjojo to alleged middleman Ari Muladi. There was nothing to connect a transfer of funds to the two KPK deputies.
The police, Buyung said, pressed the case too far without sufficient evidence, while invoking irrelevant articles.
All eyes are now on the President. Rarely has there been a case in which the President has been under so much public pressure and intense scrutiny over the past five years.
Will he act decisively, swiftly, or will he use his absence to attend the APEC summit in Singapore later in the week to dilly-dally before taking action?
According to reports, the President saw the report submitted by the fact-finding later on Monday. Nevertheless, the concurrent events have been somewhat disconcerting.
Hours after receiving the report, Djoko Suyanto held a meeting with National Police chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri and Attorney General Hendarman Supandji.
After the hour-long discussion, all three met with Yu-dhoyono at the Presidential Palace.
While such consultations are customary in other circumstances, the conditions of the case make the ethics of consultations with the police chief and attorney general questionable, given the role of these two state officers in the case itself.
Given the conduct and developments of the case, both the police chief and attorney general should not be council to the President in this matter.
Does one consult the Godfather before busting a mafia ring?
Yudhoyono’s penchant for proper protocol, rather than daring initiative, is either a sign of incompetence or an indication that he is not serious in expeditiously resolving the case.
We presently refrain from judgment until the President formally announces his response to the team’s findings. The President is entitled to the benefit of the doubt, before we begin to doubt him altogether.

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