Indonesia // Conference on judicial reform

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by Manon Tiessink

On 15 and 16 January 2018, CILC’s Indonesian partner organisation the Institute for Research and Advocacy for Independent Courts (LeIP) organised a two-day multi-stakeholder conference; the Indonesian Judicial Reform Forum (IJRF).

The conference focused on the legal reform of the judicial services of Indonesia of the past eighteen years, particularly looking at the reform process of the Indonesian Supreme Court. The IJRF provided an opportunity for the Supreme Court to reflect on the results and challenges of judicial reform in Indonesia with the different stakeholders present, such as civil society organisations, government bodies and donors and to discuss the extent to which the judicial reform has been successful and whether it has led to better services and access for the Indonesian people. Moreover, it provided an excellent platform to explore the willingness to bring the judicial sector of the country further in a collective manner.

The event was supported, amongst others, by the Judicial Sector Support Program (JSSP), a judicial cooperation programme between Dutch and Indonesian judicial partners, including the Supreme Courts of both countries. CILC and LeIP are jointly managing JSSP. In supporting this event, CILC invited Marinus Flipse, senior judge at the appeal court in The Hague and Adriaan Bedner, professor of law and society in Indonesia at University of Leiden as key note speakers in a panel discussion on ‘jurisprudence and legal certainty’. The session was moderated by Imam Nasima, CILC associate.

Mr. Nasima steered a frank discussion about the current Indonesian situation when it comes to legal certainty (or a lack thereof) and foster an exchange between Indonesian and Netherlands experts. The concept of jurisprudence was discussed in length as it is an important aspect in predicting the outcome of legal proceedings, hence contributing to legal certainty.  What is this concept about, who defines what is jurisprudence or not, which decisions (and from which court) can be regarded as jurisprudence were among the issues discussed during the session. The panel concluded that there is a great momentum to further develop and improve the certainty of court’s decisions (case law) in Indonesia. The Indonesian Supreme Court, for example has recently started to organise chamber meetings on a regular basis. Yet in order to make further progress, the Supreme Court was advised to bring supremacy in its decisions by improving legal reasoning and by reviewing and publishing its decisions. Moreover, it was recommended that the Supreme Court should consider the application of the chamber system to lower courts with the view to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the case handling at lower levels as well.

On 16 January, the IJRF closed with the presentation of these and 60 more recommendations compiled from the other panels ranging from topics such as ‘access to justice for vulnerable groups’  to ‘knowledge management in the justice sector’  to ‘the prevention of judicial corruption’, amongst others. The recommendations were handed over to representatives of the Indonesian Supreme Court, the Presidential Staff Office and the Ministry of Law and Human Rights.

More importantly, however, is that the organisers of the IJRF managed to further strengthen the collective commitment of the Indonesia State and government bodies, NGO’s, international donors and other participants to put the recommendations in practice in the coming years. A second conference will be organised by 2020 to take stock of what has been implemented so far and to exchange ideas on how to continue to improve the judicial sector in order to contribute to better services for the Indonesian people.

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