The Hague // Indonesia Netherlands Legal Update 2014

On 20-21 November 2014 the Working Group Indonesia of the Dutch Knowledge Platform on Security and Rule of Law organised the first Indonesia Netherlands Legal Update in The Hague. The Update brought together Indonesian and Dutch researchers, practitioners and policy makers interested in legal cooperation between Indonesia and the Netherlands.
See the full programme and find more information about the event from the KPSRL and from the Van Vollenhoven Institute

The opening plenary session reviewed development cooperation topics with emphasis on ownership, participation and a demand-driven orientation, as reflected also by the policy direction and agenda of the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Jakarta.

Pictures courtesy of Fachrizal Afandi and Imam Nasima

CILC has set-up one of the four panel discussions, with the topic on public confidence in the courts. The panel was moderated by CILC Director Mr Willem van Nieuwkerk and included presentations from Indonesian judicial officials (Mr Ridwan Mansyur  from the Supreme Court and Mr Agus Subroto from the Judicial Training Institute of the Supreme Court), independent observers (Mr Binziad Khadafi of the Indonesian Center for Law and Policy Studies and Ms Dian Rositawati from the Indonesian Institute for the Independent Judiciary/LeIP) and Dutch experts (Mr Reinier van Zutphen, Chair of CILC Board of Trustees and Ms Marijke Malsch from the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement/NSCR).

In light of the various perspectives on public confidence in the courts presented by the panellists, it became evident that the Indonesian judiciary still needs support to strengthen its institutional capacity. Despite the work already carried out by the Indonesian Supreme Court over more than a decade, public confidence in the Indonesian courts is still lacking. This is evidenced by the fact that Indonesian citizens seem to avoid using the courts to resolve their conflicts. Furthermore, the cassation petition to the Supreme Court continues to be requested for almost all cases of the high courts.

It was noted during the panel that the courts in the Netherlands have also dealt with increased public scrutiny in the last years. It was suggested that lack of information among the general public about what the courts actually do is a determining factor for the pressure on the courts. Experience in the Netherlands has shown that a court must understand public expectations and prepare clear and adequate responses.

At the end of the conference, panel observer Ms Wiwiek Awiati remarked on the need for Indonesian courts to reach out to the public and communicate more about what has been done for improving public service delivery. It was also pointed out that the lack of legal discourse in Indonesia seems to contribute to the weakness of the judicial authority, in spite of the efforts by the Indonesian Supreme Court to publish more than a million decisions in recent years.

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In addition to participating in the INLU conference, the delegation of the Indonesian Supreme Court and Judicial Training Center continued the week in the Netherlands with working visits to the Dutch Supreme Court (Hoge Raad) and the Dutch Judicial Training Institute (SSR). CILC facilitated discussions among these institutions about the implementation of the Judicial Sector Support Program (JSSP). In the course of these meetings, the Indonesian and Dutch counterparts successfully agreed on a number of points for further cooperation. This includes the request of the Indonesian Judicial Training Center that SSR provide support with an assessment of the current management and with the development of a monitoring and evaluation tool for its initial judicial training program (the latter currently being on hold due to organisational changes triggered by new legal provisions).

In the framework of the JSSP, CILC has committed to help strengthen the institutional capacity of the Indonesian judiciary (by supporting the implementation of the chamber system) and the management capacity of the Indonesian Judicial Training Center (especially with regard to the initial judicial training program). In addition, the project will facilitate the development of a policy paper on court budgeting and the development of the corresponding explanatory documents (restatements), that will meet the needs of legal references and help close the gap for legal discourse in Indonesia.

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