Trailblazers of Indonesian // Dutch legal cooperation celebrate 50 years’ jubilee

Placing the people’s perspective in the center

‘’It is always about the people.’’ With this strong message that National Ombudsman of the Netherlands, Reinier van Zutphen, kicked-off a forum on 50 years of legal cooperation between Indonesia and the Netherlands. This event was organized by CILC and the Supreme Court of the Netherlands on 17 October 2019. The forum focused on legal certainty, a recurrent topic over the past decades. When talking about legal certainty, we started by putting the perspective and interests of the citizens at the core. At the end of the day, we have to ask ourselves: ‘’was it fair, did we treat people right and are they served justly?’’

The main message of putting the perspective of the people first was echoed throughout the event, for example when President of the Supreme Court, Maarten Feteris, took us to an ‘imaginative society where there is no legal certainty at all. A society in which decisions of government officials and the courts are essentially unpredictable, are contradictory to each other and also arbitrary. In such a situation, it is unclear which rules are actually applied and enforced. Most probably, this is not the kind of society anyone would prefer to live in. In fact, certainty about their position is very important for the welfare of people. They can get sleepless nights from uncertainty about their (legal) position. Uncertainty is often harder to bear than bad news.’’

Trailblazers of 50 years of legal cooperation

The forum was also an opportunity to thank the Indonesian and Dutch key players for steering legal cooperation between the two countries in the past 50 years. The Netherlands Minister of Justice and Security, Ferdinand Grapperhaus, explicitly thanked these ‘trailblazers of the cooperation’ and reminded us of the importance of continuing the special relationship. Minister Grapperhaus emphasized that despite ongoing national and international political controversies, the people in the room have persevered in their efforts to building and maintaining beneficial and fruitful partnerships. Looking into the future, we should cherish this unique bond and continue working together.

Fresh ideas for the future

The forum also provided space for the new generation of decision makers. Giras Bowo, an Indonesian student at Leiden University, rightfully noted that ‘if we don’t include the youth of today, there will be no cooperation tomorrow’. His words not only shook up the room, it genuinely made us aware of the importance of putting the youth’s perspective at the forefront in the future legal cooperation, as they will be our next generation of trailblazers.

Check out the video for a visual presentation of the forum event.

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