Jakarta. Activists on Friday called on the government and legislature to deliberate on a planned revision of the Criminal Code of Procedures following last week’s ruling by the Constitutional Court to expand the jurisdiction of pretrial hearings.
The court had ruled that a pretrial hearing can also pass judgement on a suspect’s legal status, giving the judge the authority to examine if law enforcers had enough preliminary evidence to investigate and charge someone.
Earlier, a pretrial motion could only rule on the technical aspects of an investigation, such as the arrest and seizure of property.
The court also clarified one article of the code, known as the Kuhap, saying that laying charges against a person must be based on two pieces of evidence and that law enforcers were obliged to first question the suspects about the accusations against them.
The ruling would force law enforcement agencies to stop abusing their authorities and lay bogus charges on their enemies, the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform said.
But it also means courts will have to cope with an influx of suspects, including corrupt officials and hardened criminals, looking to have the charges against them dropped.
“We urge the government as well as the House of Representatives to immediately revise the Kuhap,” ICJR executive director Supriyadi saidon Friday.
Proposed revisions include an added requirement of the establishment of a team of judges to conduct pretrial examinations. The judges can then decide if a case is fit for trial.
“This is necessary to make sure law enforcers don’t get testimonies or admissions by force,” Supriyadi said.
A revision of the Kuhap would also prevent suspects from trying to get charges against them dropped, he added.
“A pretrial hearing was intended to provide control and supervision of the law enforcement process, but this could be derailed,” he said.
Rivai Kusumanegara of Peradi, the national bar association, said the Constitutional Court’s ruling added another layer to the judicial process, which he argued went against the principle of a speedy, simple and cheap court system.
“This will definitely hinder law enforcers’ work and stop them from finishing ongoing cases. The Kuhap revision needs to be enacted immediately to ensure that such problems are prevented and addressed,” Rivai said.