KPK staff throw flowers on a fake headstone symbolizing the death of the antigraft agency during a protest on Sept. 17. (Antara Photo/Wahyu Putro A.)

Amended KPK Law Faces Lawsuit From Anti-Graft Groups

BY :ANTARA & BERITASATU

SEPTEMBER 23, 2019

Jakarta. At least two groups of antigraft activists have announced plans to file a lawsuit against the recently amended law on the Corruption Eradication Commission, or KPK, on the grounds that the amendment process was full of flaws and that the revisions undermine the agency.

Gadjah Mada University's Anti-Corruption Study Center (Pukat UGM) and the Indonesian Corruption Watch said they would request a judicial review from the Constitutional Court in order to get the amended law overturned.

"Pukat UGM will request a judicial review at the Constitutional Court," the group's head Oce Madril said on Sunday. Gadjah Mada is a state-run university.

Oce said the deliberations on the amendment were "not participative" and pointed out it was not even included in the House of Representatives' (DPR) list of priority bills for 2019.

KPK's commissioners have repeatedly complained that they were never invited to the House hearings to convey their views about the revisions to the law.

In addition, the amendment that has been passed by a House plenary session contains several articles that potentially undermine the work of the antigraft agency, Oce said.

The new law orders the establishment of a supervisory body – the KPK must get a warrant from the supervisory body before it can wiretap suspects. It also grants the KPK the authority to halt a graft case midway through the investigation.

Critics say the president-appointed supervisory body and the requirement to obtain a warrant for wiretaps will make it hard for the KPK to remain independent. 

The agency's new authority to halt investigation in long-running cases is feared will only increase the chance of high-profile suspects escaping prosecution.

In the past, unlike police and prosecutors, KPK investigators had no authority to stop a case, meaning that any case they handle must go on to a trial.

Oce said if the Constitutional Court accepted their request, it would come as a severe blow to the House and the government who had passed a "troubled law."

"We've already identified so many flaws in the new KPK law," he said.
 
Earlier, Indonesia Corruption Watch also announced a plan to challenge the new KPK law at the Constitutional Court.
 
ICW researcher Kurnia Ramadhana said the court hearings would expose the weaknesses of several key articles in the new law.

Constitutional Court hearings are normally open to the public. The government and the House will appoint attorneys to defend their stance.

Justice and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly has said the proposed supervisory body and the obligation to obtain wiretap warrant was meant to ensure the KPK always respect human rights when doing its job.

The minister strongly denied allegations that the new law was aimed at weakening the antigraft agency, saying that it would instead greatly improve governance inside the KPK.

"The new law has been passed by the House plenary session. To come into effect, it only needs the president's signature," Yasonna told Beritasatu News Channel on Friday.
 

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