Indonesia's human rights commission has said the current criminal code revisions should be re-evaluated with more input from the public. (JG Photo/Sheany)

Criminal Code Revisions Should Be Put Back in Drawer: Rights Commission


FEBRUARY 03, 2018

Jakarta. Indonesia's National Commission on Human Rights, or Komnas HAM, said on Friday (02/02) the current criminal code revisions being deliberated in the parliament should be re-evaluated with more input from the public.

"The best option is not to [adopt the revisions] in haste. We should evaluate them further, test what possible impact they might have and try to get more input," Komnas HAM commissioner Choirul Anam said during a press conference in Jakarta.


Anam said all the revisions should be consistent with previous Constitutional Court rulings, especially the ones on the limitations of government power and freedom of opinion.

But the draft of revisions being negotiated at the House of Representatives now still contains articles that had already been rejected by the Constitutional Court, including one on insulting the president and vice president, a draft of which was rejected in 2006.

Komnas HAM said the impact from the revised articles has to be tested to ensure the new laws are relevant to current realities.

There are still also articles in the current revision draft that advocate for punishment that are much harsher than the crimes, according to Anam.

One element of the revisions that has caught the public imagination is the articles on morality, in particular about zina, or adultery.

The concern is that if these articles are passed, they will constitute an invasion of privacy and give legitimacy to persecution and vigilante culture.

Until Friday night, an online petition protesting the revisions had been signed by 39,300 people.

"There’s often a disconnect between the law and how it is practiced... this is why testing the revisions' impact will be paramount," Anam said.

He said the parliament should invite more people to give their perspectives on the revised criminal code and simulate its impact on people.

"For example, the House can invite the National Development Planning Agency to see how the revisions will affect the economy, or how the national budget can be misused to punish people who do not toe the government line instead of being given to poor families and their children," Anam said.