Eleven ethnic Uighur Muslims from China, missing since their dramatic escape from a Thai jail last year, have been detained in Malaysia and Beijing wants them back. (Reuters Photo/Stephen Lam)

Extraordinary Crimes Must Be Addressed in Separate Regulation: Komnas HAM


FEBRUARY 03, 2018

Jakarta. The national human rights body said it would be better to address extraordinary crimes, such as crimes against humanity and war crimes, in a separate regulation instead of including it in the revised criminal code.

"Specifically on serious human rights violations, it is better to address it in a separate regulation because there are basic principles that are different from ordinary crimes," Choirul Anam, a commissioner at the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), said at a press conference in Jakarta on Friday (02/02).

He added that these principle differences include aspects such as the construction of cases and evidence, as well as the logic of legal reasoning.

Komnas HAM also raised concerns that the current draft revisions of the criminal code may lead to impunity for perpetrators of past human rights abuses in Indonesia.

According to the human rights body, it would be more strategic to revise the 2000 Law on Human Rights Courts rather than incorporating it into the revised criminal code, which is currently being discussed at the House of Representatives.

"We would appreciate a revision of the 2000 Law on Human Rights, to make it more complete – strengthen weak articles and incorporate what may be missing. It will be a better achievement as opposed to simply including it in the criminal code," Anam said.

Sandrayati Moniaga, Komnas HAM vice chairwoman for external affairs, said the commission had been proposing revisions to the law since 2011.

"However, they did not include it in the last list of national legislative priorities," she said.

Criminal Code Revisions

Komnas HAM said at the press conference that the finalization of criminal code revisions should be postponed, highlighting the need to further evaluate the current draft and that it should include more perspectives from members of Indonesian society.

The draft revisions were reportedly slated to be passed in February, prompting concern among various nongovernmental institutions and private individuals.

Concerned citizens started an online petition on Monday demanding that the House reconsider problematic morality articles in the draft, including the extension of criminalizing zina, or adultery, to all forms of extramarital sex.

Nearly 40,000 people had already signed the petition as of Friday evening.

The Indonesian Center of Law and Policy Studies (PSHK) issued a press statement saying that the government should postpone plans to vote on the revisions, citing concerns that the threat of imprisonment is still high and prioritized in the draft.

Tunggal Pawestri, a human rights activist and one of the people behind the petition, told the Jakarta Globe in an email that it would be better to postpone the revisions until after the upcoming elections.

"Since this discussion will require well-considered decisions, it's better to postpone all the discussions regarding norms and morality in society," Tunggal said.

Furthermore, she encouraged citizens to continue monitoring the progress by being more proactive, including checking updates from various civil society organizations on the criminal code revisions, such as those by the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR).