Chief Justice Muhammad Syarifuddin is seen in a video streaming at the Supreme Court building. (Antara Photo/Hafidz Mubarak)

Supreme Court Encourages Judges to Deliver Life Sentence in Major Graft Cases

BY :FANA SUPARMAN

AUGUST 03, 2020

Jakarta. The Supreme Court has issued a regulation encouraging judges to deliver a life sentence against any graft convict who has inflicted a loss of more than Rp 100 billion to the state.

Signed by Chief Justice Muhammad Syarifuddin, the regulation details the recommended sentencing according to the amount of financial losses.

The minimum sentence for that amount of state losses should be 10 years’ imprisonment, according to the regulation.

For a corruption case that costs the state between Rp 25 billion and Rp 100 billion, the recommended jail term for the convict is between eight and 16 years.

“The regulation has come into force and we plan to disseminate this [to the courts] next week,” Supreme Court spokesman Andi Samsan Nganro said on Sunday.

The Corruption Eradication Commission, or KPK, welcomed the new regulation although it falls short of covering several other forms of corruption such as bribery and extortion which often don’t involve state money.

“For better or for worse, this new [sentencing] guideline certainly aims to reinforce anti-corruption measures,” KPK spokesman Ali Fikri said separately.

“Hopefully the sentencing guideline will eliminate disparity in sentences during graft convictions,” he added.

Ali said the KPK was involved in the drafting of the Supreme Court regulation and it’s now preparing its own standard operating procedures in the making of the prosecution demand against graft defendants.

Legal expert Abdul Fickar Hadjar praised the new regulation as “responsive and progressive”.

A lack of guideline and the corrupt justice system have led to inconsistency in judges’ verdicts. A graft defendant could receive contrasting verdicts from the district court, the appeal court and the Supreme Court, Abdul said.

Even if the guilty verdict is reinstated, the jail term will very likely change when the judges themselves are prone to bribery, he added.

“The money factor often plays an important role in how judges make their verdicts and it’s not unusual to see different verdicts from the very same graft case,” the Trisakti University law lecturer said.

The Indonesian Criminal Code allows a life sentence against a graft convict but it’s been rarely delivered.

Former Consitutional Court chief justice Akil Mochtar was the last graft convict to be sentenced to life in prison by a Jakarta court in 2014.
 

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