Saturday, February 15, 2014

Is military justice reform on the way in Indonesia?

Pres. Susilo Bambang
The other day the Jakarta Post ran this editorial under the title "Bye-bye impunity." It observes in part:

"The most valuable legacy of the current administration related to military reform could be a new law that enables active soldiers to stand trial in civil courts on criminal charges.

"If the House of Representatives passes the revision of Law No. 26/1997 on military discipline and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono enacts it into law before his term of office ends on Oct. 21, the nation will certainly be taking a giant step forward in bringing to an end once and for all the impunity enjoyed by military members.

"Hope abounds for this to become reality after the House agreed in a plenary session on Tuesday to deliberate a draft bill on the revision of the Military Discipline Law, the last bastion for the Indonesian Military (TNI) to evade equality before the law."

The president is a retired Army general.

The Jakarta Post also ran this news story about the proposed legislation.

1 comment:

  1. Military tribunals are tribunals of exception and, by definition, the law governing them often derogates from the law applicable to and the rights conferred upon civilians. The ensuing derogations are more serious if the military tribunals are invested with the power to try ordinary criminal offences which would normally be tried by civilian tribunals.
    Worldwide there is a wind of reform as regards the need to confer upon the military the right to prosecute ordinary criminal offences before military tribunals and even to have for that purpose military tribunals in peacetime. If Indonesia were to abolish military tribunals or deprive them of any jurisdiction over ordinary criminal offences, thereby limiting them to pure disciplinary offences, it would join a number of European States who have done precisely that: the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Lithuania, the Czech Republic. Belgium and France. Indeed France abolished its military tribunals in peacetime as of January 2012. Unfortunately I am not aware of this kind of reform being undertaken or even considered in Canada, not even with respect to serious offences the prosecution oh which before a military tribunal entails the loss of the right to a trial by a jury.


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