Indonesia's new Corruption Court Law (the “Law”) was passed by the parliament on September 29th, 2009. The Law cements the legal authority of the court, clears the way for a similar system of courts to be extended across the country, and has avoided the worst of proposed provisions that would have diluted the court’s powers and those of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). On the other hand, the Law’s provisions on the composition of anti-corruption courts could still seriously weaken judicial independence.
The Law’s passage through the House of People’s Representatives (DPR, Indonesia’s legislature) has generated considerable controversy. The Law will be regarded by many foreign investors as indicative of Indonesia’s appetite for sustaining the battle against endemic corruption.
The Law brings several positive provisions. Most notably, it has avoided two proposed measures that would have undermined the effectiveness of anti-corruption investigations. It was widely feared that the Lawl would strip the KPK of its prosecutorial authority, forcing corruption cases to be passed to the attorney-general’s office. There were also fears that the KPK would lose the right to use wire-taps during investigations. Pursuant to the Law, the KPK retains both powers.
A further positiveis that the Law authorizes the creation of a nationwide system of provincial anti-corruption courts. If successful, such a system could allow the authorities to prosecute a wider variety of cases around the country, and could improve the logistics of big cases involving alleged graft in remote provinces.