14 November 2007

Constitutional Court and the KPK

Yesterday, the Constitutional Court handed-down its decision in an application for judicial review of the Corruption Eradication Commission (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi / KPK) and not surprisingly the decision rejected the application. The question before the Court was whether or not the provisions of Article 29(d) of the KPK Law was in breach of the non-discrimination provisions contained in Articles 28D(3), 28H(2), 28I(5), and 28J(1) of the 1945 Constitution.

Article 29(d) stipulates that the leadership of the KPK must have an undergraduate law degree or some other degree and at least 15 years experience and expertise in either the fields of law, the economy, finance, or banking. On face value these conditions would be discriminatory against those who do not possess either degree or experience. However, the Court after hearing (in reality this was read as it was written) the testimony of the House of Representatives (DPR) the Court held that conditions such as these did not represent discrimination but were in fact reasonable objective measures to determine the ability and capability of prospective candidates for KPK leadership positions.

To get to this point the Court relied on the Human Rights Law (Law No. 39 of 1999) which defines discrimination in terms of religion, ethnicity, race, grouping, social and economic status, sex, language, or political affiliation. Nevertheless, a creative advocate might be able to make sustainable arguments that social and economic status effects one's ability to gain an education and therefore this would serve to discriminate against them in later opportunities.

The simple reality is that corruption is not always simply being paid of or receiving a 'bonus' for your illicit assistance in gaining an advantage. Sometimes corruption involves myriad complex financial transactions as the perpetrators seek to cover-up their illegal deeds. This in turn means that not all people possess the necessary qualifications, experience, or skills to do the job at hand. Generally, the little people's concerns about the KPK relate more to the commitment of the leadership to eradicate corruption than the qualifications that the leadership holds. Most people want to see corruption reduced and where it still occurs be severely punished and if this means that people have to hold a degree and 15 years experience to qualify, then so be it.

Actions speak louder than words (well, I am sure I read that somewhere). So, perhaps if we all took a little responsibility ourselves in this regard and said no to corruption in spite of the personal inconvenience that this might cause us, then we would all be just that little bit closer to reducing corruption

Enough of the Soap Box for today...

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