01 December 2009

The Case Against Chandra and Bibit -- Dropped!


It was time that these shenanigans came to an end. The fact that this 'case' ran as long as it did is an embarrassment to the Indonesian Police, the Office of the Attorney General, and the Office of the President of the Republic of Indonesia. When leadership was called form it was severely lacking from those elected and appointed to leadership positions. Instead it was people power and the power of those people voicing their concerns about the need for justice through the media that spurred the courts into action and the ultimate resolution of this issue.

However, whether the issue is finished is really a moot point considering that the underlying issues remain unresolved. The dedication of the police and the AGO in wanting to see this case go to trial raises myriad of questions, and the fact that there seems to be some intent of seeing the instigator, Anggodo, pursued through the courts, then the simple reality is that Chandra and Bibit, and the mistrust between the various law enforcement agencies of Indonesia seems set to linger for some time yet.

The AGO has decided that it is not going to pursue the charges in the public interest. And, it would seem that the President's office is busy drafting and finalizing an order of reinstatement that will see both Chandra and Bibit returned to their rightful places as KPK Commissioners. However, what has not been addressed is the damage to their reputations as a consequence of this long-running unsavoury incident.

The AGO seems intent on continuing to perpetuate the fallacy that there was enough 'evidence' available to the police and the AGO to continue this case to trial. Marwan Effendy, the Deputy Attorney General for Special Crimes, said as much in his statement indicating the intent of the AGO to drop the case.

According to Effendy, the psychological and moral consequences that would arise as a result of the trial would not have warranted the trial going forward. So, the AGO bowed to public pressure. OK, but this is not where Effendy decided to stop. Instead, Effendy went on to say that the charges were valid, that Chandra and Bibit did not understand the anti-corruption law and that neither of them realized the consequences of their actions in breaching the provisions of the law.

Simply, in other words the Deputy Attorney General for Special Crimes is saying we would have garnered a conviction, but a conviction is not in the public interest. In essence, Chandra and Bibit are guilty as charged, but the AGO in their infinite wisdom and intimate understanding of the public's need to eliminate corruption has decided to not do its job. Alternatively, this could be a simple case of the Deputy Attorney General for Special Crimes continuing the defamation of the good name and character of both Chandra and Bibit.

Perhaps a trial would have been the best option. A trial would have presented an opportunity to Chandra and Bibit to be exonerated of the charges and clear the mud thrown at them. A trial would have also highlighted the lengths that the police and the AGO had gone to fabricate a case.

Admittedly, there are arguments that the trial might have gone the other way and confirmed guilt, but if the police or the AGO really had that evidence then it would be an outrage not to pursue it; corruption within the Corruption Eradication Commission. It could be argued that there would not be a bigger case, or a sweeter one, than busting the corruption busters up to their eyeballs in extortion and bribery while feathering their own nests.

The moral of this story is that corruption is alive and well in Indonesia, that it is facilitated and perpetuated by those in positions of authority or power, but that good is more regularly triumphing over evil. There is a long way to go, but perhaps this is a first step in the next phase of the corruption fight.

A final note. The case might have been dropped, and Chandra and Bibit will return to their respective positions at the KPK. However, much damage has been done to their reputations, and it must be part of the process of healing that the dropping of the case includes rehabilitation of their names and reputations. Anything short of a full apology is a slap in the face. The police allowed the fabrication of a case, the AGO kept the fabrication going, and the president refused to step in and discipline those responsible. Yes, an apology is warranted and justified. It is time that the president was presidential enough to step up to the plate and make it.

Come on Mr. President, what are you waiting for?

20 comments:

H. Nizam said...

Rob,

If there are strong evidences to support allegations against Bibit & Chandra, the AGO would insisted on going to court. That way they can also dig deeper into Anggodo's involvement.
By stopping the prosecution, Bibit and Chandra would remain in status quo, so would Anggodo and others.
Legal experts are talking about Presidential Pardon in this case Abolisi to rehabilitate Bibit and Chandra's names.

Rob Baiton said...

Harry...

This is my point. If their was evidence to support a trial, then this thing should have gone to trial. Effendy said in his statement that the evidence was there but the case is being dropped in the public interest (public pressure?).

If there is abuse of power and corruption allegations that can be proved, then the AGO has an obligation to pursue this matter, doesn't it?

Yes, the flip side of this is where does that leave the Anggodo investigation?

Presidential pardon in the form of abolisi for what. Chandra and Bibit have not been tried for any crimes, the police and the AGO have not fronted up any sustainable or credible evidence, and this has been a farce from the get go. So, an abolisi really does not cut the mustard at this level.

Just my view though.

tikno said...

I agree with Rob. Abolition for what? They (Bibit & Chandra) has not been proven guilty. KPK does not only deal with extraordinary cases, but its problem also "perhaps" related to the great interest from some bodies.

Seems, the solution adopted was the middle way.

H. Nizam said...

Rob & Tikno,

The amended UUD 1945 Art. 14 (2)
stipulated that the President may grant Abolisi and Amnesti, by considering opinion of parliament.
While UU Darurat No 11/1954 Art.4 defined Abolisi as an annulment of criminal prosecution.

tikno said...

H. Nizam,
Indeed based on the rules, the President is entitled to give abolition. But I am confused if the abolition is given to the people who have not been found guilty in court

lawk said...

civil or criminal..

pls check this in todays globe - extract

Heru Andriyanto
Court Instructs Prita to Pay Rp 204 Million in Damages
Despite the public backlash against the Tangerang District Court for finding Prita Mulyasari guilty in a civil suit filed by an upscale hospital, the Banten High Court has upheld the ruling and instructed the mother of two to pay Rp 204 million ($21,600) in damages, her lawyer said on Wednesday.

“The district court ordered Prita to pay Rp 312 million. The High Court ordered her to pay a lesser fine. I have not received a copy of the verdict. As soon as we receive it, we will appeal to the Supreme Court,” lawyer Slamet Yuwono told the Jakarta Globe, hours after he appeared at the Tangerang District Court to defend the 32-year-old Prita in a separate criminal defamation trial over the same case.

The controversial case stems from Prita’s e-mail complaint in 2008 to friends about the care she received at Omni International Hospital. The case sparked public outrage and a media frenzy when Prita was taken into custody in May after the Tangerang District Court ruled against her in the civil lawsuit, ahead of a criminal trial.


how can anyone understand their legal rights here??

Rob Baiton said...

Tikno...

Thanks.

Harry...

I always find it interesting that people try and explain the law to me and the relevant articles to me.

If "abolisi" is the annulment of a criminal prosecution, then by definition doesn't there need to be a prosecution? And, in this case there has been no criminal prosecution. So, what is there to "abolisi".

Isn't the best course of action here a full and unreserved apology from the police, the AGO, and the president?

And, isn't this so in light of the fact that public opinion and the MK believe that the evidence points to a frame that the president may or may not have been aware of?

Tikno...

Yep, the president has certain powers with respect to deal with sentences in terms of issuing pardons, clemency, and abolition.

However, I still wonder whether abolisi is the best course of action here in this case.

Rob Baiton said...

Lawk...

You are off topic on this one. Maybe it is time for me to write another Prita update.

I am not sure what you mean with "how can anyone understand their legal rights here??" I am certain that the lawyers representing Prita have her pretty well-informed of what her legal rights are here.

But, cutting to the chase, the legal case is one of defamation. There might be some arguments about how well defined defamation is in the law. Yet, the arguments about what constitutes defamation are matters of fact as are the defenses to any alleged defamation.

Your legal rights in Indonesia are pretty clear, but they are not free from abuses of process or over-zealous prosecutors seeking to make a name for themselves or curry favour. This is no different from most places. Australia has had a few cases where there have been over-zealous prosecutions and abuses of process. So, I do not think the problems Indonesia endures in reforming its justice sector and judiciary are any different from those problems that are encountered in most jurisdictions.

lawk said...

Sorry I popped this off on the way to class. I am annoyed at the conflation of legal reporting - eg libel charges resulting in damages etc etc. The ETI law etc. the mixing of fines and jail and detention for a civil matter? simultaneous crimnal and civil court cases?? that's all.

sorry in haste again

H. Nizam said...

@Rob,

You are right, although the case has been brought to the AGO, but no prosecution has been made.

But I am not sure that there will be any apology.


@Tikno,

According to our laws Abolisi is a presidential right to grant pardon for people who are prosecuted for crime, thus still being tried in court.

tikno said...

For me, just let the police do not have to apologize because, however, they are also have the right for investigation based on the law.

The findings of "Tim 8" state that the case of "Bibit" and Chandra is not enough evidence to continue the process of legal.

Rob Baiton said...

Tikno...

This really is not about whether the police have a right to investigate. You will get no arguments from me on what rights the police have in a functioning democracy that upholds the rule of law.

However, in this case there is sufficient evidence to warrant an investigation of the police and the Office of the Attorney General with regards to their respective roles in fabricating a case against Chandra and Bibit.

Therefore, if that evidence of a case fabrication bears out, then an apology is the least that must happen. If the police and / or the AGO have been involved in fabricating a case and evidence against two innocent men, then there needs to be not only an investigation but also a prosecution for those that perpetrated the crime.

The president also needs to apologize, in my view, because the evidence of a frame and fabrication came to the fore early, way before Team 8 was established.

tikno said...

Rob...
I'm wonder whether the President need / willing to apologize.

Rob Baiton said...

Tikno...

Need and will are two very different words in terms of meaning :D

Does the president need to apologize? I think he does. Will the president apologize? I somehow do not think that he will find an apology within himself on this one.

I wonder, if the shoe was on the other foot whether he would expect an apology in similar circumstances? Let's face it, when reference to him came up in the tapes played at the MK he was all for launching a criminal investigation and looking at whether or not he had been defamed.

If there are rules to this game, then they should apply equally to everyone. It must not matter whether you are the president or a grandmother in possession of some cacao pods.

lawk said...

Knox - parallels with Corbs??

Rob Baiton said...

Lawk...

No parallels whatsoever (in my opinion two very different cases).

Knox? As in Brokedown Palace? or is there something else that I am missing?

lawk said...

No dong. The sheer disbelief of the rest of the world at the Italian criminal proceedings. Rules of evidence differences; role of media; role of jury (2 members) dll....


yang ini..

American Amanda Knox was found guilty early on Saturday of murdering her British housemate Meredith Kercher in 2007 and sent to prison for 26 years.

Rob Baiton said...

Lawk...

Oh, that Know case.

To be honest I have not really followed it that closely.

There are appeal processes still to be explored in the Knox case.

If you think there are parallels, then feel free to share.

lawk said...

I noted the same exasperation in the parents of the convicted at having lost a case that they assumed would run along common law lines, and would win. Surely, fair trial aside, journalists have a duty to prepare the "world" for such different proceedings; so that, at the very least, readers (and friends and family) can see and understand that there are at least two ways to obtaining justice?

most interesting facts said...

I'm not sure why until now there's a lot of law case is not finished in this country. Law is still "grey" here.