[INDONESIA-NEWS] JKTP - Six Chief Justice Candidates Undergo Final Selection

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Date: Wed Nov 29 2000 - 17:26:02 EST

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   Back to Home Page National News November 30, 2000
   Six chief justice candidates undergo final selection
   JAKARTA (JP): Six candidates for Supreme Court chief justice
   undergoing a final test by the Commission II of the House of
   Representatives on Wednesday, pledged to improve the poor image of the
   Supreme Court, by amongother things, dismissing bad supreme court
   Questioned one by one on an alphabetic basis, the chief justices were
   asked various questions from the members of Commission II, dealing
   with domestic and legal affairs, on their vision if they were elected
   Supreme Court chief justice.
   However, Commission II chairman Amin Aryoso asked all the candidates
   for their comments about Daniel S. Lev's statement that reforming the
   Supreme Court meant dismissing all the current supreme court justices.
   Daniel S. Lev is an American expert on Indonesia.
   President Abdurrahman Wahid's preference Benjamin Mangkoedilaga agreed
   that dismissing unscrupulous chief justices was part of internal
   reform agenda in the Supreme Court.
   "However, if all the chief justices fail fair and appropriate tests,
   and the people want them all to be dismissed, why not?" Benjamin said.
   He stressed the judge's morality was the key to reform the Supreme
   Court,not their salary and facilities.
   If he was elected to head the Supreme Court, he would start with
   'repairing' the system and, at the same time, selecting 'good' chief
   "I promise I'll do my best in reforming the Supreme Court within two
   years," said the 63-year old Benjamin, who, according to the law,
   should retire in two years.
   Benjamin gained popularity in 1995 when, as the presiding judge at the
   Jakarta State Administrative Court, he favored Tempo magazine in the
   case against the government over the government's ban.
   Another candidate, a Bandung-based constitutional law professor Bagir
   Manan disagreed with Daniel S. Lev's idea, saying that not all chief
   justice are bad. "Some of them still have common sense and a good
   Artidjo Alkostar, another candidate from Yogyakarta, supported Bagir's
   view that some of the current 51 chief justices should retain their
   posts as they were good enough.
   Artidjo, former chief of the Yogyakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH), won
   full support from his former institute.
   In its letter on Wednesday to the central board of the Indonesian
   Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan), LBH Yogyakarta urged
   that the party's faction at the House name Artidjo as chief justice.
   Meanwhile, Muladi, another candidate from the Golkar Party, told the
   House that he preferred reforming the Supreme Court through a systemic
   approach, to dismissing chief justices.
   "The Supreme Court has been suffering damage in its working system, so
   itneeds a new approach to mend it," said Muladi who was former Justice
   Minister during former president Soeharto and Habibie's term of
   The Wednesday hearing was attended by several noted lawyers, including
   Muladi's aides Hotma Sitompul, Ruhut Sitompul and Tommy Sihotang who
   grouped in a defense team of the Indonesian Military (TNI)/Police in
   human right abuses case in East Timor.
   About 200 people, mostly East Timorese, wearing yellow head bands
   reading"Vote for Muladi" went to the House. Some of them sat on the
   balcony in theroom where the House members questioned the six
   Muladi, Benjamin, Bagir and Artidjo were 'outsiders', who were
   installed as supreme justices in July while the remaining candidates
   Soeharto and Tonton were all Supreme Court career justices.
   The House will have to select the best two out of the six on Dec. 5
   and refer them to the President, who has the prerogative to select the
   best one. (jun/23/44)

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