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House set to endorse revision of Constitutional Court Law

Jakarta Post - September 1, 2020

Ghina Ghaliya, Jakarta – House of Representatives Commission III, which oversees legal affairs, has finished the deliberations for a revision of the Constitutional Court Law, despite civil society's concerns about potential conflict of interest that could harm the court's impartiality.

All political party factions in the commission agreed with the government on Monday to endorse the bill during the House's plenary session on Tuesday.

During a hearing with Commission III, Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly read President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's stance on the bill. In the letter, the President said it was necessary to regulate the Court to prevent judicial tyranny while maintaining its independence.

"The bill is needed to optimize the role of the Constitutional Court as the guardian of the Constitution," Yasonna read out the letter on Monday.

Commission III deputy chairman Adies Kadir of the Golkar Party said the lawmakers had agreed on changes to the law regarding the Court's composition and authority, procedures for the appointment and dismissal of justices, the chief and deputy chief justice's terms of office and minimum age requirements as well as procedures to appoint justice candidates.

"We've also added new elements for the Court's honorary council members by including an expert, as well as transitional provisions for justices who are still in office," said Adies.

During a hearing on Friday, the House and the government agreed to set the minimum age for justices at 55 years – down from the 60 years proposed by the House. They also scrapped a provision stipulating that justices could only serve for five years and could be reelected for another term.

They agreed to include a provision allowing justices currently in office to keep their positions until they are 70 years old, 10 years longer than regulated in the prevailing Constitutional Court Law of 2011.

Civil society groups had criticized the move to revise the law, the draft for which was proposed by the Gerindra Party.

They suspected that the bill was being used as a "political swapping" tool, as many controversial pieces of legislation were currently being challenged at the Court, such as the State Spending and Financial Relief Law, the Mining Law, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Law and the omnibus bill on job creation.

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/09/01/house-set-to-endorse-revision-of-constitutional-court-law.html