Judicial Independence and Selection Processes in Indonesia

On 30 January 2017, a focus group discussion on “Judicial Independence and Selection Processes in Indonesia” was held in Jakarta. The session was run by Dr Fritz Siregar of the University of Indonesia and Dr Melissa Crouch of UNSW. The discussion was attended by judges of the Indonesian Supreme Court, lawyers from the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation, Indonesian Corruption Watch, and members of the Judicial Commission.

The issue of review of judicial appointments has become an increasingly significant issue. In countries that have undergone a transition from authoritarian to democratic rule, judicial reform is a key part to enhancing judicial independence. One aspect that affects judicial independence is the process and procedures for judicial appointment, as well as the review processes of decisions to appoint judges. There is no commonly accepted practice to review the decision to appoint a judge, especially in systems where the executive has large discretion to appoint a judge. However there are increasing demands for transparency and due process in terms of judicial appointments, and this includes consideration of mechanisms to review decisions to appoint judges.

In Indonesia, there have been particular concerns raised around what it means for judicial appointments to the Constitutional Court to be conducted in a process that is ‘transparent and participatory’. There have also been numerous successful cases brought to the Constitutional Court by judges in an effort to push back against what is perceived to be the encroachment of the executive on judicial independence.

This project is funded by a UNSW Indonesia Seed Funding Grant and an ANU Indonesia Project and SMERU Research Institute Research Grant.