5 Notes on the 2020 Priority National Legislation Program (Prolegnas)

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The Legislative Committee (Baleg) of the Indonesian Parliament (DPR) and the Ministry of Law and Human Rights have agreed to pass 247 Draft Laws (RUU) to enter the national legislation program (Prolegnas). (Photo: Prive. Doc)

IO, Jakarta – The Legislative Committee (Baleg) of the Indonesian Parliament (DPR) and the Ministry of Law and Human Rights have agreed to pass 247 Draft Laws (RUU) to enter the national legislation program (Prolegnas). Of the 247 bills, 50 of them are 2020 priority bills. Of the 50 priority bills in 2020, there are four carry-over bills, with details of three bills from the government, namely, the Draft Stamp Duty, the Draft Bill on the Criminal Code (RKUHP) and the Draft Bill on Corrections, along with one bill from the Parliament: a bill on amendments to Law Number 4 of 2009 concerning Minerba Mining. 

Specifically related to the RKUHP, Executive Director of the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR), Anggara reminded the Minister of Law and Human Rights to obey the President’s order and reopen the discussion on the RKUHP by involving various public elements, such as academics and experts from all related fields, such as welfare, social, economic, public health, and civil society. ICJR also requested that the government establish an Expert Committee which expanded its membership to reflect various fields and scientific studies to continue the discussion of the RKUHP. 

Besides, the RKUHP discussion should not only be limited to 14 articles which are claimed to be problematic by the government. Problems in the RKUHP that have been presented by the community are more than that. “There are at least 24 issues from many problematic articles in the RKUHP. Even fundamental issues such as the problem of legal arrangements that live in the community which deviate from the principles of legality and criminalization are not clear at all and have never been discussed by the Minister of Justice and Human Rights, “Anggara said. 

The ICJR also gave appreciation to the Parliament and the Government which included the Bill on the revision of the Narcotics Law into the 2020 priority program. However, the ICJR also reminded that the spirit of revision of the Narcotics Law must be based on a public health approach. It is time to change the strategy in dealing with the problem of narcotics abuse from being more inclined to criminalization to rehabilitation that prioritizes health aspects for narcotics users. 

For this reason, the articles in the Narcotics Law which still allow users to be thrown into prison must be changed immediately. The decriminalization method has been widely used by countries that adopt the concept of harm reduction. This is important because prisons are unable to provide adequate health facilities for narcotics users sentenced to terms. “Therefore, the method of handling must be changed because the quality of Indonesian public health which should be an important concern for the country is at stake,” said Anggara. 

However, the ICJR regretted the Parliament and Government’s decision not to include the Bill on the Criminal Procedure Code (RKUHAP) and the Second Amendment Bill on Law Number 11 the Year 2008 concerning Electronic Information and Transactions in the 2020 Prolegnas priority bill. RKUHAP is very important to encourage the implementation of an accountable, open, integrative criminal justice system and guarantee the fulfillment of the rights of suspects, defendants, witnesses, and victims of crime to create a balance of protection between interests, namely the interests of the state, the interests of society, as well as the interests of individuals including the interests of perpetrators and victims of crime. 

The Bill on Amendment to the ITE Law is important because although the ITE Law was revised in 2016, this change has not been able to protect freedom of speech in the realm of the internet. The ITE Law is a product of legislation that has a very “flexible” and widespread criminal formulation, causing the use of articles in it to be inaccurate and even excessive by law enforcement officials. Besides, the revision of the 2016 ITE Law has also not been able to resolve the issue of provisions that overlap with the Criminal Code (in terms of decency, defamation, consumer protection, a crime against public order, and extortion and threats) and legal certainty issues related to defamation. 

Based on the above, ICJR requests the following. First, related to the discussion of RKUHP, ICJR requested a discussion for the government to form a Criminal Law Reform Expert Committee which consists of people from various fields of science and studies to be able to carry out the RKUHP discussion again. The ICJR also urged that the discussion on the RKUHP be reopened to solicit input from the public and not only limit the discussion to the 14 articles – the ones claimed to be problematic. Besides, the RKUHP discussion must be conducted openly and involve various public elements, such as academics and experts from all related fields, such as social welfare, economy, public health, and civil society. 

Second, related to the revision of the Narcotics Law, ICJR requested that the enthusiasm in revising the Narcotics Law be based on a public health approach. Besides, the Government in formulating narcotics policies must also use evidence-based policymaking. 

Third, given the urgency of the Criminal Procedure Code, because regulations on the criminal justice system regulated in the Criminal Procedure Code and other legislation are often inconsistent, leading to inconsistencies in the criminal justice system in Indonesia, the ICJR encourages the Criminal Procedure Code to be included in additional priority prolegnas at the end of 2020, which is certainly in line with the development of RKUHP discussion. 

Fourth, as is the case with the RKUHAP, ICJR also encourages the ITE Law Amendment Bill to be included in the additional priority program at the end of 2020. The government understands the problems in the ITE Law so that after giving amnesty to Baiq Nuril by President Joko Widodo, Minister of Law and Human Rights Yasonna Laoly, has given a breath of fresh air by stating that the government will discuss the planned revision of the ITE Law and will ask the National Legal Development Agency (BPHN) to start reviewing the revised plan. But this seems to be going nowhere. For this reason, ICJR urges the Government to realize its commitment by including the ITE Law Amendment Bill in the additional priority prolegnas at the end of 2020; 

Fifth, ICJR asks Minister Yasonna to immediately compile a road map for criminal policy reform, this includes: 1) Reform of criminal law that relies on the protection of human rights, civil and political freedom, humanism and democracy; and 2) Reform of the criminal justice system policy which is accountable, open, integrative, and guarantees the fulfillment of the rights of suspects, defendants, witnesses, and victims of crime. This roadmap is expected to be a reference in reforming criminal policies, including among others the establishment of criminal law under guarantees for the protection of human rights and civil liberties. (des)