AACC Short Course Talks Digital Transformation in Improving Democracy

JAKARTA (MKRI) — In the second session of the Sixth International Short Course of the Association of Asian Constitutional Courts and Equivalent Institutions (AACC) on Thursday, August 10, 2023, I Dewa Gede Palguna, former constitutional justice of 2003-2008 and 2015-2020, Secretary-General Murat Sen of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Türkiye, and head of the Doctoral Programs of the Law Faculty of Universitas Sebelas Maret Hartiwiningsih delivered their presentations on “Digital Transformation and its Role in Improving Democracy.”

Palguna said that currently the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Indonesia is also authorized to decide disputes over the results of regional head elections. “I would like to share my two cents that we agree that the main elements of the Constitutional Court’s authority in this digital era are transparency, accountability, and access to justice for all,” he emphasized.

In terms of digitization, he said, from the beginning the Constitutional Court was guided by its vision of becoming a modern and trusted judicial institution. “With such a vision, [the Court] made extraordinary efforts to maximize access to the court for people with interest in the judiciary,” he said.

Palguna believes the legislation has accommodated the use of information and communications technology (ICT) in the judiciary, thus providing very broad and convenient access to justice seekers throughout Indonesia. With the online application system, parties who want to litigate do not have to come directly to the court.

“They need only to file their petition electronically. This is very helpful because it not only expands access to the courts but also provides efficiency and effectiveness,” he explained.

In the next presentation, Hartiwiningsih said globalization has brought modern society to the era of information technology or industrial revolution 5.0, where humankind lives amidst rapidly-developing technology in the fields of law, politics, economy, science and technology, culture, education, and social science.

Globalization has made all aspects of human life more advanced, better, more prosperous, easier, and faster in global, transparent, borderless, interconnected, and interdependent ecosystem. The prosperity enjoyed by the global community is thanks to none other than digital transformation, which has penetrated the life of society, nation, and state. In terms of economy, there are now e-wallets e-Money, OVO, and Gopay; online transactions through e-banking; e-commerce; and transactions with debit and credit cards.

She also talked about digital transformation in the legal world such as e-Court, the digitalization of regulations, e-participation through which the public can provide input in lawmaking, e-enactment through which requesting enactment of regulations can be done online, e-litigation that manages information about hearings in the Constitutional Court. All these are based on information technology and aimed at optimizing the dissemination of information related to court hearings.

Strengthening Democracy

In the sharing session, Sojung Kim, Rapporteur Judge of Constitutional Court of the Republic of Korea, said that digital transformation has had a significant impact on the medium and means through which one of the most important elements of democracy, election campaigns, take place. In the past, traditional one-way media such as TV and printed materials, including televised speeches, newspaper advertisements, election leaflets, and banners, was used to inform voters about candidates and their policies and persuade them. However, after the digital transformation, efforts shifted towards two-way communication on online platforms such as social media, where candidates could deliver their messages and rally supporters. The timing of this transformation may vary from one country to another, but in the case of South Korea, significant changes occurred after the widespread adoption of high-speed internet in the 2000s.

Consequently, the nature of constitutional issues related to election campaigns has also changed at the Constitutional Court of Korea. Previously, the main focus was on whether restrictions imposed on traditional campaign methods, as mentioned earlier, were infringing on candidates' freedom of campaigning or if these restrictions were applied equally to all candidates. The Court has examined whether regulations prohibiting the publication of irregular academic credentials in campaign promotional materials violated campaign freedom (99Hun-Ba5, September 16, 1999).

“It has also examined whether election laws limiting participation in debates organized by local broadcasting organizations to candidates recommended by parties with more than five members in the National Assembly or parties that received more than 3% of the votes in the previous election, or candidates who obtained more than 10% of the votes in recent elections or showed a public support rate of over 5% in opinion polls for district representative elections violated rights to equality,” she explained.

Next, a representative of the Malaysian Judiciary explained that digital transformation offers the Malaysian judiciary a distinctive chance to modernize and reinforce its role in upholding democracy and the rule of law. By embracing technology, the judiciary can improve efficiency, transparency, and accessibility while upholding democratic values. However, it must proceed with caution, addressing potential challenges and ensuring that digitalization aligns with democratic principles.

As previously discussed, judicial digital transformation can have substantial effects on democracy, encompassing both positive and negative aspects. To ensure a positive impact, it is imperative to address the challenges and risks, prioritize inclusivity, and steadfastly uphold democratic values of transparency, fairness, and accountability throughout the digitalization process. By doing so, the judiciary can leverage technology to strengthen democracy and promote a just and accessible legal system.

The successful integration of digital technologies by the Malaysian judiciary will lead the way towards a more inclusive, efficient, and democratic legal system. This serves as an exemplary model for other democracies grappling with similar transformative challenges.

Also read: AACC Holds Sixth Short Course

As a permanent secretariat of the AACC, the MKRI is always committed to advancing the association on all counts, in terms of capacity building for the working level of the member states in addition to planning and coordination as well as implementation of activities for the justices. One of the ways is by organizing AACC short courses.

Author       : Utami Argawati
Editor        : Lulu Anjarsari P.
Translator  : Yuniar Widiastuti (NL)

Disclaimer: The original version of the news is in Indonesian. In case of any differences between the English and the Indonesian versions, the Indonesian version will prevail.

August 10th, 2023 | 21:43:51 WIB