by : M. Yamin Panca Setia

"BELI ketupat dan kue talam. Simpan di kulkas agar tak basi. Rapat komisi dari pagi hingga malam. Gagas ide untuk memasarkan konstitusi." (Buy rice cake and talam. Keep them in the fridge to keep fresh. Commission meeting started from the morning to dawn. To create ideas on how to market the constitution)

The comical verses was delivered by the Secretary General of the Constitutional Court, Janedjri M. Gaffar. "More, Sir," requested the participants. Gaffar then smilede. "Shall I continue? Alright," he added.

"Ikan Nila di atas batu. Di tabur garam dalam bejana. Bapak-bapak dekan marilah saling bantu. Agar program program video conference terlaksana." (Nila fish on the stone. Put some salt on the cooking pot. All deans let us help each other. So the video conference programs can be realized)

Cheering and laughters immediately filled the room. Not only is the Secretary General of the institution that acts as the guardian of the constitution excellent in handling the chores of the Constitutional Court, but he is also capable of making comical verses.

Because he was afraid to be asked for more verses, Gaffar then said, "I think it should be stopped right now. This is not a verse competition. This is the commission report session," he said with laughter.

That was the closing session of the Coordination Meeting between the Constitutional Court with the Law Faculty and the Constitution Centers all over Indonesia which was held in Jakarta, June 20-22.

The situation was familiar and friendly. The coordination meeting that was attended by some deans, rectors and lecturers of Law Faculty in Indonesia finally reached some agreements on Sunday (22/6).

One of the agreements was that the Constitutional Court would extend the network of the video conference technology in 34 law faculties of State Universities all over Indonesia.

According to the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, Jimly Asshiddiqie, the development of video conference was the opening steps to create slowly the transparency in Indonesian courts that was closed from the people’s access.

"We will give an example on how to build transparency in the court world so that it is transparent. So, for the police and attorney, there should not be grey areas. Be frank," said Jimly when delivering the opening remark of the event, last weekend.

With the transparency, he continued, people would trust the judiciary institutions again the condition of which at the moment was very terrible. "Transparency should be applied in the court area, the Supreme Court, The Supreme Auditors, Indonesian Police, or other institutions. By doing so, people’s believe to legal institutions, law enforcers including the legal system in Indonesia could be restored," he said.

Jimly was worried about the attitude of Indonesian People that at the moment continuously paid attention to the bad condition of the institution and law enforcers that could not do their tasks in enforcing law. If this kind of situation continued, Jimly feared that the life and democracy in Indonesia would fall apart.

"The condition of law in Indonesia was critical. People everywhere appealed, booed at that rule of law, appealed against the judiciary institutions and law. This is dangerous. If this continues, and can not be stopped, then the State constellation will fall apart. Including the falling of the democratic principles that we agreed on," said Jimly.

Through the video conference technology, the people involved did not have to come to the Constitutional Court in Jakarta to join the trial process.

Then, if the trial was conducted, they did not have to come to Jakarta. For the evidences examination, for example we needed to invite the Ballot Counting Committee (PPS) in the regional election disputes, then to reduce the costs; we used the teleconference in the moot court room in law faculties. So, the trial was still in Jakarta, but the involved parties, experts, the election committee, witnesses in the areas did not have to go to Jakarta, just use the video conference facility," explained Jimly.

According to Gaffar, the display had a fundamental function in fulfilling the constitutional rights of Indonesian people. With the technology, the Court’s trials could be held long-distant, the case appealing and consultation could be done via online, and the knowledge understanding enrichment for the stakeholders about The Court and its Procedural Law through the Moot Court (imitation trial).

Meanwhile for the universities, he said, the facility could support the general course, telephone connection, videophone, or internet connection of the Constitutional Court with the Universities, or between universities. The technology could then be used as the law information center and online library.

The Media of Education

Whereas so far the task of the Constitutional Court was only in the capital city Jakarta, with this program, the Constitutional Court wanted to open the access for the people to the judiciary institution.

For the Universities, said Gaffar, the Constitutional Court wanted to establish the Friends of The Court through the 8.5 million rupiahs technology funded by the State. The technology was under construction in all law faculties of the 34 State Universities in Indonesia. The technology was also expected to be the education media for students to know better the constitutional justice.

In July 2008, the technology was expected to operate in campus. The finance was taken from the Constitutional Court budget. Every university was allocated 250 million rupiahs. "This uses the Constitutional Court budget approved by Commission III of the Parliament," he said.

Gaffar stated that the program would be put on trial through the MoU with Dean of law faculties in Indonesia for five years. The function was to reduce the discrepancy of understanding between the universities in Jakarta and in other areas. Besides that, it would give opportunity for the people to join the trial or the filing of the case online.

The Coordination Body Coordinator of the Law Faculty in Indonesia, Hikmahanto Juwana said that the Constitutional Court and the law faculty of State University in Indonesia had set a new history in law development in Indonesia.

The cooperation agreement with the Constitutional Court, he said, showed that the education in law field in Indonesia had helped improving the Court in Indonesia. "This is important because we know in Indonesia at the moment many said that the trial was terrible," he said.

Through the improvement

Even though so, Hikmahanto considered that Indonesian justice system at the moment was heading for improvement through the Constitutional Court that had shown that if the justice system could be conducted transparently in the legal decision taking, then there would not have been a suspicion for the decision was made with money involved. "The decision is made based on rules, justice and the judges’ beliefs."

The dean of Law Faculty of University of Indonesia added that the cooperation with the Constitutional Court could be used as the law education institution to improve the education quality. The law education was often accused of being the cause why law in Indonesia did not work properly.

"Starting today, we are trying to improve; we thank The Constitutional Court that has facilitated the education world to take part in developing justice in Indonesia. Today we start the cooperation with the Constitutional Court, in the future we will have stronger cooperation with the Supreme Court and other judiciary institutions," he said.

Hikmahanto added that the video conference would then become the interaction facility for students and lecturers in law faculties all over Indonesia, also in famous universities in the world. Interaction via video conference has been done between the University of Indonesia and University of Berkeley, University of New York, and Waseda University. From the interaction, at least, said Hikmahanto, the law education in Indonesia could be found left behind compared to those developed in other countries.

Besides developing the application of teleconference, the cooperation between Universities and the Constitutional Court was also realized in form of the publishing of Jurnal Konstitusi (Constitution Journal), also developing "Obrolan Konsitusi" (Constitutional Talk) to disseminate information to the people about the 1945 Constitution and to increase the knowledge and awareness of the people on their constitutional rights. The Constitutional Talk was scheduled to be broadcasted once a month in the Indonesian Radio (RRI) in many areas.


Photo: courtesy of Constitutional Court Public Relation doc.

Translated by Yogi Djatnika (MKRI)

Monday, June 23, 2008 | 15:18 WIB 231