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Feeling that his independecy and impartiality was at doubt, the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, Mahfud MD, promised to prove it. The commitment to act independently and impartially was emphasized again after he was sworn-in as the new Chief Justice.

The throne of leadership in the Constitutional Court has changed. Jimly Asshiddiqie who had lead the Court for two periods needed to step down. Mahfud MD who had been in the Court less than a year, came out as the new Chief Justice. The election process was tough. The professor in constitutional law from Indonesian Islamic University outruled Jimly with one vote. 

However, as the change took place, there is a doubt. Whether or not Mahfud MD could maintain independency and impartiality of the Court? His background as a politician from the National Awakening Party was often used as the reason. Moreover, in the near future the Court would settle the dispute over the result of the general election which is possibly to involve the party where Mahfud once joined.

Mahfud tiredlessly emphasized his commitment. It is common because when he was sworn in as a constitution justice, critics about his background also raise. This time, when he was sworn in as the Chief Justice, Mahfud again emphasized to counter such critics. “I will do anything for the independency and impartiality (of the Court-ed),” he said in the Court’s Room Thursday (21/8).

He said the restatement of his commitment was aimed at parties who were still in doubt of his independency and impartiality. Mahfud said that a justice should not be dictated by anyone. “I will prove it,” he promised. Mahfud saw all doubts as challenges, not obstacles. He wished that the restatement of this commitment was to erase prejudice among the people.

Mahfud was not only making a promise. During his time in the Court, Mahfud admitted that he had proven his neutrality. He told about the claim for judicial review on Act on Legislative Election filed by Head of Branch Office of National Awakening Party in Alor East Nusa Tenggara, Julius Daniel Elias Kaat. “The claim was denied unanimously, no dissenting opinion,” he said.

Still, even though Mahfud said that the file was denied unanimously, the decision related with the criminal requirement to be a member of the legislative was actually “titled” conditionally constitutional.

The emphasize that Mahfud is "clean" from political parties gains support from his colleague and contender in the Chief Justice Election, Jimly Asshiddiqie. He mentioned that everybody had different background. “We once had a constitution justice coming from military,” revealed Jimly. The justice mentioned was Achmad Roestandi who has retired.

Jimly revealed that he was actually once active in political parties. “I was once a member of a political party. At least there is a sense of it,” added Jimly. The Professor in Constitutional Law from The University of Indonesia was once active in Golkar party. He emphasized that the most important thing was independecy and impartiality had to be principles upheld by each constitution justice. “We do not have to question the justice’s background,” he said.

Wish for Mahfud

New leader means new hope. Public Officers until law practicioners who attended the swearing in ceremony of Mahfud as the Chief Justice had their expectations. Vice Chairman of the City Council, La Ode Ida had his own expectation. “It is hoped that (Mahfud-ed) shows a mild leadership,” said the man who once banned from entering the court room by Jimly because of having insulted the court or contempt of court.

The President of Indonesian Advocate Congress (KAI), Indra Sahnun Lubis, saw Mahfud as a qualified person. Mahfud’s track who once became the Minister of Defense, Member of the Parliament and law expert had positive values. “He has been involved in law enforcement long enough,” he said. For the future, he continued, figure like Mahfud was needed to face the 2009 General Election.

(Ali) translated by Yogi Djatnika

Source (25/08/08)

Photo courtesy of Constitutional Court Public Relation Document


Tuesday, August 26, 2008 | 09:34 WIB 195
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