House Reveals Change of Statute of Limitation in Criminal Code

Deputy Chief Justice Aswanto opening a material judicial review hearing of Law No. 1 of 1946 on the Criminal Code (KUHP), Monday (10/24/2022). Photo by MKRI/Panji.

Monday, October 24, 2022 | 13:32 WIB

JAKARTA (MKRI)—Constitutional Justice Suhartoyo asked the House of Representatives’ (DPR) view on compensation for victims in cases whose statutes of limitation have expired. He believes the state must interfere with victims in cases such as those the Petitioner was involved in. In the Petitioner’s case, the perpetrator was later captured, but the case’s statute of limitation had expired following Law No. 1 of 1946 on the Criminal Code (KUHP), so it could not be tried. The question was asked after the constitutional justices heard the House’s testimony on the provision of statute of limitation in the Criminal Code on Monday, October 24, 2022.

“What [is the House’s] view on victims who should have been able to demand compensation. There is an option to hold the suspect accountable materially, even though it can be done in a civil case. Or the state interferes. There must be restitution or compensation or whatever for victims like this who need the state’s interference. In cases where the perpetrators cannot be tried, but have been found, but (the case) has expired, [it must be considered] how victims can recover physically and psychologically. [The Court] want [the House’s] view on this,” Justice Suhartoyo explained.

House Commission III member Supriansa said the latest KUHP bill discussed change to the statute of limitation from 18 years to 20 years. This is one way to accommodate Justice Suhartoyo’s input.

“[The House] will take it into consideration this 2-year addition to reach [a statute of] 20 years. Our conclusion, Your Honor, is that it is an opportunity for other law enforcers or the police to look for perpetrators of crimes to be brought to justice,” he responded to case No. 86/PUU-XX/2022 filed by entrepreneur Robiyanto.

Also read: Unable to Find Justice for Parent’s Death, Man Challenges Criminal Code

Degrees of Statute of Limitation

Supriansa also revealed that there are degrees of statute of limitation in prosecution, which serve to guarantee legal certainty both for the victim and the party who will be prosecuted. He further stated that Article 78 of the Criminal Code stipulates an expiration ratio in prosecution, which is based on the severity of the crime, on the basis that the more severe the crime committed, the longer society remembers it.

In other words, the duration of the victim’s and/or witness’ suffering might corresponds to the severity of the crime. As per Article 84 of the Criminal Code, the statute of limitation to prosecute in a criminal case is shorter than that of serving a criminal sentence.

“So, the difference is reasonable and logical because the statute of limitation of serving a criminal sentence is when the perpetrator is declared guilty and sentenced by the court, while the statute of limitation to prosecute is when the perpetrator has not been found guilty by a court verdict,” Supriansa explained.

Also read: Petitioner of Criminal Code Strengthens Argument of Constitutional Impairment

Maintaining Quality of Evidence

Supriansa then explained that the filing of a criminal charge is the effort to uncover an incident as it actually happens at the time of the incident. The disclosure requires evidence whose type and method of use must comply with the provisions of the law. The longer time has passed, the more difficult it will be to obtain such evidence, and the less accurate the witnesses’ memory of the incident will be.

“Therefore, the passage of time will affect the quality of evidence at trial. Thus, the degrees of statute of limitation in Article 78 paragraph (1) of the Criminal Code serve to maintain the quality of evidence at trial and this is justice for the parties,” he said.

The House, he revealed, does not believe Article 78 paragraph (1) point (4) of the Criminal Code relating to the statute of limitation for criminal cases, which the Petitioner claimed to be unfair, is unconstitutional. In contrast, he said, the a quo article provides legal certainty and justice as is commonplace in a criminal law system. To note, the House and the Government are currently discussing the Criminal Code Bill, which will regulate statute of limitation since it is necessary to ensure legal certainty and justice in the future.

Before concluding the session, Deputy Chief Justice Aswanto announced that the next hearing would commence on Monday, November 14, 2022 at 11:00 WIB to hear the House and the Witness and Victim Protection Agency (LPSK).

The Petitioner challenges Article 78 paragraph (1) point 4 of the Criminal Code. His father, Taslim, died on April 14, 2002 after being brutally murdered at the Balai Malam Market, Karimun Village, Tebing Subdistrict, Karimun Regency, Riau Islands Province. He reported it to the Karimun Resort Police. Two people were sentenced to prison for 15 years for the crime, while five others were on the wanted list (DPO). However, the investigation of the two court-ruled suspects was terminated by the National Police on the expiry of the statute of limitation following Article 78 paragraph (1) point (4) of the Criminal Code.

The unfair statute of limitation could lead the perpetrators to be acquitted despite their serious, heinous, and barbaric crime that would warrant death sentence or life imprisonment. Purba added that the a quo article could also potentially harm the Petitioner’s constitutional right to recognition, guarantee, protection, fair legal certainty, and equal treatment before the law because of the statute of limitation for the perpetrators of crimes that warrant death penalty or life imprisonment only expires in 18 years. In addition, the Petitioner could potentially obtain no legal certainty of his father’s death relating to the five suspects that are still at large.

Based on these reasons, the Petitioner requested in his petitum that the Court grant the petition in its entirety and declare Article 78 paragraph (1) point 4 unconstitutional and conditionally not legally binding as long as it is not interpreted “in more than eighteen years and/or 36 years for all crimes upon which capital punishment or life imprisonment is imposed.”

Writer        : Sri Pujianti/LA
Editor        : Lulu Anjarsari P.
PR            : Andhini S. F.
Translator  : Yuniar Widiastuti (NL)

Translation uploaded on 10/25/2022 11:20 WIB

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.

Monday, October 24, 2022 | 13:32 WIB 185
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