Justice Suhartoyo Speaks at Training for Prospective Prosecutors

Constitutional Justice Suhartoyo speaking at a prosecutor education and training (PPPJ) Batch LXXX group I in 2023, Tuesday (9/12/2023). Photo by MKRI/Ilham W.M.

JAKARTA, MKRI — Constitutional Justice Suhartoyo delivered a presentation on “Litigating in the Constitutional Court” at a prosecutor education and training (PPPJ) Batch LXXX group I in 2023 organized by the Prosecution Office’s Training Agency at the Sasana Adhika Karya hall, Tuesday, September 12, 2023. Head of the training center Khunaifi Alhumami moderated the discussion.

Justice Suhartoyo stated to the 393 prospective prosecutors from all over Indonesia that proceedings in the Constitutional Court does not require fees. The petitioner may appoint a legal counsel, who does not need to be an advocate, to appear before the Court. The petitioner and/or respondent may also bring a counsel who understands the law. The Court does this to ensure that the public has the broadest possible access to justice.

“To have legal standing in the Court, there is a cumulative requirement: if the petitioner’s rights and/or constitutional authority granted by the 1945 Constitution are impaired by the enactment of a Law,” he said.

Justice Suhartoyo said the Court had decided the review of the Employment Law that used to prohibit marriage between employees of the same office. The petitioners argued that employees cannot determine who they will marry.

“Therefore, the Court held that the petitioners suffered a constitutional loss,” he said.

Justice Suhartoyo then explained that the Court uses the term “petition,” not “lawsuit” for its judicial review cases because there is only one party in the case (voluntair). The president, Government, and the DPR (House of Representatives are not defendants but those who offer testimonies. The term “petition” implies that judicial review is not a dispute on the parties’ interests (contention, adversarial, interparties).

“Therefore, the proceedings in the Court are similar with voluntary adversarial cases in the religious and civil courts,” he said.

Answering a participant’s question on the Court’s authority to review government regulations in lieu of laws (perppu), he Suhartoyo explained it is based on consideration that perppu creates new legal norms that have the same validity as laws.

“The Constitution does not state that the Court can review the perppu both materially and formally, but only mentions the judicial review of laws against the Constitution. However, in its journey, the Court gave an interpretation that it could review the perppu, on the ground that it is equal to laws. Nowadays even there are several cases on the formal review of the perppu,” he said.

Responding to the public perception that the Court has become a positive legislator, Justice Suhartoyo stated that the Court can offer interpretation to norms, thus differs from the public perception thus far. Furthermore, laws are public property, so no one may protect them from review.

Aside from the judicial review of laws, the Court has the authority to decide authority disputes between state institutions (SKLN) whose authority is mentioned in the Constitution. Justice Suhartoyo said in such cases there are petitioner and defendant, so it is a contention case.

The next authority of the Court is to decide disputes over the results of general election of president/vice president, House of Representatives (DPR), Regional Representatives Council (DPD), and Regional Legislative Council (DPRD). It also has the authority to decide the disbandment of political parties, in which the president acts as the petitioner and the attorney general as the president’s legal counsel.

In addition, the Court is obligated to decide on the House’s opinion on an alleged violation of law by the president and/or vice president. Meanwhile the Court has an additional authority to decide on disputes over the regional head election.

Answering a participant’s question on constitutional complaint, Justice Suhartoyo said that the Court does not have this authority even though the constitutional complaint is necessary for citizens to obtain justice. However, this authority is left to the MPR to decide through amendments to the 1945 Constitution, or to legislators as is the case with the granting of authority to decide disputes over election results.

Constitutional Court Decisions

The Constitutional Court’s decisions are final and binding. However, Justice Suhartoyo said that if someone files a new petition with new and strong arguments, the Court may change its stance.

“Everyone is bound by the Constitutional Court’s decision since it is read out at a ruling hearing, just as everyone is bound by law,” he said.

Maintaining Prosecutor’s Integrity

Justice Suhartoyo advised the prosecutors to have integrity and competencies. He observed that young prosecutors nowadays are critical, as evidenced by judicial review petitions filed by prosecutors.

He also reminded the participants to gain experience when serving in a small town. He also shared a bit of his experience as a judge in a remote area. Experiences serving in remote areas, he said, can serve as a learning curve.

Author       : Ilham W.M.
Editor        : Nur R.
Translator  : Nyi Mas Laras Nur Inten Kemalasari/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.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023 | 16:12 WIB 198