Ethics Council Hears Complainants on Justices’ Alleged Violations

The Constitutional Court Ethics Council’s first hearing on alleged violations of codes of ethics and conduct by the constitutional justices, Tuesday (10/31/2023). Photo by MKRI/Bayu.

JAKARTA (MKRI) — The Constitutional Court Ethics Council (Majelis Kehormatan Mahkamah Konstitusi or MKMK) held its first hearing on Tuesday, October 31, 2023 on the reports of alleged violations of codes of ethics and conduct by Chief Justice Anwar Usman. At this preliminary examination hearing, the Council presented four complainants: Denny Indrayana, Zico Leonard Djagardo Simanjuntak, Yusuf Legal Aid Institute, and representatives of fifteen professors/academics affiliated with the Constitutional and Administrative Law Society (CALS).

The fifteen academics reported Chief Justice Anwar Usman for alleged conflict of interest. They believe the Court’s recent decisions were unlawful. “If alleged serious violations, especially relating to conflict of interest, are discovered, it will be ground for heavy sanction in the form of dishonorable dismissal,” said CALS’ legal counsel Violla Reininda.

Viola explained that there is potential conflict of interest during the examination of case No. 90/PUU-XXI/2023. “The ruling has changed the age requirement for presidential tickets, which in turn allowed Solo mayor Gibran Rakabuming Raka to run in the 2024 presidential election. Gibran is Anwar’s nephew,” she said.

Chief Justice Anwar Usman was also thought to have violated the principles of capability and thoroughness for not performing his leadership function optimally and not enforcing procedural law as he should have. “The absence of judicial leadership is related to his leadership when facing concurring opinions by two constitutional justices, whose substance was actually dissenting opinions. This created an anomaly in the Constitutional Court ruling,” she stressed.

The next complainant, Denny Indrayana, said a few things on alleged violation of code of ethics by Chief Justice Anwar Usman. “There was indiction that Decision [No. 90/PUU-XXI/2023] was a result of a planned and organized crime, so [I] can call it a mega-scandal of a family court,” he said online from Sydney, Australia.

Denny also said that Chief Justice Anwar Usman should have recused himself knowing from case No. 90/PUU-XXI/2023 that was related to his family members, President Joko Widodo and the president’s firstborn Gibran Rakabuming Raka. He also stated that Gibran had benefitted from the ruling as he registered to the KPU (General Elections Commission) as a vice-presidential candidate alongside presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto.

“Given these elements, it would not be appropriate that such ethics violation and political crime was considered as an ordinary violation and crime, for which a mere ethics sanction be sufficient,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, advocates of Yusuf Legal Aid Institute—another complainant—demanded that Chief Justice Anwar Usman be dishonorably dismissed. “We request that the MKMK hands down a sanction of dishonorable dismissal if the conflict of interest by Chief Justice Anwar Usman and/or any other constitutional justices is proven,” said the institute’s director Yusuf Mirza Zulkarnaen.

Yusuf believes the chief justice’s action was in violation of Article 17 paragraph (3) of Law No. 48 on the Judicial Power. “This article basically stipulates that a judge shall recuse themselves from a trial if they have kinship by blood or marriage until the third degree, or marital relation regardless of divorce, with the chief or one of the associate judges, prosecutors, advocates, or registrars,” he said.

The institute requested that the Ethics Council follow up on all reports or findings on alleged violations of codes of ethics and conduct by constitutional justices openly and transparently.

The next complainant, Zico Leonard Djagardo Simanjuntak, reported Chief Justice Anwar Usman for alleged violation of code of ethics. He alleged that the chief justice had let a permanent MKMK not be founded until today. The Jimly Asshiddiqqie-led council is an ad hoc one, not a permanent one.

“I am reporting Chief Justice Anwar Usman for violation of code of ethics. During the formation of the Ethics Body and the MKMK, first, [he] purposefully let the body vacuum from the end of 2021 to the beginning of 2023 so reports of ethics violations could not be processed. So, on September 7, 2020, the new Constitutional Court Law came into force—Law No. 7 of 2020. Before it was enacted, it was an Ethics Body, but the enacted law mandates the formation of the MKMK,” he stressed.

He believes that Chief Justice Anwar Usman had prevented the council’s formation. “But, the issue for me is that I received info that Anwar Usman purposefully did not want the Constitutional Court to have a supervisory body in 2021-2023. I wrote who gave me the info. So, the Court does not have a supervisory body because Anwar Usman rejected a Constitutional Court Regulation (PMK) on the MKMK to oversee the Constitutional Court,” he said.

The MKMK has started its proceedings by asking all complainants to submit evidence. Next, they will hear testimonies by all nine reported constitutional justices.

Also read:

Constitutional Court Ethics Council Members Inaugurated

MKMK Holds Meeting to Clarify Reports of Alleged Ethics Violations by Justices  

Author       : Bayu Wicaksono
Editor        : Nur R.
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.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023 | 20:45 WIB 305