Sapta Karsa Hutama and the Importance of Permanent MKMK

I Dewa Gede Palguna (former constitutional justice, 2003-2008 and 2015-2020) testifying as an expert at the MKMK examination hearing, Friday (11/3/2023). Photo by MKRI/Bayu.

JAKARTA (MKRI) — After creating the Constitutional Court’s first product, the Constitutional Court Regulation No. 03/PMK/2003 on the procedure for hearings in the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Indonesia, the constitutional justices felt the need for supervision on themselves. Then, a code of ethics and a code of conduct for were established for them, as stipulated in the Constitutional Court Regulation No. 02/PMK/2003 on the code of ethics and code of conduct of constitutional justices. Furthermore, based on several principles including those coming from the Indonesian cultures, Sapta Karsa Hutama was created.

The statement was made by I Dewa Gede Palguna (former constitutional justice, 2003-2008 and 2015-2020) as an Expert witness presented by Zico Leonard Djagardo Simanjuntak (Complainant of report No. 14/MKMK/L/ARLTP/10/2023) at an examination hearing of the Constitutional Court Ethics Council (Majelis Kehormatan Mahkamah Konstitusi or MKMK) on Friday, November 3, 2023.

Before MKMK chair Jimly Asshiddiqie, secretary Wahiduddin Adams, and member Bintan Saragih, Palguna also recounted in more detail that in the Court’s second product mentioned an ethics council for the Constitutional Court, whose members were expected to come from outside the Constitutional Court.

“This was meant to prevent [the justices] from protecting each other. So with this composition, if a justice violated the code of ethics, they can no longer avoid [repercussions]. This spirit was brought by Mr. Jimly [Asshiddiqie, first chief constitutional justice] and the nine of us at the time. Several justices, such as the late Mr. [Achmad] Rustandi, Mr. Maruarar Siahan, the late Mr. Natabaya, and I had special duties. We created a code of ethics and code of conduct and created Sapta Karsa Hutama. It is the guidelines and code of ethics for constitutional justices ratified during Mr. Jimly’s term and are used until today,” Palguna said.

The Spirit of Supervision

Palguna also explained the ups and downs and establishment of the ethics council. However, due to changes in the Constitutional Court Law, the council was disbanded. An ad hoc council was finally established to address findings submitted to the Court on alleged ethics violations by the constitutional justices. Palguna acknowledged the importance of establishing a permanent MKMK, which the ad hoc council had mentioned in its decision, as there is no special body to supervise the constitutional justices aside from the council.

“Meanwhile, the spirit of supervision has been instilled since the beginning. It highlights the importance of establishing a permanent MKMK because the Court must be aware of the significant authority entrusted to it,” Palguna explained.

Principle of Impartiality

In addition, legal counsel of the Indonesian Democratic Advocates Association (Persatuan Advokat Demokrasi Indonesia or PADI), Charles Situmorang, with report No. 21/MKMK/L/ARLTP/10/2023, conveyed the association’s legal interests in the first session of the MKMK’s preliminary examination hearing. As an association for advocates, PADI has contributed to supervising the running of the judiciary. As such, it felt that there had been a direct interest in the alleged violation committed by Chief Justice Anwar Usman. At the ruling hearing on October 16, two justices expressed dissenting opinions that mentioned the reason for the Reported’s absence during one of the justice deliberation meetings (RPH). He cited two different reasons for the absence. PADI believes this to be a violation of the principle of impartiality as stated in the Constitutional Court Regulation No. 09/PMK/2006 on the implementation of the declaration of code of ethics and conduct for constitutional justices.

“While at Sultan Agung Islamic University, the Reported also made a public comment about young leaders. It leaned very heavy to [a particular individual].... We hereby request the MKMK to hand down a verdict by declaring the Reported guilty of having violated the code of ethics as stated in Sapta Karsa Hutama, especially the principle of impartiality,” Situmorang explained.

Also read:

Constitutional Court Ethics Council Members Inaugurated

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

Ethics Council Hears Complainants on Justices’ Alleged Violations

Complainants Affirm Legal Principles behind Allegation of Ethics Violations by Justices

Author       : Sri Pujianti
Editor        : Nur R.
Translator  : Najwa Afifah Lukman/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.

Friday, November 03, 2023 | 19:20 WIB 216