MKMK Chair Jimly Asshiddiqie chairing an examination hearing into allegations of ethics violations against constitutional justices, Tuesday (11/7/2023). Photo by MKRI/Ifa.
JAKARTA (MKRI) — The Constitutional Court Ethics Council (Majelis Kehormatan Mahkamah Konstitusi or MKMK) decided that Chief Justice Anwar Usman has committed a violation against the Sapta Karsa Hutama (constitutional justices’ code of ethics and conduct) principles of impartiality, integrity, competence and equality, independence, and propriety and decency. As a result, it removes him from the position of chief justice of the Constitutional Court. “[The MKMK] hands down a sanction of dismissal from the position of chief justice of the Constitutional Court on the reported justice.”
The decision was delivered by MKMK chair Jimly Asshiddiqie alongside members Wahiduddin Adams and Bintan R. Saragih at the pronouncement hearing for Decision No. 02/MKMK/L/11/2023 on Tuesday, November 7, 2023 in the plenary courtroom.
Further in the verdict, the MKMK mandated the deputy chief justice to lead the election of a new chief justice in accordance with statutory laws and regulations within 2x24 hours after the verdict was pronounced. Additionally, Justice Anwar Usman would not be eligible to run for or be nominated as chief justice until his tenure ends. He is also prohibited from being involved in or participating in the examination and decision-making process of disputes over the results of the election of president-vice president; members of the House of Representatives (DPR), Regional Representatives Council (DPD), Regional Legislative Council (DPRD); and governors, regents, and mayors, which may potentially involve conflicts of interest.
MKMK member Bintan R. Saragih gave a dissenting opinion. He stated Justice Anwar should be dishonorable dismissed as a constitutional justice. As a lecturer since 1971, Saragih had an academic perspective that it was proven that Justice Anwar had committed a serious violation that warrant dishonorable dismissal.
“My grounds for giving a dissenting opinion of ‘dishonorable dismissal’ to the reported justice as a constitutional justice, in casu Anwar Usman, is because the reported justice was proven to have committed a serious violation. The sanction for ‘serious violations’ is only ‘dishonorable dismissal’ and there are no other sanctions as stipulated in Article 41 letter c and Article 47 of the Constitutional Court Regulation No. 1 of 2023 on the Ethics Council of the Constitutional Court,” he emphasized.
Constitutional Court Ethics Council Members Inaugurated
MKMK Holds Meeting to Clarify Reports of Alleged Ethics Violations by Justices
MKMK received 21 reports of alleged violations of code of ethics by constitutional justices related to Decision No. 90/PUU-XXI/2023 on the judicial review of Law No. 7 of 2017 on General Elections (Election Law). In response to these reports, the MKMK had held examination hearings until it made its ruling. It divided the reports into four complaints: No. 02/MKMK/L/11/2023 by Denny Indrayana et al. against Chief Justice Anwar Usman; No. 03/MKMK/L/11/2023 by People’s Advocacy for the Archipelago (ARUN), et al. against Deputy Chief Justice Saldi Isra; No. 04/MKMK/L/11/2023 by Cipta Karya Keadilan legal aid institute, et al. against Constitutional Justice Arief Hidayat; and No. 05/MKMK/L/11/2023 by the Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI), et al. against Constitutional Justices Manahan M.P. Sitompul, Enny Nurbaningsih, Wahiduddin Adams, Suhartoyo, Daniel Yusmic P. Foekh, and M. Guntur Hamzah.
Ethics Council Hears Complainants on Justices’ Alleged Violations
Complainants Reveal Reasons and Evidence of Alleged Ethics Violations by Justices
Complainants Affirm Legal Principles behind Allegation of Ethics Violations by Justices
Disclosing Justice Deliberation Meeting
In Decision No. 03/MKMK/L/11/2023 on Chief Justice Saldi Isra through decision No. 03/MKMK/L/11/2023, the MKMK stated that the reported justice was not proven to have violated code of ethics in relation dissenting opinions. However, it was determined that he and the other justices committed an ethics violation concerning the leakage of confidential information of the justice deliberation meetings (RPH) and neglecting conflict of interest while handling the cases.
“[The MKMK] hands down a collective verbal warning against the reported justice and the other constitutional justices,” said chairman Jimly Asshiddiqie, reading out the verdict.
The MKMK in its opinion, read out by Wahiduddin Adams, held that the dissenting opinion of Justice Saldi Isra was not proven to have violated the code of ethics of constitutional justices. However, it held that he, along with the other justices, had been unable to keep confidential information of the closed justice deliberation meeting, thereby violating the principles of propriety and decency.
In Decision No. 04/MKMK/L/11/2023, the MKMK held that Justice Arief Hidayat was not proven to have violated the code of ethics of constitutional justices relating to dissenting opinions.
“The reported justice was proven to have violated Sapta Karsa Hutama, the principles of propriety and decency, relating to public statements that discredited the Court and [the MKMK] imposes a written warning sanction,” said chairman Jimly Asshiddiqie reading out the verdict.
In verdict, Jimly also stated that Justice Arief along with the other justices were proven to have violated code of ethics as stipulated in Sapta Karsa Hutama, the principles of propriety and decency, on the leakage of confidential information of the justice deliberation meeting and neglecting conflict of interest while handling the cases, and imposed a collective verbal warning.
Delivering the MKMK’s opinion, Bintan R. Saragih pointed out that a speech delivered by Justice Arief Hidayat at the National Law Conference on Wednesday, October 25, 2023 and in several media outlets was an effort to contribute to the intellectual development of the nation. Although in the speech he expressed his concerns about the legal development and enforcement in Indonesia, his show if “black attire” as an expression of mourning was inappropriate.
The MKMK held that he should have, prior to delivering that speech, worked to build positive public perception of the Court. Any attitudes and statements showing otherwise may potentially erode public trust in the institutional integrity of the Court.
Conflict of Interest
Lastly, in the verdict for Decision No. 05/MKMK/L/11/2023 against Constitutional Justices Manahan M.P. Sitompul, Enny Nurbaningsih, Wahiduddin Adams, Suhartoyo, Daniel Yusmic P. Foekh, and M. Guntur Hamzah, the MKMK stated that the reported justices were jointly proven to have violated code of ethics as stated in Sapta Karsa Hutama, the principles of propriety and decency.
““[The MKMK] hands down a collective verbal warning to the reported justices,” said Chairman Jimly Asshiddiqie reading out the verdict.
During the examination hearings, the MKMK obtained facts that could have potentially led to conflicts of interest in the decision-making process. In the opinion for Decision No. 96/PUUXVIII/2020, there was a conflict of interest relating to the tenure of constitutional justices and the tenure of the chief justice and deputy chief justice. Said opinion, he added, is an example where cases with potential conflicts of interest are not carefully examined with convincing arguments. The MKMK asserted that there had been a tradition of examining norms that might have related to personal interests that can provide benefits and personal gain.
The Council also held that case No. 90/PUU-XXI/2023 had potential conflict of interest involving the chief justice. It would not have happened if every justice had a high level of sensitivity and vigilance towards the issue of conflict of interest. Additionally, the justices no longer remind one another of such a thing.
“The justices jointly allowed the practice of violating code of ethics of constitutional justices without the serious intent to remind each other, including the chief justice, due to reluctance of causing disharmony. Thus, the principle of equality among the justices was neglected and ethics violations occurred. Therefore, the reported parties are proven to have jointly violated Sapta Karsa Hutama, the principles of propriety and decency,” Jimly said, reading out the conclusions, recommendations, and verdict for Decision No. 05/MKMK/L/11/2023.
Also read: Sapta Karsa Hutama and the Importance of Permanent MKMK
The MKMK held preliminary and further examination hearings by listening to the testimonies of the complainants, reported justices, constitutional justices, experts, and witnesses on 21 reports since Thursday, October 26 until Friday, November 3, 2023. The 21 complainants are: Integrity with Report No. 1/MKMK/L/ARLTP/10/2023; Perekat Nusantara Advocates Movement with Report No. 2/MKMK/L/ARLTP/10/2023; Advocacy Team for Elections (TAPP) with Report No. 3/MKMK/L/ARLTP/10/2023; People’s Advocacy for Nusantara (ARUN) with Report No. 4/MKMK/L/ARLTP/10/2023; Ahmad Fatoni with Report No. 5/MKMK/L/ARLTP/10/2023; Cipta Karya Keadilan legal aid institute with Report No. 6/MKMK/L/ARLTP/10/2023; Madani Youth Association with Report No. 7/MKMK/L/ARLTP/10/2023; Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI) with Report No. 8/MKMK/L/ARLTP/10/2023; Tim Advokasi Peduli Hukum Indonesia (TAPHI) with Report No. 9/MKMK/L/ARLTP/10/2023; Barisan Relawan Jalan Perubahan legal aid institute with Report No. 10/MKMK/L/ARLTP/10/2023; Constitutional and Administrative Law Society (CALS) with Report No. 11/MKMK/L/ARLTP/10/2023; Marthen Y. Siwabessy, Anggie Tanjung, and Ruth Yosephine Tobing with Report No. 12/MKMK/L/ARLTP/10/2023; Yusuf legal aid institute with Report No. 12/MKMK/L/ARLTP/10/2023; Zico Leonard Djagardo Simanjuntak with Report No. 14/MKMK/L/ARLTP/10/2023; Advokat Pengawal Konstitusi with Report No. 15/MKMK/L/ARLTP/10/2023; Independent Election Monitoring Committee (KIPP) with Report No. 16/MKMK/L/ARLTP/10/2023; Advocate LISAN with Report No. 17/MKMK/L/ARLTP/10/2023; Tumpak Nainggolan with Report No. 18/MKMK/L/ARLTP/10/2023; student executive body of Nahdlatul Ulama University of Indonesia (BEM Unusia) with Report No. 19/MKMK/L/ARLTP/10/2023; Alamsyah Hanafiah advocate office with Report No. 20/MKMK/L/ARLTP/10/2023; and Indonesian Democratic Advocates Association (PADI) with Report No. 21/MKMK/L/ARLTP/10/2023.
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.
Tuesday, November 07, 2023 | 22:32 WIB 187