Govt Unprepared to Testify at Hearing on Army Law
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Chief Justice Suhartoyo (right) and Deputy Chief Justice Saldi Isra (left) at a judicial review hearing of Law No. 34 of 2004 on the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI), Thursday (11/16/2023). Photo by MKRI/Ifa.

JAKARTA (MKRI) — The Constitutional Court (MK) held another material judicial review hearing of Law No. 34 of 2004 on the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI Law) on Thursday, November 16, 2023. The hearing for case No. 97/PUU-XXI/2023 was supposed to present the House of Representatives (DPR) and the Government, but the former was indisposed while the latter had sent a letter requesting that the hearing be postponed, citing unpreparedness.

“The House is absent and sent a letter for it, but the Government is present although already sent a letter requesting that the hearing be delayed. What is the intention?” asked Chief Justice Suhartoyo.

In response, on behalf of the Government, advisor for institutional cooperation to the Minister of Defense air vice-marshal (retired) Bambang Eko requested that the hearing be delayed. “The reason for the delay [request] is that the Government still needs time to prepare and finalize the President’s testimony for this case. We still need time, Your Honor. Therefore, we ask that today’s hearing be postponed,” he said.

Chief Justice Suhartoyo stressed that the Petitioners needed certainty over the case, but the Court would give the Government one more chance.

“If the next chance is not used, we will continue the hearing on the next one and regard the Government to have forfeited their right [to present testimony]. Even this hearing was scheduled taking into account other ongoing cases. Although you requested a hearing on the 16th, we will prepare a hearing for Thursday, November 23, 2023,” he explained.

Also read:

Armed Forces Officers Challenge Retirement Age 

Seven Military Officers Request an Interlocutory Decision on Retirement Age

The Petitioners are active and retired TNI officers: rear admiral Kresno Buntoro, Law Corps colonel Sumaryo, staff sergeant Suwardi, retired naval captain Lasman Nahampun, retired Law Corps colonel Eko Haryanto, and retired Special Corps second lieutenant Sumanto, and military judge Marwan Suliandi (Petitioners I-VII).

They challenge Article 53 of the TNI Law, which reads, “Officers shall carry out military service until a maximum age of 58 (fifty-eight) years for officers, and 53 (fifty-three) years for enlisted and non-commissioned officers.”

At the preliminary hearing on Thursday, September 7, legal counsel Viktor Santoso Tandiasa although the retirement age of TNI officers has been ruled by the Court in Decision No. 62/PUU-XIX/2021, in which it ordered lawmakers to revise the a quo norm, no change had been made.  

Retirement Age of 60 Years

Tandiasa also asserted that the retirement ages for civil servants in Indonesia should be made equal because many legislations regulating their professions (Police, state civil apparatus/ASN, prosecutors, teachers/lecturers, judges) set the retirement age at 60 years, even 70 years at the highest.

The adjustment to the retirement age of TNI officers to up to 60 years would also show the state’s appreciation for TNI officers’ service while they were in productive age group and would guarantee their welfare for longer or at least on part with members of the Police force, state civil apparatuses, prosecutors, teachers/lecturers, and judges.

Therefore, the Petitioners request a provisional decision, before the Court hands down a final decision, to postpone the enforcement of Article 53 of the TNI Law.

They also request that the Court declare Article 53 of the TNI Law conditionally unconstitutional and not legally binding if not interpreted as “Officers shall carry out military service until a maximum age of 60 (sixty) years for officers, and 58 (fifty-three) years for enlisted and non-commissioned officers.”

Author       : Utami Argawati
Editor        : Nur R.
PR            : Andhini S.F.
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.

Thursday, November 16, 2023 | 17:59 WIB 218
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