Fri, 04 May 2001

Full facilities in troubled areas prepared for judges

JAKARTA (JP): Supreme Court Deputy Chief Justice M. Taufiq noted on Thursday that the government was preparing full facilities for judges who would be deployed to troubled areas, so that they would feel comfortable and not run away like their predecessors.

Within one to two months, he said, a total of 200 judges would be ready to be placed in troubled areas including Maluku, Irian Jaya, Central Kalimantan, Central Sulawesi and Aceh.

"Minister of Justice and Human Rights Baharuddin Lopa and I will accompany them to their new workplaces," he told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting here.

The process takes some time, he added, as there were so many things to be prepared including the selection process and the process of issuing a decree.

"We're also preparing for their needs. The judges receive special facilities such as insurance, travel expenses, a chance to go home twice a year, and housing," Taufiq said.

The facilities, he added, were aimed at encouraging the judges to remain in the areas.

The legal system in a number of troubled areas has almost collapsed as many judges have fled for security reasons.

Lopa had earlier said that the decision to send the judges to the troubled areas was taken last month in a meeting with Vice President Megawati and other government's officials.

He also noted that Supreme Court justices and first echelon officials from the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights would accompany the judges to their destinations.

Taufiq said on Thursday that the Supreme Court was now also selecting judges for the ad hoc tribunal to prosecute human right abuses.

President Abdurrahman Wahid has just issued a decree on the establishment of an ad hoc tribunal last Monday, to prosecute two major cases of human rights abuses, the 1984 Tanjung Priok violence and the massacres in East Timor in 1999.

The ad hoc court will sit at the Central Jakarta District Court's headquarters.

"It will not only prosecute those two cases, but other human rights abuse cases as well," Taufiq said.

The judges are now being selected, he added, with criteria among others the ability to speak English.


When asked about the allegation from a government's watchdog body that he had abused his power, Taufiq denied it.

"If I was a judge with a dubious record, I wouldn't have been selected as deputy chief justice. I don't have any riches. Just check with the Public Servants' Wealth Audit Commission (KPKPN), I have already submitted my list of assets to the commission," he said.

The commission has not announced his wealth.

Earlier in March, the Indonesian Corruption Watch alleged Taufiq had abused his power by ordering the Jakarta High Court to seize Rp 2.1 billion from the State Electric Company (PLN) to compensate losses claimed by a private company.

Taufiq made the order through a "powerful letter" dated Jan. 15, 2001, addressed to the high court, according to the watchdog. In the letter, Taufiq ordered that the money should be paid to PT Enico National Development, which had suffered losses in a project in which PLN was not involved. (hdn)