Thu, 13 Oct 1994

House approves extradition pact with Australia

JAKARTA (JP): People who commit crimes in Indonesia will soon find Australia is no longer a safe haven.

With the ratification of the extradition treaty between Indonesia and Australia, the government can now chase criminals all the way "Down Under" and have them sent back to Indonesia for prosecution and trial.

The treaty was ratified unanimously by the House of Representatives (DPR) yesterday. It will be enforceable as soon as the two governments exchange the instruments of ratification.

A total of 33 types of crimes are covered by the agreement, including murder, manslaughter, sexual assault, kidnapping, stealing and robbery, hijacking, piracy, blackmail, embezzlement, bribery and drug related offenses.

Excluded are political crimes. The requested country can also refuse to extradite people who face the death penalty if they are sent back and prosecuted. This means that offenses such as drug trafficking and subversion, both punishable by death under Indonesian laws, are excluded.

To the government of Indonesia, the treaty will serve chiefly in going after people who commit economic and financial crimes, officials said.

Minister of Justice Oetojo Oesman, during the final hearing to discuss the bill yesterday, said the extradition treaty with Australia is the fourth Indonesia has made with foreign governments. Indonesia has had reciprocal extradition arrangements with Malaysia since 1974, the Philippines since 1976 and Thailand since 1978.

Technological advances, especially in communication and transportation, have facilitated the flow of people from one country to another. These advances also mean that the modus operandi in crimes are becoming more and more sophisticated.

"The government is always exploring ways to establish extradition arrangements with other friendly countries," he said, pointing out that the four treaties it now has are hardly adequate to prevent criminals from fleeing the country.

He said the fleeing of criminals is not only hurting the sense of justice for the victims of the crimes, but often also means substantial financial losses to the state.

The treaty with Australia was signed in April, 1992, by Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Alatas and the Australian ambassador to Indonesia at the time, Philip Flood. The government presented the bill on the ratification of the treaty to the House last August and it was given a speedy reading by House members.

Oetojo said the ratification of the treaty will strengthen bilateral relations between Indonesia and Australia, not only in the field of law enforcement, but also in other fields where the two countries share common interests such as in politics, economics and in social and cultural sectors.


Under the treaty, the Australian government can refuse to extradite its own citizens to Indonesia. The arrangement is reciprocal.

The treaty applies only for offenses which are punishable with at least one year imprisonment.

Either country may also reject an extradition request if it has reason to believe that the wanted person is being prosecuted because of his or her race, religion, citizenship or political views, or if it has reason to believe that the person would be subjected to torture or cruel treatment after being extradited.

All four factions in the House gave their ringing endorsement to the treaty, yesterday, regarding it as another sign of better relations between the two neighboring countries.

In their comments at the plenary hearing the speakers of the four factions indulged themselves in self-congratulation for the speed with which they gave the bill a reading.

In view of the numerous bills now being presented to the House, a speedy yet comprehensive and efficient system is necessary, the speakers said.

The four factions in the House are the dominant group Golkar, the Armed Forces, the United Development Party and the Indonesian Democratic Party. (imn)