Wed, 22 Jan 2003

Indonesia may get special tribunal for doctors

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Indonesia is likely to establish another special tribunal, this time for doctors and health providers, if the medical practice bill is passed into law as it stands.

The proposal, however, has drawn criticism from legal expert Luhut MP Pangaribuan, who said that this would only encourage other professionals to demand special tribunals.

"In principle, it is not wrong to set up a special medical tribunal as long as it is subordinate to the public courts. But a consequence could be that other professions will also demand their own tribunals," Luhut told The Jakarta Post.

The country now has the public courts (district courts), military tribunals, religious (Islamic) courts and administrative courts.

On top of that, the country has two special courts, both under the administrative jurisdiction of the Central Jakarta District Court. The are the commercial court and the ad hoc human rights tribunal.

Therefore, Luhut said, if doctors and other professionals demanded special tribunals, it would further complicate the country's judicial system.

Luhut, therefore, urged the House of Representatives (DPR) to cancel the plan to deliberate the bill.

"The House must be careful in meeting such a demand. There is no need to provide special treatment for certain professions as all professions are the same before the law," Luhut said.

Ahmad Sanoesi Tambunan, a legislator with the House's public welfare committee and also a member of the Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI), argued that Indonesia needed such a court to settle disputes fairly between physicians or health providers and patients.

Luhut, however, disagreed and said that ensuring equitable resolutions to disputes did not mean a separate court was needed. The existing district courts should be able to properly handle such disputes.

Highlights of the medical practice bill

Article 52(1): The medical practice tribunal is a special court that constitutes part of the public courts of justice. Section 2: The medical practice tribunal is a place of recourse for members of the public to seek redress in disputes involving medical practitioners/staff.

Article 53: The adjudicative power to hear medical malpractice suits shall be vested in the: a. Medical practice tribunal; b. Medical practice appellate tribunal

Article 56: The medical practice tribunal and the appellate tribunal shall be established by orders of the Supreme Court.

Article 60(1): The judges of the medical practice tribunal and the appellate tribunal shall consist of legal and medical experts.

Article 88: The medical practice tribunal and the appellate tribunal are tasked with and obliged to examine, decide and resolve disputes involving the medical profession.

Article 91(1): Persons and institutions that suffer losses due to medical malpractice may bring actions in the medical practice tribunal.