Tue, 26 Aug 2003

Prosecutors, judges hold joint anticorruption training

A'an Suryana, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

At least 30 state prosecutors and 10 judges from around the country are currently undergoing a 75-day anticorruption training course aimed at enhancing their abilities and creating common understanding among law enforcers in handling corruption cases.

During the course, the first of its kind here, the prosecutors and judges are expected to study the latest techniques for dealing with corruption cases.

"Dealing with corruption is a complex matter so it is of great importance that we increase the knowledge of prosecutors and judges," Supreme Court Chief Justice Bagir Manan said on Monday.

The opening ceremony for the course was held at the Attorney General's Office, while the training itself will take place at the Sawangan, Bogor, training center of the Attorney General's Office.

Antasari Azhar, spokesman for the attorney general, said the judges and prosecutors would study investigation techniques, evidence gathering, making dossiers and other useful skills for pursuing corruption cases.

Those leading the course will include practicing lawyers, lecturers and senior government officials. The program has been facilitated by non-governmental organization Partnership for Governance Reform in Indonesia.

Bagir Manan said the judges and prosecutors were expected to emerge from the training more professional and trustworthy.

The public now has little trust in the honesty and professionalism of law enforcers, whom they consider to be sluggish in eradicating corruption, Bagir said.

"We hope the training will restore public confidence in the enforcement of the law in the country," he said.

Attorney General M.A. Rachman said the judges and prosecutors participating in the course were being prepared to play roles in an anticorruption ad hoc court and commission, which have yet to be established.

Antasari said the judges and prosecutors from the course would be prioritized in recruiting members for the ad hoc court and commission.

Anticorruption activist Iskandar Sonhadji welcomed the training, but said improving the morality and commitment of the prosecutors and judges was much more important.

He said prosecutors and judges were part of the problem and not part of the solution in eradicating corruption, as they themselves were involved in the crime.

"Prosecutors and judges lack the spirit to combat corruption, which has really impeded the anticorruption drive that started with the reform movement," said Iskandar, an executive at the Indonesian Corruption Watch.

He said that besides the training course, both the Supreme Court and the Attorney General's Office must supervise and punish those judges and prosecutors involved in corruption.

"Only in this way can the AGO and the Supreme Court help create credible and respected prosecutors and judges."