Thu, 05 Oct 2000

Repealed law can be used to charge Bob: Prosecutor

JAKARTA (JP): Prosecutors in a multimillion-dollar graft case insisted on Wednesday that charging timber baron Muhamad "Bob" Hasan under an old anticorruption law that had been repealed was lawful despite the existence of a new Anticorruption Law.

Chief prosecutor Arnold Angkouw told the Central Jakarta District Court hearing that since the defendant allegedly committed corruption before the enactment of the 1999 Anticorruption Law, he had used the old 1971 anticorruption law to charge Hasan.

"A crime committed can only be brought to court in accordance with a law enacted before the crime was committed.

If there are revisions to a certain law, (which leads to the enactment of a revised law), the defendant should be tried according to the law that is most beneficial to him," Arnold told the hearing, quoting Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 1 of the Indonesian Criminal Code.

"If neither of the two laws are beneficial, the defendant should be tried according to the law enacted before the crime was committed... in this case, the 1971 anticorruption law."

The hearing was presided over by judge Subardi.

As reported earlier, prosecutors accused the defendant of defrauding the state of US$75.62 million and the Association of Indonesian Forest Concessionaires (APHI) of another $168 million through an allegedly fraudulent aerial mapping project, on the basis of an old law that had been repealed.

Judge Subardi adjourned the hearing until Thursday next week, when the panel of judges will decide to whether accept or reject the demand made by Hasan's team of defense lawyers to dismiss the case which they say is based on a repealed law.

Separately, defense lawyer Intihani said on Wednesday that arguments made by prosecutors were baseless since the 1999 Anticorruption Law clearly cancels out the old law, as stated in Article 44 of the new law.

"Arnold spoke of revision ... a revised law. The 1999 law is not a revised law but a totally new law which cancels the old law," Intihani told The Jakarta Post.

"The new law was enacted after the alleged corruption acts were committed so it cannot be used in court legally, whereas the old law has been repealed."

In Article 36 of the 1971 anticorruption law, it is clearly stated that corruption acts occurring before the enactment of the law could be investigated and tried in court using this law.

However, nothing as such is stated in the new Anticorruption Law.

As reported earlier, Hasan's lawyers accused state prosecutors of coming up with an incomplete dossier on the defendant.

"The prosecutors are charging my client under the 1971 anticorruption law for enriching himself at the state's expense. The law is no longer in effect, as the 1999 Anticorruption Law was enacted on Aug. 16 last year," Augustinus Hutajulu, lead defense lawyer of Bob Hasan, told the hearing. (ylt)