Wed, 22 Mar 2000

Todung turns down Supreme Court offer

JAKARTA (JP): Renowned lawyer Todung Mulya Lubis turned down on Tuesday his nomination by the government to the Supreme Court.

According to a statement made available to The Jakarta Post, Todung declined the offer, saying he was focusing his work on improving the profession of advocates. He is currently the deputy of the Indonesian Bar Association (Ikadin).

"To be nominated as a justice of the Supreme Court is the highest recognition of someone's integrity and intellect in law," Todung said, adding "I am not yet able to accept the honor".

Todung is one of the candidates proposed by the government, along with Benjamin Mangkoedilaga, Bagir Manan and M. Mahfud.

Among 51 Supreme Court justices, eight positions are still vacant.

In a departure from past practices, nominations are now not limited to career judges proposed by the Supreme Court.

In his written statement, Todung also made a number of suggestions regarding the Supreme Court, including that there should be no more than 15 Supreme Court justices.

Todung also appealed for a basic change in the workings of the Supreme Court, saying it should only handle cases related to constitutional rights and basic human rights.

Separately, Bagir, one of the government nominees and a law lecturer from Padjajaran University in Bandung, said he was not really thinking about his appointment.

"It's too early to assume that I'll get the position," Bagir told the Post by phone.

Bagir said that he accepted the nomination only to support the atmosphere of change in the nomination process.

Meanwhile, in Yogyakarta, the local branch of the Legal Aid Foundation called on House of Representatives Speaker Akbar Tandjung to nominate its former director, Artidjo Alkostar, 52, head of the Supreme Court.

The head of the foundation's operational department, A. Budi Hartono, said the appointment of an honest and clean individual was a key component to cleaning out the court system.

"The court mafia can only be eradicated if the Supreme Court is chaired by a person like Artidjo," he said.(08/44)