UNCAC Coalition Statement on threats to the independence of Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission KPK

Foto: infopublik.id
Foto: infopublik.id

We, the undersigning civil society organisations, have been monitoring developments in Indonesia regarding the revision of the law governing Indonesia’s anti-corruption agency, the Corruption Eradication Commission or locally known as Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (KPK).

We share the grave concerns of Indonesia’s leading civil society corruption watchdog groups regarding the implications of recent amendments to the KPK law, which endanger the anti-corruption agency’s independence and undermine its ability to effectively prevent, investigate and prosecute corruption.

Indonesia signed the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) on 18th December 2003 and ratified it on 19th September 2006. Articles 6 and 36 of the UNCAC require each State Party to ensure the existence of an anti-corruption body specialised in preventing corruption and combating corruption through law enforcement which must be granted the necessary independence and be able to carry out its functions effectively and without any undue influence.

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) was formed in 2003. During the 16 years of the anti-corruption body’s work, the KPK has taken on numerous major corruption cases involving influential players from the private sector, the judiciary, the legislature as well as the executive and arrested several senior politicians on corruption charges.

The KPK has carried out prevention and prosecution efforts in Indonesia effectively and it has been widely regarded as a leading anti-corruption body in the region. The prevention work conducted by the KPK has achieved significant savings of state finances in Indonesia and KPK has enjoyed a high level of public trust, according to Indonesian civil society organisations.

Given the KPK’s strong track-record, we are alarmed by efforts to undermine its role. In September 2019, the Indonesian government and the House of Representatives selected new KPK commissioners and revised the law governing the KPK in a manner that appears to substantially weaken the KPK’s independence. Furthermore, the process of adopting these changes showed serious flaws, Indonesian corruption watchdog groups have found the following changes to be particularly troublesome for the KPK’s autonomy, independence and legitimacy:

  • Under the new law, the KPK is no longer an independent authority but a body of the executive government, its actions are overseen by a new supervisory body.
  • Members of the KPK’s new supervisory board, which has to authorise wiretapping, search and seizure activities of the KPK, have to have a minimum age of 55 and are selected by the President, in consultation with the House. This structure creates a high risk of political interventions and will likely undermine the body’s effectiveness and independence.
  • Revisions of the KPK law were adopted within just a few days and without prior notice. Discussions on the amendments between the House and the government were held behind closed doors without involving the KPK or the public. The Editorial Board of the Jakarta Post has described the changes as a “legislative assault” on the KPK, implemented through one of the fastest bills in history to be passed into law.

We call on the Indonesian executive and legislature to uphold the Jakarta Principles on the independence and effectiveness of anti-corruption agencies, which were drafted at the invitation of the KPK, UNODC and UNDP by experts from around the world.

We support and encourage Indonesian civil society groups, that in response to these worrying developments, have announced that they will challenge the changes to the KPK law in the Constitutional Court. We hope that the Court decision will help to ensure that the KPK can continue the fight against corruption in Indonesia in an effective and independent manner.

Signed by the UNCAC Coalition, on behalf of its member organisations:

  • Albanian Institute of Science
  • Center for Development and Democratization of Institutions, Albania
  • Institute for Democracy and Mediation, Albania
  • Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia (ACIJ), Argentina
  • Fundación Poder Ciudadano, Argentina
  • Armenian Lawyers’ Association
  • Freedom of Information Center, Armenia
  • Transparency International Anticorruption Center NGO, Armenia
  • Transparency International – Austrian Chapter
  • Bahrain Transparency Society
  • BRAC Insitute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University, Bangladesh
  • Rights Jessore, Bangladesh
  • South Asian Institute of Advanced Legal and Human Rights Studies (SAILS), Bangladesh
  • Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB)
  • Centres for Civic Initiatives (CCI), Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Center for Investigative Reporting (CIN), Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Center for the Study of Democracy, Bulgaria
  • ABUCO (TI Burundi)
  • Transparency International Cambodia
  • Centre for Law and Democracy, Canada
  • Costa Rica Integra (CRI)
  • GONG, Croatia
  • Ligue Congolaise de lutte contre la Corruption, LICOCO, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Participacion Ciudadana, Dominican Republic
  • Sherpa, France
  • TI France
  • Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), Georgia
  • TI Georgia
  • CiFAR – Civil Forum for Asset Recovery, Germany
  • Transparency International
  • Transparency International Germany (Transparency International Deutschland e. V.)
  • Ghana Integrity Initiative
  • Eurasian Integrity Youth Academy, Greece
  • Vouliwatch, Greece
  • Asociación para una Sociedad más Justa (ASJ), Honduras
  • Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, India
  • Gram Bharati Samiti (GBS), India
  • Manav Pragati Sansthan, Rajgarh, India
  • 5th Pillar, India and USA
  • Indonesia Corruption Watch
  • Transparency International Italia
  • Jordan Transparency Center
  • Africa Centre for Open Governance, Kenya
  • Kosova Democratic Institute
  • Riinvest, Kosovo
  • Syri i Vizionit, Kosovo
  • Centre to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (c4), Malaysia
  • Malaysian Society for Transparency and Integrity (TI Malaysia)
  • Mexicanos contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad
  • CReDO – Resource Center for Human Rights, Moldova
  • TI Moldova
  • Civic Alliance, Montenegro
  • Transparency Maroc
  • Transparency International Nepal
  • Wildlife Justice Commission, The Netherlands
  • 21st Century Community Empowerment for Youth and Women Initiative, Nigeria
  • Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), Nigeria
  • Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Nigeria
  • Partnership for Justice, Nigeria
  • Socio-economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Nigeria
  • Zero Corruption Coalition (ZCC), Nigeria
  • Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency-PILDAT
  • Transparency International Pakistan
  • The Coalition for Accountability and Integrity-AMAN (Transparency Palestine)
  • Fundacja im. Stefana Batorego, Poland
  • Transparency International Korea (South)
  • Transparency International – North Macedonia
  • Romanian Academic Society
  • CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, South Africa
  • Institute for Security Studies, South Africa
  • UMTAPO Centre, South Africa
  • Access Info Europe, Spain
  • Transparency International Sri Lanka
  • Protimos
  • Transparency International Sweden
  • I WATCH, Tunisia
  • Africa Freedom of Information Centre, Uganda
  • Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda
  • Transparency International Uganda
  • Water Governance Institute (WGI), Uganda
  • AntAC, Ukraine
  • Transparency International Ukraine
  • Article 19, United Kingdom
  • Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, United Kingdom
  • Christian Aid, United Kingdom
  • Corruption Watch, United Kingdom
  • Global Witness, United Kingdom
  • Tearfund, United Kingdom
  • Transparency International UK
  • Center for International Human Rights, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, USA
  • Global Financial Integrity, USA
  • Government Accountability Project, USA
  • Towards Transparency, Vietnam
  • Yemeni Observatory for Human Rights
  • Transparency International Zimbabwe
  • Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and South Africa
  • Institute of Public Finance

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