By: Ayu Sri Mulyadi *)
The draft Criminal Code Bill (RUU KUHP) has been passed into law at the DPR RI plenary meeting which has the agenda of making a decision on the RKUHP Criminal Code (KUHP) on 6 December 2022. Indonesian people should support the KUHP which is a pure product made by the nation’s children, and replaces the previous Criminal Code Law (UU KUHP) which was a legacy of Dutch colonialism.
Member of Commission III of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia (DPR RI), Supriansa stated that the ratification of the Criminal Code should be grateful for by all people. Bearing in mind, the Criminal Code is a product made by the nation’s children that prioritizes the cultural values of the Indonesian nation.
Supriansa added that many of the Criminal Code, inherited from the Dutch colonial era, which were used for approximately 70 years, were irrelevant to the situation of Indonesian society, especially at this time. On that basis, the DPR RI and the government made a recodification or amendment to this Criminal Code Law.
Even so, Supriansa continued, Commission III of the DPR and the Government opened up space for the public to carry out a judicial review to the Constitutional Court (MK) if there were still some members of the public who were dissatisfied article by article in the new Criminal Code. The judicial review space, said the Politician from the Golkar Party Fraction, also serves as a reflection of the implementation that Indonesia is a very good democracy.
Previously on the same day, the 11th DPR RI Plenary Meeting for Session Period II for the 2022-2023 Session Year was held in the context of Level II Discussions/Decision Making on the Criminal Code Bill which was read by the Chairperson of Commission III DPR RI, Bambang Wuryanto, held in the Meeting Room Plenary of the Nusantara Building II DPR RI, Senayan, Jakarta.
In the meeting, the Government was represented by the Minister of Law and Human Rights, Yasonna Laoly and Deputy Minister of Law and Human Rights, Edward Omar Sharif Hiariej. The results of the plenary meeting ensured that the DPR and the Government agreed to ratify the Criminal Code Bill to become the Criminal Code Law.
Minister Yasonna H. Laoly said this ratification was a historic moment in the administration of criminal law in Indonesia. After years of using the Dutch-made Criminal Code, Indonesia now has its own Criminal Code. According to Minister Yasonna, it is felt that this Dutch product is no longer relevant to the conditions and needs of criminal law in Indonesia. This has become one of the urgency of ratifying the Criminal Code Bill.
Minister Yasonna also explained that the recently ratified Criminal Code had gone through transparent, thorough and participatory discussions. The government and DPR have accommodated various inputs and ideas from the public.
Even so, Minister Yasonna acknowledged that the process of drafting the Criminal Code Bill was not always smooth. The government and the DPR were faced with articles that were considered controversial, including articles on insulting the President, the crime of cohabitation, the crime of witchcraft, vandalism, and the spread of communist teachings. However, Minister Yasonna assured the public that the articles in question had gone through repeated and in-depth studies.
Minister Yasonna further explained that the ratification of the Criminal Code Bill was not just a historical moment for the Indonesian nation. The Criminal Code Bill is the starting point for penal reform in Indonesia through the expansion of the types of punishment that can be imposed on criminal offenders. Minister Yasonna explained that there are three penalties regulated in it, namely principal punishment, additional punishment, and special punishment.
In the main punishment, the Criminal Code does not only regulate prison sentences and fines, but adds closing sentences, supervision sentences, and social work crimes.
In addition to capital punishment, imprisonment is also reformed by setting guidelines that contain certain circumstances so that as much as possible imprisonment is not imposed on perpetrators of crimes. These circumstances include, if the defendant is a child, is over 75 years old, is the first time he has committed a crime, and several other circumstances.
Furthermore, perpetrators of criminal acts can be subject to additional punishment in the form of revocation of certain rights, confiscation of goods, announcement of judge’s decisions, payment of compensation, revocation of permits, and fulfillment of local customary obligations.
The perpetrators of criminal acts can also be subject to action, which is a real manifestation of the implementation of the double track system in Indonesian punishment. For example, the Criminal Code Law regulates what actions can be imposed along with the main punishment and the measures that can be imposed on people with mental or intellectual disabilities.
Finally, the drafters of the Criminal Code Law regulate legal entities or corporations as parties that can be held responsible and punished. The imposition of principal punishments, additional penalties, and actions is imposed on corporations and people involved in the corporation, both managers who have functional positions, give orders, control holders, to beneficial owners.
The Coordinator of Political, Legal and Security Information and Communication (Menko Polhukam), Dikdik Sadaka said that it was important to make adjustments to the Criminal Code as a legal product of the colonial era so that it was more in line with the current dynamics of society. He hopes the government will continue to socialize the newly ratified Criminal Code. Through this socialization, the public understands more about the contents of the Criminal Code and supports the reform of the Criminal Code which is the product of the nation’s children.
*) The author is a contributor to the Nusa Bangsa Institute.