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The New Criminal Code Guarantees Legal Justice for All Parties

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By: Reenee Winda Senior Journalist/Senior Contributor )

The President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo has signed the Criminal Code or Criminal Code after the draft was approved by the Indonesian Parliament on December 6, 2022. The new Criminal Code is expected to guarantee justice for all parties involved in the legal process.

The new Criminal Code is a legal product made by Indonesian professors, and replaces the position of the old Criminal Code which was a legal product made by the Netherlands in the colonial era. With the new Criminal Code, it is hoped that criminal law in Indonesia will be better, because each article regulates people’s lives in more detail.

The new Criminal Code consists of 37 chapters, 624 articles and 345 pages. Then, the Criminal Code is also divided into two parts, namely the article and explanation sections and will be enforced three years later since it was passed.

The government through related agencies, the Ministry of Law and Human Rights and other relevant stakeholders conduct socialization to the public during this transitional period. Socialization is also carried out by the government, in collaboration with a number of universities and other institutions. One of them was the socialization of the new Criminal Code which was held at the Patra Hotel Semarang, on 1 February 2023. Present at the socialization was Professor of the Faculty of Law, University of Indonesia (FH UI), Prof. Topo Santoso; Professor of Krisnadwipayana University, Prof. Indriyanto Seno Adji; and a member of the expert team on the Draft Criminal Code, who is also a Professor of Criminal Law from UI, Prof. Harkristuti Harkrisnowo.

In the socialization event held by the Indonesian Criminal Law and Criminology Society (MAHUPIKI), the Secretary General of Mahupiki, Dr. Ahmad Sofyan, revealed that this activity aims to socialize as well as discuss or dialogue the new Criminal Code so that all levels of society fully understand the substance of the law. In addition, the participants who attended were considered fortunate enough to be able to have direct dialogue with the resource persons who were also the drafting team for the drafting of this new Criminal Code.

In line with the statement of the Secretary General of Mahupiki, Deputy Chancellor for Academic Affairs Unnes Semarang, Prof. Dr. Zaenuri Mastur also expressed his happiness considering that Semarang was one of the areas where the socialization of the Criminal Code was held. This event is a means of disseminating and having a dialogue with the Criminal Code to the public so that they understand its substance, then it can be implemented. Prof. Zaenuri who attended represented the Chancellor of Semarang State University, Prof. Dr. S. Martoni, also advised the need for an understanding of the urgency of reforming the Criminal Code in the current era.

FH UI Professor, Prof. Topo Santoso as a resource person at this event said that one of the differences between the new or national Criminal Code and the old Criminal Code or Wetboek van Strafrecht (WvS) is that there has been a discussion along with academic texts in chapters or books on criminal acts, criminal responsibility, and criminal and sentencing. .

Prof. Topo also emphasized that in fact this national Criminal Code is a form of renewal or updating of the old one by adopting or referring to the WvS Criminal Code. This shows the development of the times that allows criminal acts to occur through sophisticated intermediary tools or artificial intelligence that have been regulated in this national Criminal Code. In addition, death penalty is no longer the main punishment but becomes a special punishment with a 10-year trial period which can then be changed to life imprisonment with a record of the President’s approval.

Meanwhile, UI Professor of Criminal Law, Prof. Dr. Hakristuti Harkrisnowo said several articles of public concern in the new Criminal Code included those related to Living Law or customary law, abortion, adultery and cohabitation, and insulting state leaders or state institutions. The discussion of cohabitation was even one of the articles that was most highlighted when the 2019 Criminal Code was rejected.

Part of the refusal came from among young people who saw this as a form of the right to privacy. At the time of rejection by students, the majority of whom came from young people regarding the formulation and draft of the Criminal Code, the article they highlighted was adultery or cohabitation.

Apart from cohabitation, concern is also related to the article on abortion which actually had been previously regulated in the old Criminal Code and Law no. 36 of 2009 concerning Health. However, for the record, what was previously regulated was that the gestational age in abortion was allowed as long as it was no more than 42 days, and currently the limit is allowed to be 14 weeks. This condition is motivated by protection for victims of criminal rape who often do not realize they are pregnant.

Another guest speaker at the event, Prof. Dr. Indriyanto Seno Adji, said that criminal acts in general are very dynamic following global, regional and national developments and dynamics. Therefore the need for legal reform, especially criminal law in Indonesia through this national Criminal Code.

Prof. Indriyanto regretted that some parties’ understanding of the national Criminal Code was not in depth, complete and detailed. According to him, this low level of understanding and easy acceptance of this issue has led to miscommunication and public misinformation regarding the full understanding of the substance of the articles regulated in the Criminal Code.

The socialization event was attended by nearly 200 people, consisting of many groups, starting from the Central Java Regional Leadership Coordination Forum (Forkopimda) and Regency/City Government Representatives in Central Java, legal practitioners, academics, students to the general public. As previously known, the Draft Criminal Code was officially ratified at a plenary meeting at the DPR building, Jakarta, Tuesday (6/12/2022).

The reforms in the Criminal Code are very much in line with Indonesia’s pluralistic culture, so it is quite surprising that there are still parties who reject it. Therefore, it is hoped that the outreach carried out by the government can change the public’s wrong thinking and fully understand the urgency of implementing the new Criminal Code for the continuity of a just law in our beloved homeland. []

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