Indonesia: Criminal Justice

The reform era has seen Indonesia's criminal justice institutions re-establish their independence, upgrade their capabilities and improve their responsiveness to human rights.  In 2003 the Supreme Court adopted a comprehensive Blueprint for Reform.  As a result, the Indonesian judiciary has transformed into an independent branch of Government.  Other Government of Indonesia entities, such as the Attorney General's Office and Indonesian National Police adopted their own reform plans.  Correctional services and management, as well as the legal community, have also pursued reform initiatives.

Though many of these gains are real and have bettered the everyday lives of Indonesians, there exists substantial capacity for improvement.  The judiciary, police, prosecutors and correctional services are under-funded.  Further strengthening of their operational and managerial competency to effectively perform their mandates is required.  Salaries for many justice sector officials barely cover basic needs, negatively impacting enforcement.  Overcrowding is a feature of many prisons in the country which leads to difficulties in terms of prison conditions, reintegration and rehabilitation programmes and security. There is also a need to introduce and implement non-custodial sanctions and measures.  Coordination and cooperation amongst key institutional actors is also weak, hindering reform efforts.

Enhancing access to justice for vulnerable groups, particularly for children, and women subject to domestic violence, is necessary.  Because of inadequate responses toward catering to children in conflict with the law, children are largely disenfranchised within Indonesia's criminal justice system.  As a result, children are usually incarcerated alongside adults in normal prison facilities.  An estimate by UNICEF stated that 84% of children incarcerated in Indonesia were placed in adult prisons with no access to education or health services.   For female victims of domestic violence, legal and police protection is difficult to access and many women struggle to exercise their human rights.