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Indonesia: Strengthening the integrity of the justice system seminar

Bogor (Indonesia), 19 November 2009 - A two-day seminar was organized by UNODC on finalizing questionnaires for a survey on judicial integrity and capacity. The seminar discussions were led by Hon. Justice Abdul Gani Abdullah, of the Supreme Court with participation by representatives of private and public legal aid service providers and academics. The seminar was the culmination of intensive consultative work with national and provincial justice sector representatives to finalize the instruments that will underpin four studies on the integrity of the justice sectors in South-East Sulawesi, South Sumatra, East Java and Riau.

The studies will be undertaken as a part of phase II of the Strengthening Judicial Integrity and Capacity in Indonesia project of UNODC. They will provide a comprehensive picture of access to justice issues at the local level, including the timeliness and quality of justice services, public trust in the judiciary, the existence of integrity safeguards and the extent to which corruption is occurring within the justice sectors.

"Corruption in the judiciary", said UNODC Crime Prevention Expert Ajit Joy, the project coordinator, "has led to reengineering and reduction in sentences in criminal cases". That was one of the many significant conclusions of the baseline survey carried out under phase I of the project . Laurence Heydir, the project manager from Mazars, the agency that is carrying out the baseline survey, said that "the aim of the seminar is to come out with optimally worded questions so as to bring out the current gaps in the justice sector in the surveyed provinces."

This is not the first time that UNODC and the Indonesian Supreme Court have worked together to improve access to the justice system and judicial integrity at the local level. In 2004, UNODC and the Supreme Court conducted similar studies in South-East Sulawesi and South Sumatra as a part of phase I of the project. The assessments highlighted a number of critical issues impacting on access to justice and it is expected that the 2009 follow-up studies in South-East Sulawesi and South Sumatra will outline whether there has been any significant improvement.