It is difficult to imagine what we can get from the Constitutional Court if this control function is to be weakened by threatening justices who are considered to have disobeyed the DPR.
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It is true what the wise say: power can be very intoxicating, not only in the sense of being addictive, but also by enabling the holder of power to act outside of common sense, violating all norms, rules and propriety. That is what we are currently seeing in the House of Representatives (DPR) which is crashing its own rules of the game, even the constitution and ethics, when suddenly replacing constitutional justice Aswanto with a candidate who was prepared secretly and improperly.
The drunken state this time was caused by great power, which for these four years has almost been out-of-control. So many laws were produced by the DPR and the government, which passed almost without any significant criticism. Call it, for example, the revision of the Law on the Corruption Eradication Commission, the revision of the Mineral and Coal Law, the Job Creation Law, the State Capital Law and the Law on the Establishment of Legislation. Even if there is meaningful criticism from outside, the critics will be hit hard, as happened with the #reformasidikorupsi movement, which even led to the death of five students and pupils and violence against hundreds of demonstrators.
In fact, the fundamental difference between a democratic state and an authoritarian state is the space to supervise the power holders and fulfil and protect the human rights of citizens. We often talk about surveillance by the public, especially academics and journalists, who have the tools to carry out this role in a systematic way. However, we rarely discuss the role of the judiciary. Perhaps this is because we also do not trust our courts, which also often show a bad face.
However, what the DPR did to the constitutional justice Aswanto is a form of silencing the state institution that supervises power in a naked way. Nowhere in the world can judges be dismissed because of the decisions they make. Basically, judges must have a space free from political intervention that controls them to make court decisions in the interests of the authorities. As a trustee, of course, the judges can still be evaluated. Therefore, there is an institution to enforce the code of ethics and behavior of the judges.
Judges can be dismissed on the basis of ethical violations and of course violations of the law, such as corruption. However, the decision made cannot be determined by another party. The decision may only be determined by the judge's legal reasoning and his belief in the truth based on the evidence and arguments of the parties.
In the building regarding the independence of judicial power, "threatening" judges by removing them in the middle of their term of office by political institutions based on their decisions is also a form of threat to the independence of judicial power. That is why there is a concept of certainty of tenure, which is required to have independent judicial power. Do not forget, the impact of the dismissal of constitutional justice Aswanto will not only be felt by himself, but also by other justices who may only make decisions that satisfy their voters (three justices elected by the DPR, three elected by the president and three from the Supreme Court) so as not to be removed in the middle of the road.
We may disagree with the decisions of the Constitutional Court (MK), but what the DPR has done is an attack on the Constitutional Court institution, whose independence in overseeing power must be maintained. Disagreement with some of the Constitutional Court's decisions, as well as some of the justices' behavior, does not allow us to take away the judges’ freedom to make decisions. If the control room of the judiciary is also torn down, who else can formally control power? Meanwhile, control by demonstrators is often met with violence; control by journalists and academics is often met with co-optation and hacking.
In exploring the cause of this removal, of course, we must also investigate what made the DPR so angry with the Constitutional Court. Which law is in question? Examining laws will lead us to the fact that laws are not only made by the DPR, but also the President. Do not forget, 82 percent of DPR members are currently in the government coalition. Because of that, we can only hope that there is still a slight chance that the President will not be dragged into this state of chaos by not signing a decision taken by the DPR in a way that violates the law.
It is difficult to imagine what we can get from the Constitutional Court if this control function is to be weakened by threatening justices who are considered to have disobeyed the DPR. What will happen is a cul-de-sac, a dead end for democracy. If this is not stopped, surely the drunken state of power will get worse, because the authorities think that the whole of Indonesia can no longer criticize them.
BIVITRI SUSANTI, Lecturer at the Jentera Indonesia School of Law