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Australian Journal of Asian Law

Abstract from Volume 11 No 2 (2009)

Courage Under Fire: The First Five Years of the Indonesian Judicial Commission

Nicola Colbran is the former legal adviser at the Indonesia Programme, Norwegian Centre for Human Rights. In this capacity she coordinated human rights training in cooperation with Indonesian partners (government, NGOs and academics), and also wrote widely on human rights and Indonesia.

Following the fall of President Soeharto in 1998, an era of reformasi (reformation) was ushered in, along with aspirations for a future democratic Indonesia. One of these aspirations was for a competent, independent and impartial judiciary which had been lacking under the former regime. However, the pace of reform was slow, and the need for an external independent institution to supervise the conduct of the judiciary became apparent. In 2004, the Indonesian Judicial Commission was established to fulfil this role. Although a relatively new institution, it has achieved significant success while facing considerable challenges and, in some cases, open hostility. This article details the establishment and powers of the Commission, discusses both selected challenges it has faced and successes it has achieved. It also looks at whether the powers of the Commission are sufficient to realise the reformasi aspirations for a competent, independent and impartial judiciary.

(2009) 11(2) Asian Law 273

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