International Development Law Organization

Indonesia

A lower middle-income country since 2008, Indonesia has boosted living standards and increasingly more people have access to basic services. Remarkable steps in tackling social and economic challenges have been made. Yet, considerable challenges remain as Indonesia seeks to reduce poverty, eradicate corruption, ensure equal access to justice and protect human rights. Natural resource management is facing serious threats, and vulnerable groups living in remote regions have limited access to social services and legal aid. Conflicting laws and regulations on both the national and local level and a lack of capacity of, and coordination among, government institutions hinder Indonesia from realizing its full potential, while enhancing sustainable and inclusive growth.

Indonesia and the Netherlands have a long-shared history of cooperation in the field of rule of law. The common heritage of legal systems creates an opportunity for partnerships between Indonesian and Dutch justice sector institutions. Given the shared goals of improving access to justice through the rule of law, IDLO is working with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Jakarta to administer the Indonesia-Netherlands Rule of Law Fund. This program aims to support the development of effective, accountable and inclusive justice sector institutions, and ensure equal access to justice in Indonesia.

Towards Inclusive Natural Resource Management in Indonesia

Sustainable management of natural resources in Indonesia is negatively affected by overlapping land permits, with local governments, companies, local populations and indigenous people simultaneously claiming the same land. In East Kalimantan, the government has identified several nature reserve areas, but in the same area there are vast coal deposits, oil palm plantation sites and timber, gas, oil and coal extraction companies. Beyond this, local communities claim ownership of land based on historic or customary rights.

Strengthening Legal Empowerment of Peat Land Villages in Indonesia to Enhance Access to Justice

Fires are affecting forests and peat lands in Indonesia. This is problematic because these areas are often declared de facto open areas for which the government grants licenses to concession companies. Overlapping permits can result in farmers being displaced on their own lands, tenure conflicts and the criminalization or eviction of rural communities.

Electronic Evidence and Management in Corruption Trials in Indonesia

Corruption can be difficult to uncover, especially as technology is increasingly used to conceal corrupt behavior. Corruption cases handled by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) that involve electronic evidence, such as e-mails or social media posts, have contributed to a conviction rate of 100 percent. Yet, law enforcement officers do not always allow electronic evidence in courts, and standard operational procedures providing guidance on electronic evidence handling and a digital forensic lab that meets international standards are lacking.

Capacity Strengthening of the Indonesian Government on Cross-Border Asset Recovery and Mutual Legal Assistance (SIGAP)

Indonesia is facing challenges from embezzlement of stolen assets, which has a negative impact on the country’s political, social, and economic development. Asset-recovery procedures prove to be complex, time-consuming and require expertise and political will. The procedures also require various government bodies to coordinate their actions and engage in resource-intensive processes. To respond to these issues, the Indonesian Attorney General’s Office established an Asset Recovery Centre (Pusat Pemulihan Aset or PPA) dedicated to manage all asset recovery-related issues.

Making Environmental Regulations Work for the People (MERW)

Industrial activities in Indonesia can often have a negative impact on communities living along rivers. Regional governments have difficulties monitoring and acting upon industrial water pollution cases, as clear strategies, guidelines and mechanisms to hold those responsible accountable are often absent. Pollution victims are frequently forced to deal with the issue themselves, and tend to settle for low financial compensations, leaving wider environmental challenges unresolved.

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Key Initiatives

  • The Programmatic Framework for the Indonesia-Netherlands Rule of Law Fund builds on Indonesian development plans and continues the efforts of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Jakarta to support the consolidation of the rule of law and reform agenda. The primary objective of the Rule of Law Fund is to support the development of effective, accountable and inclusive justice sector institutions, ensuring equal access to justice in Indonesia.

  • Indonesia has a high number of overlapping or contradictory laws and regulations. This results in ineffective administration, lengthy processes and obstacles for economic development. While the Government of Indonesia has taken certain measures to enhance regulatory reform, regulatory functions are currently scattered across several governmental institutions, creating a web of uncoordinated mandates. There is therefore a need for a central body or unit within the government that oversees regulations.

  • The Government of Indonesia is committed to providing fair, transparent, effective, non-discriminatory and accountable services to promote access to justice for all, including members of vulnerable groups. A national program to safeguard access to justice was included in the National Strategy on Access to Justice 2016-2019. Yet, a national tool to collect data and measure the levels of access to justice for people in the country is still missing.

  • In 2011, Indonesia adopted a law on legal aid which includes a national budget for legal aid providers to deliver access to justice and legal aid services to the poor. However, there is a lack of legal aid lawyers and organizations throughout the country, and lawyers do not necessarily have the sufficient skills for delivering legal aid services with a human rights, gender equality and social justice perspective. Many organizations also deal with a limited administrative capacity and struggle to meet the requirements in conducting legal aid reimbursement.

  • An ineffective court decision enforcement system in Indonesia leaves many who win their court case behind disappointed, as verdicts are not properly enforced. Hearings are often delayed, existing mechanisms are still based on Dutch law from 1848, and Indonesia’s Supreme Court’s internal regulations are not sufficient enough to ensure that court decisions are implemented effectively. The government has identified court decisions enforcement as one of the factors preventing effective judicial dispute resolution, particularly impacting business contracts.

  • The Ombudsman of the Republic of Indonesia handles citizens’ complaints about public service delivery and maladministration. Often, similar complaints are filed, or citizens return with additional grievances, leading to the refiling of cases and extra legal and administrative costs. The Ombudsman of Indonesia seeks to improve its service delivery, its effectiveness when handling complaints and its relationship with citizens and other stakeholders.

  • Sustainable management of natural resources in Indonesia is negatively affected by overlapping land permits, with local governments, companies, local populations and indigenous people simultaneously claiming the same land. In East Kalimantan, the government has identified several nature reserve areas, but in the same area there are vast coal deposits, oil palm plantation sites and timber, gas, oil and coal extraction companies. Beyond this, local communities claim ownership of land based on historic or customary rights.

  • Fires are affecting forests and peat lands in Indonesia. This is problematic because these areas are often declared de facto open areas for which the government grants licenses to concession companies. Overlapping permits can result in farmers being displaced on their own lands, tenure conflicts and the criminalization or eviction of rural communities.

  • Corruption can be difficult to uncover, especially as technology is increasingly used to conceal corrupt behavior. Corruption cases handled by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) that involve electronic evidence, such as e-mails or social media posts, have contributed to a conviction rate of 100 percent. Yet, law enforcement officers do not always allow electronic evidence in courts, and standard operational procedures providing guidance on electronic evidence handling and a digital forensic lab that meets international standards are lacking.

  • Indonesia is facing challenges from embezzlement of stolen assets, which has a negative impact on the country’s political, social, and economic development. Asset-recovery procedures prove to be complex, time-consuming and require expertise and political will. The procedures also require various government bodies to coordinate their actions and engage in resource-intensive processes. To respond to these issues, the Indonesian Attorney General’s Office established an Asset Recovery Centre (Pusat Pemulihan Aset or PPA) dedicated to manage all asset recovery-related issues.

  • Industrial activities in Indonesia can often have a negative impact on communities living along rivers. Regional governments have difficulties monitoring and acting upon industrial water pollution cases, as clear strategies, guidelines and mechanisms to hold those responsible accountable are often absent. Pollution victims are frequently forced to deal with the issue themselves, and tend to settle for low financial compensations, leaving wider environmental challenges unresolved.

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