Editorial: Court Justice Comes Through Fairness

Jakarta Globe

Indonesia’s justice system, like any other nation’s, is a work in progress. We cannot dispute that great progress has been made over the past few years in terms of law enforcement and independence of the courts.

The police, for example, are more proactive and responsive in maintaining public order and investigating violent crimes. They may receive criticism over a few incidences but overall one cannot fault them. Their record on fighting terrorism, in particular, deserves praise and the gratitude of all Indonesians.

The overall justice system, however, has not fared as well.

Justice must be dispensed fairly and in a balanced manner and on that point, the system has not lived up to its ideals. As former vice president Jusuf Kalla recently noted, the general public feels that a sense of justice is lacking in the country.

This is not because they are deprived of justice but because there is inconsistency in how the courts mete out punishment. In the recent case of the deadly attack on members of the Ahmadiyah, for example, the courts only sentenced the attackers to five months in prison while the victims face much stiffer sentences for allegedly provoking the attacks.

Fairness is an important component of justice because it creates social cohesion and a willingness to abide by the laws of the land. If ordinary Indonesians start to feel that they cannot expect fair treatment from the courts, they will start to take the law into their own hands. This could lead to the growth of vigilante groups and create a dangerous breakdown in social order.

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Categories: Indonesia

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