Critics agree that much of Southeast Asia desperately needs judicial reform and rule of law. Yet, there is remarkably little comparative scholarship on law and legal institutions in the region. In this blog, I'll follow constitutional developments in Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, as well as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Friday, July 26, 2013
Red handed! (Indonesia)
Don't get caught...
The first rule of corruption is not to get caught. The star of Indonesia's latest corruption scandal violated that primary rule. According to The Jakarta Globe, superlawyer Hotma Sitompul was caught handing Rp 100 million ($9,700) to a Supreme Court official. The bribe was allegedly in connection to the prosecution of police general Djoko Susilo.
I'm sure there will be a lot of commentary over the next few weeks expressing outrage. Much of that outrage is well deserved. However, it's also important to take a moment and remember that many - if not most - Indonesian lawyers are not corrupt. I have met many lawyers who are embarrassed by these sorts of corruption scandals. Some of them have even sacrificed professional opportunities in order to avoid the taint of corruption. So, in the midst of outrage, it's also important to remember those lawyers who fight the small, constant battles everyday to improve the country's legal system.
UPDATE (7/30/13): Jakarta Globe has posted more details of the scandal, including reactions from the bar association (Peradi).