Criminal Proceedings in Indonesia, How does It Work?


The basis of criminal codes used since the proclamation is from the Netherlands Indies Criminal Code, it also applies to criminal proceedings in Indonesia. It has been adopted since 1918 with certain amendments that were promulgated by the government in 1946. Later, this subject is more known as the Code of Criminal Law that has been adjusted uniformly since 1928 throughout the national territory.

This Code of Criminal Law basically has 3 chapters on it. The first chapter defines the have-to-be-followed terms and procedures in any criminal case. It also establishes mitigating the circumstances affecting the solidity of a sentence.

The second chapter relates to the felonies categories misdemeanors to prescribe the right penalties based on the type of offense. And the third defines the exclusion, mitigation, and enhancement of punishment. The punishment may differ from case to case, including death penalty for infrequently imposed for terrorism, treason, and drug trafficking.

criminal proceedings in Indonesia
criminal proceedings in Indonesia

Trials and Criminal Proceedings in Indonesia

New criminal proceedings guidelines were officially disseminated on December 31, 1981. It is better known as the Code of Criminal Procedures to replace the prior 1941 code. It was being the best decision to accommodate jurists and government complaints about the ambiguity in a certain case in the old code.

Regarding the old systems, numerous authorities including the military commands, public prosecutors, to police, shared the powers to hold interrogation, give detention, and arrest people. Someone could be arrested and charged by suspicion only.

Besides, the accused party only could request a legal counsel when the case had been submitted to judge, not in pretrial proceedings. At that time, the basic criminal investigation powers almost entirely lie with the police. Thus, the new guidelines bring some enlightenment to the proceeding system.

criminal proceedings in Indonesia
criminal proceedings in Indonesia

Criminal Law and Proceeding in Indonesia

To hold a high-profile trial for criminal proceedings in Indonesia, it has to be supervised up to 5 judges. The judges can be men or women. The Bali bombing trial, for example, it was supervised by 4 male judges and 1 female judge.

Firstly, the prosecutors need to turn over of indictment and evidence to a court. Then they can set the trial dates when the materials meet the standardization for the case, with separated dossiers to each charge. To understand the litigation of proceeding in Indonesia, check these points below;

  1. Commencement of Civil Proceedings; it started with the legal action with submitting a complaint to the District Court where the defendant’s domicile. It takes at least 3 days before the first court hearing.
  2. Appeal to the High Court; it happens when the losing party seems unsatisfied with the previous decision. It requires within 14-30 days to be lodged from the final District Court.
  3. Appeal to the Supreme Court; the losing party can appeal to the Supreme Court if the decision of the High Court seems to be unfair.
  4. Execution of Judgments; if the court decision from District, High, and Supreme Court has been finalized by prevailing the same party, the conservatory attachment will change to execution order.

Indonesian procedure law basically doesn’t apply the pre-judgment remedies concepts before it is registered to a claim. To accommodate the defendant’s request, the panel judges will issue a provisional decision. It is how criminal proceedings in Indonesia work nowadays.

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