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Indonesia Constitutional Court Chief Justice faces allegations of ethics violations

The Constitutional Court announced the formation of an Honorary Council to probe allegations of ethics code violations involving Chief Judge Anwar Usman, tied to a decision benefiting President Jokowi’s nephew, Gibran Rakabuming.

The Council, comprising three members, aims to impartially investigate the accusations in a specified timeframe.

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INDONESIA: The Tim Advokasi Peduli Pemilu (TAPP), an elections advocacy team, has leveled serious accusations against the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, Anwar Usman, in connection with the court’s ruling on the minimum age requirement for presidential and vice-presidential candidates.

The team alleges that Anwar Usman committed four significant violations, including disgraceful conduct, violation of his oath of office, failure to meet the qualifications for a constitutional judge, and a breach of the code of ethics and conduct for constitutional judges.

Consequently, TAPP has called upon the Honorary Council of the Constitutional Court to take punitive action against the accused judge, advocating for his dishonorable dismissal.

This demand was articulated by Gugum Ridho Putra, a member of the team, during a press statement on Monday (23 Oct).

The accusations stem from TAPP’s thorough investigation, which unearthed apparent anomalies in the dissenting opinions expressed by Constitutional Court judges Saldi Isra and Arief Hidayat.

Furthermore, the team raised strong suspicions that Anwar Usman, who happens to be President Jokowi’s brother-in-law, had transgressed the code of ethics and conduct for constitutional judges.

Anwar’s alleged untruthfulness about his attendance at judges’ deliberation meetings and his purported connection to cases that could impact the 2024 presidential election have fueled these allegations.

In particular, Anwar’s assertion that he was absent from these meetings due to health reasons, rather than to avoid a conflict of interest, was considered a breach of the integrity principle, which necessitates honesty from constitutional judges.

The team also pointed out that Anwar did not recuse himself from cases involving Gibran Rakabuming Raka’s political interests for the 2024 presidential election, despite his familial ties.

Gugum concluded that Anwar Usman’s actions have violated specific legal provisions, including Article 17 of Law No. 48 of 2009 on Judicial Power, along with the Code of Ethics and Conduct for Judges, particularly the principle of impartiality.

Constitutional Court forms Honorary Council to probe alleged ethics violations

In response to these allegations, the Constitutional Court has officially announced the establishment of an Honorary Council to investigate the ethics code violation claims against Anwar Usman.

In a press conference on Monday (23 Oct), Constitutional Court Spokesperson Enny Nurbaningsih explained that a meeting among judges resulted in the decision to create the Honorary Council, with a mandate to review at least seven reports concerning Anwar Usman’s conduct.

The accusations revolve around ethics code violations connected to the decision concerning the age requirements for presidential and vice presidential candidates in the 2024 general election.

Notably, this decision favored President Jokowi’s son and Anwar’s nephew, Solo’s Mayor Gibran Rakabuming.

Enny elaborated that the Honorary Council would consist of three individuals: former MK Chief Judge Jimly Asshidique, academic and legal expert Bintan Saragih, and Constitutional Judge Wahiduddin Adams.

According to Enny, each member has a distinct role in the Council: Jimly represents the public, Bintan Saragih represents academia, and Wahiduddin Adams represents the active judicial aspect.

Despite being appointed by Anwar Usman, who is directly implicated in the case, Enny emphasized that the Honorary Council members will examine the reports without any conflicts of interest.

Furthermore, she asserted that there would be no undue interference in the Council’s proceedings.

Constitutional Court’s age limit decision raises conflict of interest concerns

The Constitutional Court’s decision on the minimum age limit for presidential and vice-presidential candidates has garnered significant criticism, as it paves the way for President Jokowi’s son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, to register as a candidate for the 2024 Presidential Election.

This decision, which narrowly passed with a split-bench, has raised concerns about conflicts of interest, particularly due to Chief Justice Anwar Usman’s familial ties to the president.

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