Jakarta. New research by a prominent watchdog reveals an alarming trend in the fight against graft, showing that well over half of corruption suspects tried in court in the first half of the year were acquitted. Released on Sunday, Indonesia Corruption Watch data showed that 54.8 percent of defendants facing charges of corruption in regular courts — including district or municipal courts, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court — ended up walking free. Of those who were convicted, 8 out of 10 received sentences under five years.
“This is an indication of how our courts do not show seriousness in punishing corruptors — 54 percent is a huge number,” said Donal Fariz, an ICW law researcher and head of the watchdog’s court monitoring division. The first six months of the year saw 166 graft defendants tried in 103 cases in various courts, with district courts handling 82 cases, he said. Bureaucrats topped the list of defendants, followed by lawmakers and counselors, local government officials, teachers, lecturers and a former minister.
Cases largely involved school and local government spending. “We need to watch our appellate courts, because their trend is pretty different from our antigraft court’s,” Donal said, adding that in 17 cases handled by the Anti-Corruption Court over the same period, no defendants were acquitted. Alongside the 54 percent of defendants acquitted, the data shows that 22.9 percent of defendants were jailed for up to two years, and 18 percent for two to five years. The average sentence was 12 to 13 months. Read more