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Indonesian Death Penalty Mechanism

Mar 03, 2015

"Provisions in force today regarding the procedures for the implementation of the death penalty for people who are sentenced to death by a court within the general court and people either military or non- military court sentenced to death by military courts are not in accordance with the development progress of the state as well as the soul of the Indonesian Revolution ; that because of the above , it should immediately make adjustments" Sukarno 1964

Curiously this is the foreword to the regulations for carrying out executions in Indonesia.

The regulations are not a law of the Indonesian parliament, democratically elected, they are a dictatorial decree of a President from a different era, the era of Indonesia which saw absolutism of the military and gouging death purges of the civilian Indonesian society.

I have translated the regulation, the original of which can be found here,  particularly so that its implementation may be compared with current events arising out of the death sentences imposed on Chan and Sukurmaran by the Denpasar District Court in Bali and their much heralded proposed execution on Nusa Kembangan, an island off the coast of Java. Much of the tenor of the regulations, is that the sub-province (in this case Denpasar, Bali) which orders the death penalty, and the prosecutor that seeks it, must have the stomach to carry it out. In this case, the Bali Governor has made it clear that while he wants the execution to take place, its a case of "not in our backyard", believing it may "spoil the harmonious climate". Funny, that.

Also astray is the regulatory requirement that all guns are loaded prior to the squad entering the execution ground, whereas apparently the administrative practice is to spare the conscience of the police at the expense of legal and biological certainty by only issuing 3 live rounds.

As an administrative lawyer in Australia, I would have thought the divergence from these regulations in the current instance would provide fertile ground for litigation - but I ought not comment more on a current case also because I'm not the lawyer acting and I am not licensed to practice law in Indonesia.

Here is an insight into this aspect of Indonesian culture which survives to this day. 

Article 1:Without prejudice to the provisions of criminal procedural law of the jurisdiction of the sentencing court, then the execution of the death penalty imposed by the civil or military court is by shooting to death, according to the provisions of the following articles.

Article 2: Unless otherwise ordered by the Ministry of Justice, the capital punishment is to be carried out within the geographical jurisdiction of the sentencing court. Persons sentenced to death under the same order shall be executed together at the same time and place unless this is not possible in practice.

Article 3: The Head Police Commissioner for the area of the sentencing court, after hearing the prosecuting attorney, shall determine the time and place of execution. If the there is an impasse regarding the time and place under the authority of a police commissioner from a different district, then the two commissioners must negotiate. It is nevertheless the first Police Commissioner from the area of the sentencing court who must take responsibility for the security and order of the execution and who must supply both the personnel and the equipment needed to carry it out.

Article4: The Police Commissioner for the area of the sentencing court or an officer designated by him must attend the execution together with the prosecuting attorney.

Article5: The condemned must await execution in a prison or other place designated by the prosecuting attorney.

Article6: 72 hours prior to the execution the prosecuting attorney must notify the condemned of their impending execution. If the condemned wish to express a message, then the prosecuting attorney must hear it.

Article7: If the condemned is pregnant, then the execution may only be carried out 40 days' post-partum.

Article8: The condemned's lawyer may at their or the condemned's request, attend the execution.

Article 9: The execution must be carried out out of public view, and without fanfare, unless the President states otherwise.

Article 10: The Head Police Commissioner for the area of the sentencing court will muster a firing squad consisting of twelve enlisted officers and one non-commissioned officer under the command of an officer, all of the police mobile brigade. they shall not use organic weapons. The squad is under the control of the prosecuting attorney.

Article11: the defendants must be brought to the place of execution with a sufficient police escort. If requested the condemned must be accompanied by a spiritual counsellor. The condemned shall be dressed simply and neatly. Upon arrival at the place of execution, the condemned will be blindfolded, unless they refuse it.

Article12: The condemned may stand, sit or kneel. If deemed necessary the prosecuting attorney may order that the condemned's feet and hands be bound to a backrest or as bespoke.

Article13: After the condemned is prepared then the squad will marshal at the place of execution with weapons already loaded not more than 5 and not less than 10 metres from the condemned.

Article14: When preparations are complete the prosecuting attorney will give the order for the execution to commence and all parties will stand back from the condemned. Using their sword as a cue the firing squad leader will give the command to get ready, and raising the sword order the squad to take aim at the heart of the condemned and dropping the sword give the order to fire. If, after the shooting, the condemned still shows signs of life the squad leader will order the non-commissioned officer to dispatch the condemned by a single shot of his pistol placed to the condemned's head above the ear. A doctor may assist in certifying death of the condemned.

Article 15: The burial may be effected by the deceased's family unless the prosecuting attorney decides otherwise in the public interest in which case, or in the event that there is no burial by the family, the state will effect a burial with regard to the religion of the deceased.

Article 16: The prosecuting attorney shall prepare a report on the execution which shall be copied onto the judgment of the sentencing court and a note on his own report that he has done so.










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