Busyro Muqoddas: “If there is any sign of involvement, we will dismiss him”

THE Judicial Commission, which has been tasked with supervising the performance of judges, plans to summon Supreme Court Chief Justice Bagir Manan. Prior to this, commission chairman Busyro Muqoddas, urged Bagir Manan to disband the panel of judges handling the appeal of the Probosutedjo case. Last week, Busyro met with Tempo reporters L.R. Baskoro, Abdul Manan and L.N. Idayanie for an interview. Excerpts:
Why are you pressing to change the panel of judges in the Probosutedjo appeal case?
The meeting between Pak Bagir and Ibu Harini has not been constructive. No thanks to a statement by Pak Bagir himself. To avoid a conflict of interest, it is best that the panel of judges be replaced. It would be admirable if the initiative came from Pak Bagir himself. It’s not that we are suspicious, but this is to ensure that the position of the chief judge and the image of the Supreme Court does not slide down further.
Will the Judicial Commission have Bagir Manan investigated?
Of course. We have met with the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). When their investigation is completed, we will have a look at it. Even though we are waiting, we remain active. We have also sent out a letter asking Probosutedjo and Sri Edi Swasono to appear and give us their side of the story.
What will the investigations reveal?
The background and status of the case objectively–why this case happened at all. This case contains a number of very interesting issues. First, the meeting between Ibu Harini and Pak Bagir. Second, Harini and a number of Supreme Court employees said that Rp1 billion went to the employees and Rp5 billion went to Bagir Manan. Third, how is it possible for a successful businessman like Probo to pay up Rp6 billion, and later an additional Rp10 million? A major businessman would not be spending so much money if he wasn’t assured of some kind of reward.
If the KPK is to interrogate Bagir Manan and other judges, how binding would be the recommendations?
We asked them to come as judges. Over here, Pak Bagir Manan is not a chief justice. If the study indicates that he is not involved, we will pass on the report to the Supreme Court Chief Justice. But if there is evidence to show guilt, we all agreed to impose the heaviest penalty, which is dismissal from his job. The recommendation would be sent by the Supreme Court, with copies to the president and the House of Representatives (DPR).
In your view, where should we begin if we want to stamp out the ‘justice mafia’?
I have seen that practice as far back as 20 years ago. So, most importantly, there should be a strong, moral will from the Supreme Court leadership. This moral will would be number one. Once we have that, others will follow.
Do you believe this case involved Supreme Court employees at the lower level alone?
I have many friends who are lawyers. Among my friends are also activists who monitor issues of justice. I have come to the conclusion that the justice mafia works just like a well-oiled machine, systemic and chronic. It is unlikely that machine works only with the lower level, because essentially, that mafia sells and buys and conveys the judge’s verdict. The verdict is reached by the judges and the process of ‘tendering’ is done at the bottom layers. This is logical because it’s unlikely that the senior judges will have direct communication with the person offering the bribe. He must protect himself with a very strong layer.
TEMPO, OCTOBER 24, 2005-007/P. 46 Heading Law

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