Posted in: Law

Q&A: Melissa Crouch on the Blasphemy Law

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Police declared Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, or Ahok, a suspect for blasphemy last week, following major protests from hard-line religious groups. How has the 1965 Blasphemy Law been used in democratic Indonesia? What type of behaviour is typically deemed blasphemous? Is Ahok likely to receive a fair trial? We spoke to Dr Melissa Crouch, who has published widely on the Blasphemy Law, about these questions and more.

Indonesia’s long wait for its own criminal code

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The Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) is in desperate need of reform. But recent attempts to revise the code have faltered, as lawmakers have become bogged down in debates over the wording of specific articles. Hal Tilemann writes that the significant progress made by the national legislature in its discussion of the new draft code is cause for cautious optimism.

Mahfud MD: Indonesian bureaucracy is rubbish

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Last week, Indonesia at Melbourne spoke to former Constitutional Court Chief Justice Mahfud MD during a visit to Melbourne Law School. In this Q&A, Mahfud reflects on a number of the controversial cases that came before the court during his tenure, as well as prospects for anti-corruption and bureaucratic reform under President Joko Widodo.

Is anyone watching the Constitutional Court judges?

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Over recent months, the public has again had reason to question the quality of judges serving in the Constitutional Court. Muhammad Tanziel Aziezi, from the Institute for an Independent Judiciary (LeIP), examines the selection process for Constitutional Court judges and outlines what needs to change to ensure that Indonesia has better quality judges and, consequently, better quality decisions.

Is the MPR plotting an end to direct presidential elections?

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For more than a year, the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) has been quietly working on plans to amend the 1945 Constitution for a fifth time, and reinstate the State Policy Guidelines (GBHN). Bivitri Susanti writes that although the term “state policy guidelines” might sound rather innocuous, the return of the GBHN could have grave political consequences.

First blasphemy, now homosexuality?

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Indonesia's Constitutional Court will today hold a fifth hearing on a legal challenge to the Criminal Code that seeks to criminalise same-sex intercourse between consenting adults. PhD candidate Daniel Peterson writes that the Court's approach when it upheld the Blasphemy Law in 2009 suggests that the outlook for Indonesia's LGBT community is bleak.

Will the Arcandra debacle provide the impetus for dual citizenship?

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Arcandra Tahar lasted just 20 days in cabinet, with the revelation that he also held US citizenship ending his stint as minister of energy and mineral resources. The former deputy minister of law and human rights, Professor Denny Indrayana, looks at the administrative errors that were made, and asks whether the incident will finally lead to action on multiple citizenship in Indonesia.

Why divorce doesn't work for Indonesian women

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Divorces are becoming more common in Indonesia, and women are now responsible for 80 per cent of divorce applications. Dr Dina Afrianty writes that although Indonesian law requires husbands and fathers to pay child support and maintenance after divorce, women have few avenues for redress if their former husbands don’t pull their weight.

What explains Indonesia’s enthusiasm for the death penalty?

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Indonesia has recently seen a surge in enthusiasm for capital punishment, with public officials lining up to declare their support. How can this be explained? Are officials just responding to public demands? Nurkholis Hidayat examines Indonesia's embrace of the death penalty and looks at what it means for the justice sector.

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