§ Criminal Law

Indonesian Criminal Law

Criminal law includes all the rules that determine what is prohibited and included in a crime, and what penalties can be imposed on people who violate the Code of Criminal Law (KUHP).

The Code of Criminal Law is contained in three chapters. Chapter I defines the terms and procedures to be followed in criminal cases and specifies mitigating circumstances that may affect the severity of a sentence.

Chapters II and III, respectively, define the categories of felonies and misdemeanors and prescribe the penalties for each type of offense. The distinction between felonies and misdemeanors generally conforms to that in Western countries.

Criminal investigatory powers are vested mainly in the police. A suspect can be held only twenty-four hours before the investigating officials present their charges and obtain a detention order from a judge. Specific limits are established on how long a suspect can be held before a trial.

The new code expressly grants the accused the right to learn the charges against him or her, to be examined immediately by investigating officials, and to have the case referred to a prosecutor, submitted to court, and tried before a judge. The accused also has the right to obtain legal counsel at all levels of the proceedings. Should it turn out that a person has been wrongly charged or detained under the new code, he or she has the right to sue for compensation and for the restoration of rights and status.

In practice, the new criminal procedures code did not always live up to its promise. Prohibitions against mistreatment and arbitrary detention, for example, were sometimes ignored, as were guarantees regarding adequate defense counsel. This was especially true, as noted by outside jurists, in political cases.

In addition, the 1981 code was supposed to apply to all criminal cases, with a temporary exception made for special laws on subversion and treason that contain their own procedures for prosecution; these special laws had not been brought under the provisions of the new code in 1992.

The Limits of Detention:
Arrest and Preliminary Investigation: 24 hours (Criminal Procedure Code, Article 19)

Investigation: 20 days with the possibility of extension for a further 40 days (Criminal Procedure Code, Article 20 and 24)

Indictment will be handed over to the prosecutor, and the Detainee will be detained in a Prison to await trial: 20 days with possibility of extension for a further 30 days (Criminal Procedure Code, 20(2), 25)

Trial: 30 days with possibility of extension for a further 60 days (Criminal Procedure Code, Article 20(3), 26)

In addition to these conditions, detention for investigation purposes can be extended by up to 60 days if the suspect or accused suffers from a serious physical or mental disorder that can be proven by a medical document or if the case under investigation carries a penalty of nine years imprisonment or more.

Please note that the material on our website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as a legal opinion or legal advice.

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