International Short Course Day I: The Discussion on Political Dynamics in the Asian Constitutional Courts
02 October 2018

The 2018 International Short Course of AACC was successfully held on October 2-3, 2018 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia; hosted by The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Indonesia under the theme: “Constitutional Court and Constitutionalism in Political Dynamics.” During the first day of Short Course, there are top-notch speakers which presented 4 sub-themes and discussed with the representatives of member countries of AACC and also domestic participants from several Indonesian universities.


The First Presentation for the First Day of the Short Course was delivered by the Former Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Indonesia, Mr. Hamdan Zoelva. The presentation was titled “Constitutionalism at the Crossroads, Law, Politics, and Society”, and put forward the importance in Constitutionalism on carrying out the Government. He stated that the Constitution plays an important role in ensuring that an abuse of Democracy does not happen, by way of the separation of powers.


The Second Presentation was delivered by the Justice of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Indonesia, Mr. I Dewa Gede Palguna, with the title of “Law and Politics in Indonesia: Sustainability and Change”. During the discussion, the questions arose regarding the separation between Political Influences and the Judicial system. As per Mr. Palguna said, “the Constitutional Court cannot separate itself from Political issues and influences because it is part of the decision making process to put into consideration the related political situation.”


The Third Presentation was delivered by Former Justice of the Constitutional Court, Mr. Maruarar Siahaan, with the title “Political Pressure on the Constitutional Court Decisions”. He explained that Judges in general use the same principles (The Bangalore Principles, 2002) that obligates Judges to have six core values of Independence, which are Impartiality, Integrity, Equality, Competence and Diligence. However, in practice it is difficult for judges not to fall within the pressures from a number of sources from outside or within the judges itself, such as certain religious or political views. With impartiality, he said, it is hoped that judges have the power to reject such threats and interventions, by equipping themselves with sufficient information from credible sources of law and the needed expert views.  


The Fourth and last presentation of the First Day of the Short Course was delivered by the Professor of the Faculty of Law of the University of Surakarta, Mr. Aidul Fitriciada Azhari titled “Can the Constitutional Court be Free of Politics?”. As a matter of principle, he explained that the Constitutional Court should be free from any political influences. However, in reality, such separation is almost impossible to achieve and even some cases actually relate to each other. The Bangalore Principle states that “no outsider, be it government, group, individual or another judge, should interfere, or attempt to interfere” with the judge’s way in conducting and concluding a case. The Constitutional Court requires the political system to respect and recognize judicial independence, in order for the Constitutional Court to be free from Politics. (SO)