The Role of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Indonesia in Protecting Socio-Economic Rights
05 November 2019

Six delegates of the Association of Asian Constitutional Courts and Equivalent Institutions (AACC) were speakers in "The 3rd Indonesian Constitutional Court International Symposium (ICCIS 2019), Short Course, and Call for Papers" in Nusa Dua, Bali, Monday (04/11/2019). They are Saldi Isra (Indonesia), Tan Sri Tengku Maimun bt Tuan Mat (Malaysia), Chun Lim Im (Cambodia), Syed Mahmud Hossain (Bangladesh), Mohammad Qasim Hashimizai (Afghanistan), and Azmirlda Zahir (the Maldives). The presentations were moderated by Kairat Mami Abdrazakuly (Chairman of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakshtan).


Constitutional Justice Saldi Isra delivered a paper entitled "The Role of the Indonesian Constitutional Court in Protecting Social and Economic Rights." Saldi emphasized that the 1945 Constitution recognizes and protects human rights (HAM), especially social and economic rights. The inclusion of articles on human rights especially social and economic rights in the 1945 Constitution proves that Indonesia is a rule of law committed to recognizing and respecting human rights. To ensure the recognition and ratification of these rights, the 1945 Constitution authorizes the Constitutional Court to examine the constitutionality of laws. With this authority, the potential for human rights violations by laws passed by the state can be minimized by the Constitutional Court.


Justice Saldi explained, in exercising its authority to decide on judicial review petitions of laws against the 1945 Constitution, since its establishment in 2003 until July 2019, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Indonesia (MKRI) had received 1,272 judicial review petitions. A total of 1,258 cases have been decided, 261 of which were granted. He mentioned several decisions of the Constitutional Court concerning the protection of social and economic rights: Decisions No. 15/PUU-XIV/2016, 026/PUU-III/2005, 70/PUU-IX/2011, 85/PUU-XI/2013, and 27/PUU-IX/2011.


Tan Sri Tengku Maimun bt Tuan Mat (Chief Justice of Malaysia) said Malaysia does not have a constitutional court that specifically deals with the protection of socio-economic rights. Instead, the protection of these rights is the responsibility of various high courts in Malaysia. The courts in Malaysia carry out their roles and functions when socio-economic problems turn into actionable cases. In other words, when someone feels persecuted or their social and economic rights violated, they bring it to the court as the bastion of justice. Then the court carries out its constitutional duty to uphold human rights.


According to her, the most important thing in carrying out constitutional duties is judicial independence and the integrity of justices. The justices decide cases without being overshadowed by fear, without pressure from within or from outside, so that the protection of socio-economic rights is truly realized. (NRA)


Translated by: Dedy/Yuniar Widiastuti