Survey: Akil Mochtar Failed as Chief Justice

Survey: Akil Mochtar Failed as Chief Justice

None of the rulings passed in cases overseen by Akil Mochtar, the disgraced former chief justice of the Constitutional Court, passed muster, according to a survey of 200 experts looking back at the now corruption suspect’s record on the bench.

“There was not a single satisfactory score for the quality of verdicts made under Akil Mochtar’s leadership,” Hendardi, the chairman of the Setara Institute, a think tank that carried out the survey, said on Monday in Jakarta.

He said Setara polled 200 state administrative experts about the performance of the Constitutional Court over its 10 years of existence and under its three different chief justices.

Ninety-four percent of respondents said that under Jimly Asshiddiqie, the inaugural chief justice, the verdicts issued by the court were of an academic nature, while 89.7 percent deemed the verdicts “argumentative.”

Under the leadership of Mahfud M.D., however, 89.7 percent of respondents said the rulings by the court had been more progressive, while 79.5 percent said they were at the same time argumentative.

“Meanwhile, under Akil’s leadership, [80 percent of respondents thought] the quality of the verdicts were more political in nature,” Hendardi said.

Akil, who was only appointed the chief justice in August this year, was replaced by Hamdan Zoelva.

The polling for Setara’s “Perception Index Report” was conducted from Oct. 7-15, less than a week after Akil was arrested on Oct. 2 while allegedly transacting a bribe.

Respondents in the survey, conducted online, said Akil’s arrest had not completely tarnished the Constitutional Court’s reputation, with 82.1 percent saying they were confident that the court could bounce back and repair its reputation.

“Although [Akil’s case] was highly regrettable, the respondents were sure that the Constitutional Court would be able to regain the public’s trust,” Hendardi said.

The Constitutional Court’s decision earlier this month to dismiss Akil for ethical violations was deemed a positive step toward reviving trust in the institution, the survey showed.

Hendardi also said that the Constitutional Court had exercised its authority well in conducting judicial reviews of contentious laws and regulations. Some 79.5 percent of the state management experts polled said they considered the court had performed positively with regard to its various decisions on upholding or striking down laws and articles brought before it.

However, the respondents said the court’s performance in handling regional election disputes had affected the institution’s integrity, with 69.2 percent recommending the establishment of another court tasked solely with that duty.

Akil was arrested and charged for taking bribes from individuals with a stake in at least two election disputes being heard by the court. Among the others arrested by the KPK was Hambit Bintih, the head of Gunung Mas district in Central Kalimantan, whose re-election victory was being disputed at the Constitutional Court.

Edwin Sihombing

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