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Indonesia: Harsher Punishment for Sex Crimes Considered

(May 16, 2016) On May 11, 2016, Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture, Puan Maharani, announced that a new regulation on sexual violence against children will be issued in the near future. According to Maharani, “[i]t is the commitment of the President, who believes that sexual violence is an extraordinary crime and the punishment should be a deterrent.” (Ayomi Amindoni, ‘Sexual Abusers Face Castration, Chip Implants, 20-Year Prison Terms,’ JAKARTA POST (May 11, 2016).)

Under the proposal, the maximum sentence for sexual violence against children will be 20 years of imprisonment, plus, on a case by case basis, the convict may be subject to chemical castration and/or implantation of microchips that track location. Maharani also said that the names of individuals convicted of sexual abuse would be made public. (Id.)

Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, in speaking about the need for harsh measures, specifically mentioned chemical castration. He also called for increased coordination among the police, the Attorney General’s office, and other relevant institutions. Change is needed, he said, because the number of cases is rising. He went on to “demand that the Office of the Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister coordinate [law enforcement institutions] to deter offenders and potential offenders from committing this crime.” (Ayomi Amindoni, Sexual Assault Extraordinary Crime, President Says, JAKARTA POST (May 10, 2016).)

A proposed law on the elimination of sexual violence is currently on the parliamentary agenda, but had not been listed as a priority item. (RUU tentang Penghapusan Kekerasan Seksual [Bill on the Elimination of Sexual Violence], PROGRAM LEGISLASI NASIONAL, House of Representatives website (last visited May 11, 2016) (scroll down to no. 167); PROLEGNAS PRIORITAS (2016) [PRIORITY PROPOSED LEGISLATION (2016)], House of Representatives website (last visited May 11, 2016).) The administration is apparently taking the step of proposing a regulation in lieu of law because the legislature was at one time reported not to be able to consider the matter promptly. (‘Sexual Abusers Face Castration, Chip Implants, 20-Year Prison Terms,’ supra.) However, the House of Representatives’ legislation chairman, Supratman Andi Agtas, speaking in Jakarta on May 18, 2016, said that due to a number of well-publicized criminal cases that demonstrated the need for the new law, the parliament will discuss the legislation in the near future.  (Erika Anindita Dewi, House Pushes Sexual Violence Bill as Govt Plans to Issue Perppu, JAKARTA POST (May 19, 2016).)