Rule of law? (Indonesia)

In a rather frightening new survey, Lembaga Survei Indonesia has that 57% of Indonesians are increasingly dissatisfied with law enforcement in the country. A shocking 31% said that they would take justice into their own hands – in short vigilantism. LSI researcher Dewi Arum explains the results as follows:

Dewi attributed growing dissatisfaction to several factors. Firstly, low public confidence that law enforcement officers would act fairly, with the majority of respondents believing law enforcement officers in Indonesia could easily be persuaded to accommodate vested interests.

Secondly, many politicians, ministers and government officials are involved in corruption cases. Thirdly, the tacit acceptance of mass riots by law enforcers, such as attacks against Ahmadis and Shia followers.

The final factor is weak national leadership in upholding the law consistently. Dewi said that people close to Yudhoyono had committed corruption despite the president’s anti-graft statements.

Perhaps even more surprisingly, 48% of respondents also said that defendants should be prosecuted in accordance with the law, presumably including criminal procedural rights. What isn’t clear is if the remaining 52% believe criminal procedural rights actively hamper law enforcement. The LSI survey results do suggest that a primary concern is bias in enforcement.

The results could help the presidential candidacy of Subianto Prabowo, who has portrayed himself as a “strong” leader who could crack down on crime and get stuff done. However, Prabowo’s support, while not inconsiderable, seems capped at around 20%. It does seem clear that law enforcement will be a central issue on the minds of voters during the 2014 elections. Less clear is whether the candidates will address their concerns.

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