The decision by the South Jakarta District Court to stop a graft investigation against media mogul Dahlan Iskan on the grounds that prosecutors have insufficient evidence, could serve as an indicator that the Attorney General’s Office may have charged the former state-owned enterprise minister prematurely.
Dahlan, who also served as president director of state power firm PLN from 2009 to 2011, appears to have been charged based only on witness statements, without any other supporting evidence.
The pretrial ruling also serves as a reminder to Indonesian prosecutors and police that in order to gain public confidence and trust, investigations must be conducted thoroughly and evidence must be assessed carefully before charges are served.
If both institutions wish to revive their tarnished image, they must be aware that even the slightest wrong move could not only further detach themselves from their greater goal but also diminish their standing in the eyes of the Indonesian public.
Having said this, the court ruling can also be seen as encouraging news for those challenging arbitrary criminal charges brought by the police and the AGO; it proves that the courts are able to assess the evidence on its merits.
This decision also restores a sense of renewed faith in Indonesia’s law enforcement officials, particularly judges, providing hope that our legal system may still have a conscience.