Restorative justice not the way to resolve corruption cases

id corruption,restorative justice

Restorative justice not the way to resolve corruption cases

A corruption suspect headed toward a car. ANTARA/Aditya Pradana Putra/tom/FR

Bandarlampung, Lampung (ANTARA) - Corruption is an extraordinary crime and eradicating it also necessitates putting in extraordinary efforts.

Corruption, as an extraordinary crime, is described within the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in which Indonesia is one of the countries that ratified it.

Amid the efforts to eradicate corruption in Indonesia, a notion that restorative justice should be implemented to tackle corruption emerged that triggered a debate among members of the public.

This discourse on restorative justice emerged once again when Deputy Head of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Johanis Tanak noted that restorative justice for corruption eradication is just an opinion.

In his view, restorative justice can not only be implemented in general criminal cases but also special criminal cases, including corruption.

However, at a webinar, titled "Restorative Justice for Corruption Case Resolution," Deputy Head of KPK noted that the agency is reviewing the implementation of restorative justice in the handling of corruption cases in Indonesia.

In essence, restorative justice is a criminal case resolution concept outside the legal process that prioritizes mediation, tolerance toward the victims' interest, and exploration of a solution, not right or wrong.

There are those who support the implementation of restorative justice for certain corruption cases, such as for perpetrators, who afflict small-scale state losses since the legal process costs will be high if the case continued.

Restorative justice can also be applied for people, such as village officials, who committed graft, as they are unaware of the regulation.

State losses due to corruption are deemed to be quite high while the compensation is very small.

Indonesia Corruption Watch recorded that the state's losses in 2021 due to corruption for cases that entered the court proceedings reached Rp62.9 trillion.


One of the forms of restorative justice in corruption is the obligation to return all graft results and every type of benefit that the perpetrators gained.

However, some people object to this since they harbor concerns that it would eliminate the deterrent effect, especially since graft criminals already received remission and parole.

Moreover, corruption is usually undertaken by more than one person, and those who undergo the legal process are usually the main perpetrators of the act.

When it comes to restorative justice for corruption criminals, several practitioners and law observers expressed concerns that corruption will proliferate.

Moreover, corruption is always related to other types of crime, such as money laundering and tax crime.

One of the criminal law observers from Lampung Sopian Sitepu stated that before restorative justice exists, there is already a legal effort through an entity known as justice collaborator.

Justice collaborator is someone who seeks to cooperate with the law enforcement apparatus to uncover a certain organized criminal case that poses a serious threat.

This criminal case encompasses corruption, terrorism, drugs, money laundering, human trafficking, and other organized crimes.

To this end, the implementation of restorative justice should strictly take into account the earlier regulation. It should be done wisely since there is already a justice collaborator in the effort to eradicate corruption.

While it is still being discussed, he remarked that restorative justice should not be applied for the main perpetrator of a corruption case.

In a corruption case, not every perpetrator is penalized apart from the main ones. To this end, restorative justice should not be applied for main perpetrators of a corruption case.

However, restorative justice can still be implemented selectively for those who are not the main perpetrators.

For instance, it can be applied by taking into account the insignificant loss as compared to the cost that the state has to incur to process it.

Main perpetrators of a corruption case should certainly face more severe punishment to deter anyone seeking to commit graft.

In addition, restorative justice is expected to not weaken corruption eradication in Indonesia but rather expedite the recovery of state losses.

In connection with this, Sitepu highlighted Article 4 of the Corruption Criminal Act Law which stipulates that the return of state financial losses does not eliminate the perpetrators' punishment.

Thus, this should be a reference point if restorative justice is applied for corruption cases in the future.

Meanwhile, law observer from Lampung University's Faculty of Law Yusdianto noted that the implementation of restorative justice in corruption eradication should be reviewed academically, especially if it involves regulation.

Nonetheless, he criticized the implementation of restorative justice in corruption cases. Corruption cases may not decline, but rather increase, especially since perpetrators not only come from the executive branch but also the judicial and legislative branches.

Restorative justice should be undertaken selectively, with clear definition over a general criminal act resolved outside of the court.

However, if the government seeks to implement it, then they need to walk a long road, especially if it involves changes in regulations related to corruption.

The discourse surrounding restorative justice should not be extinguished in a hurry. However, it must be studied more closely along with retributive efforts based on the perpetrators' crime.

This is because corruption cases in Indonesia continue to occur, and it is still difficult to return the state losses entirely.

However, one principle that cannot be compromised on is the fact that the main perpetrators of corruption cannot receive restorative justice.

Hence, regardless of the scale, corruption is an extraordinary crime that leaves no room for compromise. Thus, implementation of restorative justice to eradicate corruption is not a prudent approach.