The elections of 2014 are a critical juncture in Indonesian history. Fifteen years after the end of the authoritarian New Order, and after ten years of democratic rule under Yudhoyono, Indonesians must decide whether to consolidate the democratic reforms introduced after the fall of Soeharto, or dismantle them. This choice has polarised Indonesians and many feel confused by events this year. This paper looks at the increasingly divisive debate over democracy and Reformasi in Indonesia to assess whether his country will move backward or forward after the new administration is sworn in on 20 October. It then focuses on human rights and other key areas of law reform that need attention, as well as the threats they face, to set out an agenda for getting Indonesian Reformasi back on track.
Professor Todung Mulya Lubis is one of Indonesia’s leading human rights lawyers and most influential legal thinkers. He completed his undergraduate Law degree at the University of Indonesia (1974); his LLM at the University of California, Berkeley; a second LLM at Harvard Law School; and his JSD at the University of California, Berkeley. He has been a senior Adjunct Member of the Faculty of Law, University of Indonesia since 1990, where he was first appointed in 1975. From 1980- 1983, he was Director of Indonesia’s famous dissident NGO, the Legal Aid Foundation, where he worked for many years. His influential 1983 scholarly book In Search of Human Rights: Legal-Political Dilemmas of Indonesia’s New Order 1966- 1990 played an important role in defining democratic thinking about human rights in Indonesia. Professor Lubis is also Founding and Senior Partner of a prominent law firm in Jakarta, Lubis Santosa & Maramis Law Firm, and has been lead counsel in a number of major human rights cases, often on a pro bono basis. These include acting for the Bali Nine in an attempt to convince Indonesia’s Constitutional Court to abolish the death sentence and against President Soeharto. He has also held a series of senior government appointments. In 2014, he was appointed as Honorary Professor at the Melbourne Law School, the University of Melbourne.