Trials of People Smugglers in Indonesia: 2007-2012

This policy paper addresses the critical need for greater knowledge and understanding of how the contemporary Indonesian legal system is dealing with people smuggling. It primarily presents the findings of a survey of court cases from May 2011 to December 2012, in the first year and a half of the operation of Law 6/2011 on Immigration. The paper identifies patterns in court cases in terms of the location of people smuggling operations, profiles of the accused, the criminal charges laid against them, and the severity of penalties handed down by the courts. The paper argues that any efforts to increase the scope and depth of such cooperation between Australia and Indonesia must take into account the progress made by law enforcement agencies in prosecuting people smugglers in Indonesian courts, as well as the challenges they confront.

Dr Melissa Crouch is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Law Faculty, the National University of Singapore. In July-August 2012, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the International Institute of Asian Studies, Leiden. From 2011-2012, she was a Research Fellow at the Melbourne Law School, the University of Melbourne. Melissa has published widely in peer-reviewed journals such as the Sydney Law Review, Asian Studies Review and the Singapore Journal of Legal Studies, and has a forthcoming book on Law and Religion in Indonesia: Faith, Conflict and the Courts in West Java (Routledge). She is one of the Editors of The Australian Journal of Asian Law.

Dr Antje Missbach is a McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellow at the Melbourne Law School. Her current research concentrates on transit migration and people smuggling in Indonesia. She spent 10 months in the field to collect material for her latest project. Her previous research focused on the long-distance politics of the Acehnese diaspora. Her investigations brought her to Malaysia, Indonesia, Scandinavia, Australia and the USA. Her book Politics and Conflict in Indonesia: The Role of the Acehnese Diaspora was published in 2011 by Routledge and translated into Indonesian in 2012. Before coming to Melbourne in 2011, she held positions as research fellow at the Berlin Graduate School for Muslim Cultures and Societies and as lecturer at the Ruprecht-Karls University in Heidelberg.