A judicial panel in Indonesia on Tuesday (Nov 7) found the Constitutional Court’s chief justice guilty of a conflict of interest over his part in a ruling that allowed President Joko Widodo’s son to run for the vice presidency.
Anwar Usman, who is the president’s brother-in-law, was ordered to step down as the court’s senior judge for his failure to recover himself from a case in which the outcome benefited his nephew, Gibran Rakabuming Raka.
Gibran is Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto’s running mate for the Feb 14 election.
The ethics panel, which cannot change the outcome of the case, said Anwar could remain one of the court’s nine judges but must not take part in any election cases in which he could have a conflict of interest.
The panel was formed to probe the conduct of judges amid a public outcry after they ruled a minimum age requirement of 40 needs not apply to all election candidates, paving the way for Gibran, 36, to join the race.
Anwar “was proven to have violated judges’ ethical code specifically the principle of neutrality and integrity as he did not prosecute himself”, the panel said.
It said, without elaborating, that Anwar “had purposely opened a room for intervention from an external party” and thus had “violated the principle of independence”.
The ruling, which came just three days out from the start of registration for the election, caused a huge stir in Indonesia and alleged accusations that the president had influenced the court’s decision.