Pro bono initiative launched by the School of Law
The School of Law's new pro bono initiative was launched last week, as part of a seminar highlighting issues surrounding human rights and the death penalty in Indonesia.
Guest speakers Raynov Tumorang Ramintori and Ricky Gunawan both work for a pro bono clinic in Indonesia, providing legal support and access to justice for those who are treated unfairly by the legal system. Both Raynov and Ricky provided examples of the criminal and social injustice they have encountered.
“In Indonesia, we have a saying,” Ricky said. “If you lose your chicken and call the police, you are going to lose your cow.”
In the seminar, Raynov and Ricky gave an insight into the high levels of corruption within Indonesian police and court systems, as well as recounting some alarming examples of police officers breaching the suspects’ basic human rights. The lawyers disclosed that a bribe of between 10m and 50m Indonesian rupiah (approx. £500 - £3,000) could make the police officers promise to drop the suspect's case, or offer them a reduced sentence in a luxury cell. The problem with that, they added, is that bribery doesn't come with receipts and the police officers would often deny that the illegal transaction ever happened.
Ricky also shared his experience of representing a number of people sentenced to death for drug trafficking, as well as homosexuals who were publicly humiliated and abused by the police. One of his clients was physically abused and forced to perform sexual activities with his partner outside the police station in Jakarta. Ricky related that it is extremely difficult to achieve social justice in cases like this, as he remarked that the "Indonesian President is allergic to any arguments that relate to human rights."
Pro bono lawyers like Raynov and Ricky rely on the help they receive from volunteers, especially law students who can provide valuable background research. The School of Law's new pro bono initiative provides students with an opportunity to get involved in such work and support promoting social justice, while gaining valuable experience and enhancing employability skills. If you would like to get involved, and/or want further information, please contact Professor Sue Rivers, Head of the School of Law, at email@example.com.