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Successful final conference Building Blocks for the Rule of Law

10 July 2012

Jakarta, 25th and 26th of June 2012

Since 1998 Indonesia has introduced sweeping political and legal reforms in order to establish good governance and the rule of law. There exists widespread agreement that such measures are required to promote development in all of its aspects, ranging from the need to provide guarantees in order to attract foreign investment, to the availability of a system that can provide social justice to Indonesia’s poor. Unfortunately, the political nature of this process and the vested interests involved render this process exceedingly difficult and long term in nature. However, the problems are not only a matter of politics, but also of legal capacity building.

The said reform process hinges to a large extent upon the question whether Indonesia will actually be able to improve the functioning of its legal system, in all of its aspects: lawmaking, law implementation, and dispute resolution. This requires a large pool of well-educated jurists to perform these tasks. The past years have indicated how difficult it is to find well-qualified jurists and socio-legal scholars, in spite of the high number of lawyers churned out by the hundreds of law schools in the country. It is therefore mandatory that the quality of the legal and socio-legal education system will be improved over the next decade.

The Building Blocks for the Rule of Law project was initiated in 2008 by the law faculties of both Groningen and Leiden University within the framework of the Indonesian Facility of the Dutch Government. The aim of this project is to contribute to that goal by strengthening the teaching and research capacity of the Law Faculty of the University of Indonesia and other participating Indonesian law faculties. This is not a task that can be carried out by any partner from the ‘developed world’. Experience with American and Australian support for legal education in Indonesia has indicated that the absence of common roots of the legal systems involved hampers the provision of substantive input into legal education. This has translated into an urgent demand from Indonesian law faculties and other legal institutions for Dutch legal knowledge. In particular comparative knowledge on the development of legal fields with a similar basis – often similar legal provisions and codes – in combination with knowledge of how these subjects are taught in Dutch law schools today.

Three legal areas have been selected for co-operation on the said basis of a common heritage, namely civil law, criminal law/criminology, and labour law. To these three, socio-legal studies on law, governance and development have been added because of the increasing demand for socio-legal scholars in Indonesia by both foreign donors, government agencies and NGOs.

The programme consisted of altogether thirteen courses for young Indonesian law lecturers, co-taught by Dutch and Indonesian professors/lecturers. In order to leave a lasting mark on Indonesian legal education in these fields, those involved in the teaching participated in a final conference where the results were discussed. Four of the altogether six textbooks were presented on the conference to the Dutch Ambassador in Indonesia, mr. Tjeerd de Zwaan, and to the rector of Universitas Indonesia, prof. Gumilar Somantri. Those can be used by Indonesian law faculties in the future. Groningen lecturers prof. Wilbert Kolkman, mr. Hans ter Haar, prof. Leon Verstappen and mr. Fokke Jan Vonck, delivered a major contribution to two of these books on Land Law and Family Law.

Last modified:02 January 2024 2.57 p.m.
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