Indonesia-Swiss MLA Agreement
Indonesia’ Minister of Law and Human Rights and The Swiss Confederation signed a Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) on Monday (04/02). Photo: State Official

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Indonesia’ and Switzerland  signed a Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) in criminal issues. The agreement was signed by the Minister of Law and Human Rights Yasonna Hamonangan Laoly and Head of the Department of Justice and Swiss Federal Police Karin Keller Sutter in Bern on Monday (04/02).

The agreement contains 39 articles, which, among others, regulate legal assistance regarding tracking, freezing, confiscation and seizure of assets resulting from crime, also fighting crime in the taxation sector or tax fraud.

“President Jokowi Widodo stressed that the importance of this agreement is a legal cooperation platform. Especially in the government’ efforts to eradicate corruption and return assets resulting from corruption or asset recovery,” the minister said in a written statement.

The Indonesian government, according to Laoly, seeks to ensure that Indonesian citizens or legal entities comply with tax regulations. Then do not commit tax evasion or other tax crimes.

“The scope of this reciprocal criminal assistance is an important part in the framework of supporting the criminal justice process in the requesting country,” said Laoly.

He added, that the Indonesia-Switzerland MLA agreement a remarkable achievement of criminal reciprocal assistance because the country is the largest financial center in Europe. The agreement, based on Indonesia’ proposal, adheres to the retroactive principle.

The principle, Laoly explained, made it possible to reach out to criminal acts that had been committed before the entry into force of the agreement. As long as the court decision has not been implemented.

“This is very important to reach out to the crimes committed before this agreement,” he said.

The Indonesia-Swiss MLA agreement is the 10th criminal legal cooperation agreement signed by Indonesia along with other countries. Previously with ASEAN countries, Australia, Hong Kong, China, South Korea, India, Vietnam, UAE and Iran. As for Switzerland, the 14th MLA agreement was signed with non-European countries.

Defore the signed the agreement, the two countries held two meetings to discuss the agreement. The first time was done in Bali in 2015. Then the second time in 2017 in Bern to complete the discussion of articles that had not been agreed upon at the first negotiation.

It was signed that the MLA agreement could not immediately be followed by the execution of taking assets resulting from criminal acts. The agreement requires prior ratification by the House of Representatives.

In addition, the Attorney General’ Office as executor must also take a number of steps before utilizing the facility. Indonesia’ Attorney General M. Prasetyo said that he would not yet submit assistance for returning assets in the near future.

“Learning from Nigeria’s experience, it takes a long time to really get real results,” he said.

Prasetyo stated, in general, the contents of the agreement concern on helping to present witnesses, request documents, records and evidence, assist in handling objects and assets for the purpose of confiscating or returning assets; provide information relating to a crime, and looking for someone’s existence and assets.

Next, trace, freeze, confiscate the results and tools used in committing a crime, request documents relating to a crime, detain someone for interrogation and confrontation, call witnesses and experts to give statements, and provide other assistance in accordance with the agreement that is not against the law in the country requested by the government.

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: theinsiderstories@gmail.com

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