Prior to the executions of drug smugglers in Indonesia earlier this year, Australian officials had pressed for a delay in the executions, due to a last-ditch appeal in the Constitutional Court of Indonesia. President Joko Widodo did not grant the detainees clemency, and so the executions proceeded.

I do not know how the proceedings in that court went after the executions, but I would assume that the outcome was not in the favor of the (deceased) prisoners.

What would have happened if the court had found in favor of the prisoners after the executions?

1 Answer 1


Virtually nothing.

Just before posting the question, I found this article and became intrigued.

Jakarta: Indonesia's Constitutional Court has no power to alter the death sentences of Bali nine organisers Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan or make any ruling on their case, says Indonesian law expert Tim Lindsey.

Instead, lawyers for the two men hope Indonesian President Joko Widodo will come under political pressure to reassess their pleas for mercy if the court rules that the constitution requires the president to properly consider clemency submissions.

In other words, the only person who could make a difference was Widodo1. The only thing the lawyers could have gained would have been a delay in the executions, prompting time for further pleas to the president.

This article makes things clearer: The case could have had an impact because it challenged the clemency procedures of the president, specifically in regard to foreigners, but the court could not have overturned the death sentences. Normally, its rulings are binding, but this was not so in this case.

1I don't mean to imply that this was all his fault; I apologize if it seems that I do.

  • This means that the court's decision would've served purely as a statement, not as a ruling creating obligation? Is this how the court works in all its cases, or just in death penalty issues?
    – Roy
    May 27, 2015 at 21:52
  • @Roy Yes to the first; I'm not sure of the second. Update: Wikipedia implies that it normally has power; the death penalty is an exception,
    – HDE 226868
    May 27, 2015 at 21:53

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