On Wednesday, May 4, 2005, Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono traveled to Bali to open the 15th Annual Meeting of the Inter-Pacific Bar Association (IPBA) at the Bali International Convention Center (BICC) at Nusa Dua.
The IPBA is an international association headquartered in Tokyo whose membership is comprised of 2,000 business and commercial lawyers representing 67 jurisdictions around the Pacific rim.
The Bali conference, which took place May 4 – 7, 2005, featured workshops and presentations discussing the latest issues and trends affecting legal practice in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Indonesian President's remarks before the nearly 500 legal practitioners urged the legal profession to always safeguard high professional and ethical standards in carrying out their work. Admitting that the law is a powerful tool for good in the right hands, President Yudhoyono also cautioned that the law, if practice irresponsibility, can bring chaos and disorder to society. "We must avoid the situation in which there is much law, but little justice," the President warned.
The President also showed his more humorous side in his remarks before the legal conference. Claiming he was overwhelmed to be standing before so many lawyers, he congratulated the IPBA for being able to gather so many attorneys in a single room.
The President explaining that during his time as a soldier serving with U.N. Forces in Bosnia, he had occasion to memorize a number of lawyer jokes. The conference attendees laughed when President Yudhoyono confessed that while his inclination was to share some of his jokes about the legal profession, he was prevented from doing so on the "advice" of his own attorney.
Also attending the IPBA Conference were Indonesia's Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Hamid Awaluddin; the American Ambassador to Indonesia, B. Lynn Pascoe; and the Director of the World Bank in Indonesia, Andrew Steer.
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