Capital Punishment in an Era of Plague

The Deputy-chairman of the Indonesian Constitutional Court, Aswanto, has issued a warning that acts of corruption during a period of national crisis, such as the COVID-19 Pandemic, can be punished by a death sentence. 

Quoted by, Aswanto said: “Corruption committed in a time of emergency can be viewed more severely. Criminal corruption in a time of emergency can become punishable by death.”

Aswanto’s comments were made in a public online lecture under the theme “Demanding Rights and Performing Constitutional Obligations amid the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The Constitutional Jurist said Law Number 31 of 1000 on Fighting Corruption in paragraph two-section two states: “In cases of criminal corruption and as mentioned in section 1 and applied in certain situations, the death penalty can be applied.” 

Addressing the COVID-19 Pandemic, Aswanto emphasized that the public has a significant responsibility to control and monitor the use of Rp’s 677.2 trillion in government funds allocated to control COVID-19.

Despite a large amount of funding in the fight against COVID-19, the Professor in Criminal Law from the Hasanuddin University said the public was complaining about the high cost of PCR Swan Tests required for travel borne individually by each person tested. 

Aswanto believes that a portion of the substantial allocation of State funds dedicated to COVID-19 mitigation should be used to pay for swab and rapid tests as these tests’ results will necessarily trigger a government response. 

“I question why must the public must pay?” said Aswanto. 

Meanwhile, the Indonesian Minister of Finance, Sri Mulyani, has explained that of the Rp. 677.2 trillion earmarked for the mitigation of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Rp. 87.55 has been allocated for medical expenses, including salaries of medical personnel, burial expenses, subsidies of national health insurance premiums, costs incurred by the task force, and tax incentives for the health sector.