Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation

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The Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia — YLBHI) "was launched in 1970 by a group that included Martokusumo, Mochtar Lubis, P.K. Ojong, Suardi Tasrif, Yap Thiam Hien, Hasjim Machdan, Minang Warman, Victor Sibarani, Albert Hasibuan, and H.J.C. Princen. The institutional model was American, with the Neighborhood Legal Offices and the Public Defender Services providing particular inspiration. After charismatic Jakarta Governor Ali Sadikin endorsed the new institute, a nod of approval came from Suharto.

"YLBHI quickly became the leading pro bono defender of indigent Indonesians and a center for human rights activism. Over the years it has maintained links with a diverse network of legal aid organizations, research bodies, and advocacy groups; published on legal and human rights issues; and conducted seminars, workshops, and paralegal training.

"Initial funding came from Nasution's own law firm, which he built at the urging of Mochtar Lubis and Sumitro Djojohadikusumo to ensure his financial independence. Later, funding came from other local and international sources.

"YLBHI's pioneering role in support of the political goals of NGOs is well known. It has long struggled, for example, for a society based on the rule of law. At the same time, its organizational efforts, particularly in networking and coalition building, have served as a practical model for NGOs. YLBHI has links with its own branches, with other more loosely affiliated groups in the provinces, and with local networks or posts in smaller towns and villages...

"The Ford Foundation's support for YLBHI began in the late 1970s, at a time when state hostility toward human rights organizations had a chilling effect on donors. The Indonesian government did not recognize international human rights principles, so support for activism in Indonesia was virtually impossible. It had to be provided indirectly, through foreign human rights organizations or programs such as the International Commission of Jurists and Human Rights Watch/Asia.

After the November 1991 Santa Cruz massacre in East Timor — and in a tense political atmosphere — a Foundation grant to Human Rights Watch/Asia and the Legal Aid Institute helped pay the travel costs of YLBHI lawyers to defend East Timorese. Support for Human Rights Watch/Asia also included an intern exchange program with YLBHI. Other support came in the form of individual grants for study and conference participation abroad. Young lawyers such as Tatang Suganda, Abdul Hakim Garuda Nusantara, and Todung Mulya Lubis — vocal critics of the New Order and important figures in YLBHI — went to places like Manila, Seoul, London, and Geneva." [1]

Listed as a partner organization of the International Center for Transitional Justice.


Received grants from NED in:

  • 1992: "To support a program to promote knowledge of and respect for basic human rights and the rule of law in Indonesia, and to enable targeted communities to mobilize, through both litigation and peaceful political means, to redress unfair implementation of current laws."
  • 1994: "to strengthen rule of law in Indonesia by providing legal aid to disenfranchised groups throughout the country." [2]

Consultative Board

  • A. Muktie Fadjar - Professor of Brawijaya Law School of Malang, East Java and member Judge of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Indonesia.
  • Abdulrahman Saleh - Chief Justice, Indonesian Supreme Court
  • Adnan Buyung Nasution - Chief, Consultative Board and one of the founding fathers of YLBHI. He is practicing advocate of the Adnan Buyung Nasution and Partners, also member of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ). He obtained his degree in Law at University of Indonesia and got his PhD from the Utrceh Universiteit, the Netherlands. He began his career as the General Prosecutor before practicing as advocate. He sat as the Chairman of YLBHI Managing Board for the period of 1981 to 1983
  • Ali Sadikin - One of YLBH founding fathers and former minister in Soekarno’s cabinet. He was DKI Jakarta Governor for the period of 1966-1977. He began his debut in the Marine Operation Corps Command of the Indonesian Navy, where he retired as Marine Liutenant General. He was member of and founding father of the Petition 50 Working Group during Soeharto’s New Order in office.
  • Andi Rudiyanto Asapa - Lawyer
  • Aristides Katoppo - Chief Editor of Sinar Harapan daily.
  • Chairil Syah - Second secretary to YLBHI Consultative Board. He is former director of LBH Palembang and currently an active political adherent to a political party Partai Nasional Banteng Kemerdekaan (PNBK).
  • Dindin. S. Maolani - Advocate
  • Frans Hendra Winata - Advocate and member of the National Law Commission (KHN)
  • Harkristuti Harkrisnowo - Professor in Criminal Law of University of Indonesia. She obtained her degree in law at the University of Indonesia and got her MA and Ph.D from Sam Houston University, Huntsville Texas, USA. She is currently a lecturer at the University of Indonesia and some other universities. She is also active in the National Law Commission (KHN) and member of the American Criminal Justice Society and American Society of Criminology. She has been widely known as an expert in criminal law, and for her significant critical reviews on Indonesian systems of legislation and criminal proceedings. The “Crime in the Post-Modern Society” (1997) and “Sex-Related Crimes in Urban Areas: An Indonesian Perspective” are a few of her writings.
  • Hoegeng Iman Santoso - He began his debut in Indonesian Police, sat in office as Indonesian Chief Police. His last official rank was General Police.
  • Mas Achmad Santosa - Executive Director of ICEL.
  • Mohammad Assegaf - Advocate
  • Mohammad Zaidun - Advocate
  • Mulyana. W. Kusumah - Second Vice Chairman of the Consultative Board, and currently sitting in the Election National Commission as the Vice Chairman. He teaches Criminology at the University of Indonesia, joined LBH by end of 1970. With other LBH activist of the time, he developed the concept of Structural Legal Aid. He sat in office as YLBHI Executive Director from 1993 to 1996 before appointed Secretary General of the Independent Election Monitoring Committee (KIPP). He is also one of the founding fathers of and once sat as the Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Commission for the Disappearances and Victims of Violence (KONTRAS), and established the Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI).
  • Nur Ismanto - Advocate
  • Otto Syamsuddin Ishak - Sociologist and active at the LBH foundation
  • Salahuddin Wahid - Vice chairman of the National Commission for Human Rights and Chairperson of the Management Board of the Nadhlatul Ulama (NU).
  • Sakurayati - Advocate

Managing Board and Supporting Staff

  • A. Patra M. Zen - Chairperson. Previously, he was Vice Chairman of YLBHI Managing Board for Internal Affairs, also Head of the Economic, Social and Cultural Right Division. He obtained his degree in law at the Sriwijaya University, Palembang and obtained the Chevening Scholarship Award to continue his study: LLM in International Human Rights Law at the University of Essex, Colchester, England. He began his career at LBH Palembang as the assistant to the General Counsel in 1996. He was once a staff of YLBHI Division on Civil and Political Rights and Head of LBH Jakarta Research and Education Division.
  • Fenta - Vice Chairperson I o Internal Affairs. He holds a degree in State Administration from Bandar Lampung University, LAmpung. She began her career with LBH Bandar Lampung in 1998. He is acting Director of LBH Bandar Lampung.
  • Tabrani Abby - Vice Chairperson II Operational. He obtained Master in Law from Gajah Mada University. He was Programme Manager of Labour Rights.
  • Taufik Basari - Director of Legal Aid and Advocacy. He graduated from Northwestern University, Chicago for master in International Human Rights Law and obtained a full scholarship from fulbright grant award. He holds two bachelor degrees, Bachelor of Philosophy and Bachelor of Law, both from University of Indonesia. Previously he served as Public Defender at Legal Aid Institute of Jakarta.
  • Restu Mahyuni-Reinhardt - Director of International Relation. She obtained Law Degree from Tarumanagara University Jakarta and Philosophy degree from University of Indonesia. She also obtained LL.M in International Legal Studies Program at Washington College of Law, American University, Washington DC, USA.
  • Syarifuddin Jusuf - Office Manager and Head of Bureau Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation System.
  • Rita Novella - Chief Finance. She began involvement with YLBHI in 1994. She holds a degree in Accounting.
  • Romi Leo Rinaldo - Attorney at Law. Staff Directorate Law of Advocacy.
  • Jaime Angelique - Staff Directorate Law of Advocacy.
  • Martina Dwinita - Staff Directorate International Relation. Seh began her career at YLBHI in the year 2000.
  • Labora Siahaan - Manager Office. She began her career at YLBHI in 2002.