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Indonesia: Corruption junction

A corruption scandal hits — you guessed it — the country's anti-corruption commission.

 Under mounting public pressure, Yudhoyono finally stepped in, calling for an investigation into what he called the “legal mafia,” a reference to the police, attorney general’s office and the courts — all of which form a powerful network that the public perceives as wildly corrupt.

Yudhoyono on Thursday then called for the resignations of the men named in the recordings, Deputy Attorney General Abdul Hakim Ritonga and Police Commissioner General Susno Duadji. A third man, the brother of the fugitive businessman, was detained.

But some reformers worry Yudhoyono’s show of force might not be enough. Lawmakers, many of whom still view the KPK as a threat, came to the defense of both Ritonga and Duadji on Friday. Both men, defying the president, claimed their resignations are only temporary.

Duadji confidently likened the battle between the KPK and the police to a fight between a gecko and a crocodile, further riling the public’s anger.

The scandal has put into stark relief just how far Yudhoyono’s corruption fight still has to go and analysts say that his second term will now be partly defined by whether or not he can follow through on his promise to overhaul the country’s justice system.

“Indonesia is now in a critical condition and the rule of law is on the brink of collapse,” Basari, who is helping to defend Hamzah and Bibit, said. “This is the moment where the country needs to do a total institutional reform of the justice system. And the role of the president in this reform will be very important. This is a war against the judicial mafia and there is still a long way to go.”