Bali conference to stay in Bali

For 30 years, CLANT has held its biennial conference in Bali, interrupted only once, in the months following the 2002 Bali bombings, when for reasons of security, the conference was moved to Port Douglas. We have scheduled the fifteenth Bali conference to be held at the Sanur Beach Hotel in Bali from 20 to 26 June 2015.

The recent spate of executions in Indonesia, with the threat of further judicially sanctioned killings has outraged the Australian and indeed the international legal community, and is of deep and acute concern to CLANT.  Some of our members and supporters have urged us to relocate the conference away from Indonesia, as a sign of that concern.  In response, the CLANT Committee has sought and received advice from our proposed conference speakers, our members and senior members of the legal community, including the judiciary, past CLANT Presidents, and CLANT Life Members. 

Passionately expressed, impeccably argued and widely divergent views have been expressed, but there is a very substantial majority (much more decisive than a vote of, say, 61 to 39) in favour of retaining the arranged venue, and accordingly we now confirm it.  We have had regard to, inter alia, the following considerations, distilled from the responses we have received, for which we are grateful:

  • CLANT members abhor and deplore capital punishment, wherever it is practiced
  • The issue of capital punishment in Indonesia is of particular current concern, because of the Executive’s recent decision to execute a large number of drug offenders on death row, including Australian offenders who have been represented by some of our own members
  • It is incumbent on CLANT to “send a message” that these executions are unacceptable to us
  • Changing the venue is unlikely to have any significant effect in influencing the Indonesian Government to change its policy
  • Moving the conference would give rise to a perception that CLANT parochially and unfairly places a higher value on the lives of Australian drug offenders than offenders from other countries
  • Moving the conference would unfairly single out Indonesia, one of many countries in  the region (including, it is to be noted, Australia) with an unsatisfactory human rights record  
  • Moving the conference now would be inconsistent with our long-standing commitment to maintaining the conference in Bali, over a period in which various Indonesian regimes have pursued policies with which CLANT members have strongly disagreed
  • Moving the conference from Bali would adversely effect the Balinese tourism industry
  • If we move the conference from Bali, a precedent will be set which may well result in us never returning
  • Holding the conference in Bali affords CLANT the opportunity to continue to engage with our colleagues in the Balinese and Indonesian legal community
  • Changing the venue would cause significant inconvenience and expense to CLANT members who have already made their travel arrangements, and to CLANT itself, which has already contracted with the conference venue

Many of the responses we have received urged us to include in the conference program a session dealing with the issue of capital punishment, featuring speakers from the Indonesian legal community. Although the organising committee is mindful that this would entail a risk of harmfully ruffling feathers, we are seriously considering amending the program as has been proposed.