"No matter how good your decision is, it will be meaningless if you are not trustworthy,” is a message that is always conveyed by a high-profile Indonesian judge Albertina Ho to the judges who participate in her trainings, with support from the European Union and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) .
Albertina has become a household name in Indonesia. Nicknamed Judicial Lady Knight by the public, Albertina has earned a national reputation for being an honest and firm judge, after presiding a high-profile corruption case in 2010 involving a government tax official.
At a time when many graft suspects walked free or received light sentences, Albertina passed on a relatively tough sentence against the tax official, after he was found guilty of corruption.
Albertina is also one of the legal trainers for an EU-funded UNDP’s Support to the Justice Reform Sector in Indonesia (SUSTAIN) Project. This five-year project provides technical support to the Supreme Court and the judiciary, implemented by the justice sector reform, is one of thetrainings for judges and court officials.
Her journey to becoming a judge was almost accidental.
After graduating Cum Laude from the Faculty of Law of the Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, Albertina applied to become a lecturer in the neighboring city of Malang. Nonetheless, when she received the job offer, she decided to declineas she did nott have enough money to travel to Malang. Instead, she took up a job as a cadetship in Yogyakarta.
In December 1986, Albertina Ho officially became a candidate for a Judge in the Yogyakarta District Court. She then worked her way up to become a full-fledged judge in several cities throughout the main island of Java.
At the end of 2008, Albertina was transferred to the South Jakarta District Court, then known for its abundant corruption cases.
"Many cases were buried there," she said.
From the South Jakarta District Court, she was transferred to Sungai Liat District Court. Until 2018, she had served as Vice Chief Judge of the Palembang District Court, Chief Judge of the Bekasi District Court and a High Judge in Medan.
In her work with SUSTAIN, Albertina has traveled around Indonesia providing training with diverse materials. According to her, the problem most felt by the judges was related to the code of ethics whereas an honest and virtuous character is the main key that must be held by judges.
"A judge must have a strong character. In the beginning (a new judge) does not have many needs. Later he will move from one big city to other big cities. Well, here his behavior begins to change. If we have a strong character, no matter what the influence is, our behavior should not change."
"If our characters are not strong, they will reflect in our behaviors," she said.
Albertina gives a concrete example, "To be a judge of integrity, there is only one solution, what you say is what you do," she added.
Albertina Ho is a public figure who has set a high standard in the judicial sector in Indonesia. She is a symbol for Indonesian women, showing that women can also take part in the justice sector. Disciplined, diligentand having high integrity are the right words to describe Albertina Ho, a village judge who adjudicates cases and serves her country with her conscience.