Source: (2014) US-China Law Review. 11:367-388.

This research article discusses the historical development of the politics of law in the recognition of Papua customary court. It also discusses the motives of the Indonesian government's politics of law in the recognition of customary court as reflected in the Papua Special Autonomy Act. This study belongs to a doctrinal legal research which incorporates several approaches including historical, statute, conceptual and philosophical approach. The legal documents used as the source of data in this article were gathered through identification techniques and analyzed using textual analysis method. The analysis was done qualitatively by employing interpretative methods. Based on the analysis, this research finds that historically, both central and local governments have been involved in a power struggle over Papua. The central government, however, has a greater authority by exercising its politics of law to recognize Papua indigenous people's customary courts. The government, this article argues, undertakes such a move to gain the natives' trust and consequently gain more dominance over Papua. The research also finds that the government recognizes the existence of Papua customary court because of these several following reasons. The recognition is used as a compromise between the central government and the native Papuans. The recognition is also given due to the mounting pressures on the fulfillment of customary rights of the native Papuans. It is also given as a fulfillment offundamental values inscribed in Papua special autonomy, which include protection to the natives' fundamental rights, protection of human rights and protection of pluralism. (author's abstract)