Original Article in Bahasa Indonesia is available here Free translation by Adji Darsoyo
Banda Aceh – Legal Councelors of PT. Kalista Alam, Alfian C. Sarumaha assisted with his colleagues from Luhut Marihot Parulian Pangaribuan (LMPP) law firm, Rebecca F. Elizabeth, stated that this is still the first phase, which is the inspection of the preparation. “It’s not yet open for public,” said Alfian. He explained that PT. Kalista Alam filed law suit against the Governor of Aceh, Zaini Abdullah, upon the Decree of the Withdrawal of PT. Kalista Alam’s permit in Tripa. “We questioned the Governor on the issuance of the particular Decree,” added Alfian.
The agenda on the next court session still waits for the schedule from the Judge of the Administrative Court Banda Aceh. “Indeed, being the litigants, we are requested to improve the law suit,” said Alfian to The Globe Journal on Thursday (29-11-2012) at the court in Banda Aceh.
Head of the Legal Division and PR of the Government of Aceh, Makmur, met at the court said that his team are ready to challenge the law suit. “The object of the dispute is the Decree of Kalista Alam’s Permit Withdrawal for Tripa,” he said.
According to Makmur, the objective of the withdrawal of Kalista Alam’s permit upon 1,605 ha are explicitly addressed within the Decree based on the decision of the Administrative High Court of Medan upon WALHI Aceh’s appeal.
“We are ready to challenge the law suit, we have prepared 6 legal advisors,” emphasized Makmur stating that it is still in the phase of inspection of preparation.
Base on The Globe Journal’s observation, the inspection session preparing both litigant and plaintiff have been conducted in a closed session in the office room of the Vice Chairman of the Judge of the Administrative Court of Banda Aceh, Yusri Arbi. The case is registered under the number 18/G/2012/PTUN BNA. The litigant is Subianto Rusid and the plaintif is the Governor of Aceh.
PT Kalista Alam’s permit withdrawal is contained in the Decree of the Governor of Aceh No 525/BP2T/5078/2012 dated on 27 September 2012. The decree also revoked the previous decree of the former governor (Irwandi Yusuf) with the number 525/BP2T/5322//2011 re Plantation Permit for PT Kalista Alam covering 1.605 ha.
According to Makmur, the withdrawal was based on the decision of the Administration High Court of Medan through a document No. 89/B/2012/PT TUN-MDN dated on August 30, 2012. Amongst the decisions is to grant the litigant (WALHI Aceh) and to order the plaintif (the Governor of Aceh) to withdraw the challenged decision of Administrative Court granting the Plantation Permit for PT Kalista Alam.
More over, the Article 45 A point 2C of the Law No. 5/2004 on the Amendment of the Law No. 14/1985 on the Supreme Court declared that any dispute on state administrative procedure, which challenged the decision of a regioanal officials, than this particular case does not fulfil any single requirement for casation. (The Globe Journal)
- Tomorrow, The Civil Trial for Tripa Case Will Be Held In Meulaboh (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Palm Oil company PT Kallista Alam fails to show in court case filed by Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment over destruction of world renowned Sumatran Orangutan stronghold, the Tripa Peat Swamp Forest. (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Melanie Subono investigates the destruction of Tripa Peat Swamp (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Aceh Revokes Permit for Controversial Oil Palm Plantation (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- State Attorney Lawyers File The Legal Case of Tripa Peat Swamp This Week (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
03 October 2012
INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE
Coalition to Save Tripa Peat Swamp Forest
“Historic Cancellation of Oil Palm Permit Opens Door for Prosecution of Companies Crimes
Latest Satellite Image shows company still burning protected peatlands”
JAKARTA – Less than one week after history was made as the Aceh Government revoked the first industrial palm oil permit from the Tripa Peat Swamp Forest, a coalition of NGO’s known as ‘Save Tripa Peat Forest’ highlighted today in a press briefing additional clear breaches of Indonesia’s multi million dollar forest protection agreement with Norway, only kilometers from the first location, and demanded National Police increase their activities to quickly bring these crimes to trial.
Deddy Ratih, Forest Campaigner for Walhi (Friends of the Earth Indonesia) explained “This continues to be a the leading test case for a National problem. While the revocation of PT Kallista Alam is a step in the right direction, there is still much more action required by police and Government to resolve the problems in Tripa. The Ministry of Environment continues to investigate a raft of the envrionmental crimes in Tripa with no end in sight, meanwhile, the legal testomonies of local communities to the National Police continue to be ignored”
Kamarrudin, the lawyer representing local people and the environment in the Tripa case, said, “There are strong indications that the enforcement of the law in the Tripa case has been “hijacked” by the financial power of corporations operating in the Tripa peat swamps. This can be seen in the less than optimal work of the provincial and national police, and the investigators of the Ministry of the Environment. We request that the National Police Chief and the Ministry of the Environment immediately evaluate the investigative processes to date, and move forward with a thorough investigation of the criminal crimes against spatial planning, plantation and environmental laws and regulations in the Tripa peat swamps. We hope that this case, that has drawn national and international attention, will not be frozen by those with vested interests in the law enforcement and government agencies. We also hold the Ministry of the Environment to its promise to launch criminal and administrative against companies that have committed serious environmental crimes in the Tripa peat swamps”.
In an impassioned address, Adnan NS, a prominent Community leader from Aceh stressed, “Despite the recent cancellation of the PT Kallista Alam permit, and ongoing investigations into violations of the law by this and other companies in Tripa, on the ground nothing has changed yet. Community livelihoods continue to be destroyed, even though local community leaders travelled all the way to Jakarta to report this to the national police back in November 2011. We are still waiting for action and demand to know why their testimonies have been ignored”.
“Over the last two months I’ve been on speaking tours of both the USA and Australia, and all around the world people are continually asking me about the situation in Tripa.” Said Dr Ian Singleton, Conservation Director of the Sumatran Conservation Programme. “International interest in the governance of Indonesia’s remaining forests and rapidly declining wild species populations is extremely high, and to them my message is clear – anyone with a computer can now check on forest clearance in Indonesia, measure and quantify it, and get daily updates on illegal fires, and circulate that information globally. As individuals we have never before had access to so much quantifiable information in other parts of the world or the ability to share it so widely and people around the world continue to be extremely alarmed and concerned about Tripa, as what they see is that so far nothing has yet changed. Unless the destruction is halted very very quickly, we are still likely to see the local extinction of Sumatran Orangutans from Tripa in the very near future.
“The forest concession known as Dua Perkasa Lestari (DPL) has been marked as off-limits in all three releases of the Government’s moratorium map, a tool designed to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and degradation, but satellite imagery from last week clearly show that burning and illegal clearing of Tripa’s peat swamp forests is still taking place. Furthermore, the DPL area has no clear HGU permit, it clearly lies within the Leuser Ecosystem protected by National Spatial Planning law 26/2007, and it contains peat over 3m deep. There are three companies that have been the major burning culprits, namely PT.SPS2, PT DPL and PT KA. We should pay greater attention to this because it is in violation of Law No. 32/2009 on the Environmental Protection and Management” explained Riswan Zen, a Senior GIS mapping expert from the Univeristy of North Sumatra.
“Over 25,000 people have already signed a petition calling for immediate action to halt the destruction of Tripa’s unique ecosystem, from within Tripa itself, from Aceh, from Indonesia, and from all over the world, contributing to the recent closure of the illegal PT Kallista Alam concession. Now we, together with the local community, are launching a new petition (at http://www.change.org/savetripa2) calling on Indonesia’s National Police to support the findings of the REDD+ Taskforce and the Ministry of Environment, and immediately escalate the cases under investigation to formal prosecutions. Much more still needs to be done to protect the remaining forests of Tripa, Aceh, and Indonesia as a whole. But the recent cancellation of the illegal PT Kallista Alam concession is an historic legal precedent for the country and it now needs to be followed up with the investigation and processing of all law breakers, and prosecution for their offences” Said Usman Hamid of Change.org Indonesia.
Its up to all of us to take action to protect the environment, and it can be as simple as signing a petition online, sharing it with your friends, tweeting and using social media to make our country a better place for all Indonesians,” said Melanie Subono. “I’m proud to have signed the petition to save Tripa and to see our laws finally being enforced. In fact, it is our duty as citizens to demand that our laws be upheld, especially those protecting the environment we all live in. Very soon I plan to visit Tripa and see the Orangutans, the forests, and the destruction still taking place with my own eyes. I’ll be going in close to 4 weeks time, and sincerely hope that before I get there, the National Police will have finally begun to take action on this globally important issue”
For further media comment or information, please contact:
Dr Ian Singleton
Director of Conservation, Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program
Forest Campaigner, WALHI Indonesia (Friends of the Earth Indonesia)
Political Campaigner, Greenpeace Indonesia
Thursday, September 27, 2012 19:52 WIB
MURDANI ABDULLAH | Free Translation by Adji Darsoyo
BANDA ACEH – The Government of Aceh has officially revoked the plantation permit of PT Kalista Alam in Tripa Peat Swamp. The withdrawal was marked through the issuance of a Governor Decree No. 525/BP2T/5087/2012 signed by the Governor of Aceh, Zaini Abdullah, on September 27, 2012.
“Correct, we have revoked the permit of Kalista Alam. We hope that this decision can be accepted by all parties,” said the Head of the Legal and PR Office of the Aceh Regional Secretariat, Makmur Ibrahim.
According to him, the revoked permit is for an area within Pulo Kruet village, Sub district of Darul Makmur in Nagan Raya, covering 1,605 ha.
The reason of the withdrawal, add Makmur, is that, because PT Kalista Alam was considered violating the existing legal regulation.
The Article 45A Point c of the Law No. 5/2004 on the Supreme Court declares restriction for state administrative cases, which can only be appealed to Administrative High Court, but not to cassation at the Supreme Court.
Besides, PT Kalista Alam also violated the agreement to establish plasma plantation covering 30% of the total of 1,605 ha.
“Based on this we withdraw the permit of Kalista Alam, which also has never submitted any midterm report on their business development to the Governor of Aceh,” he said.(bna)
Banda Aceh – Almost a month after the decision of the Administrative High Court of Medan ordered the Governor of Aceh to revoke the Plantation Permit issued for PT Kalista Alam, the Government of Aceh has officially issued the Letter of Revocation of the controversial permit.
The Governor of Aceh has issued Decree No. 525/BP2T/5078/2012, dated September 27 2012 revoking Governor’s Permit No. 525/BP2T/5322/2011 to PT Kalista Alam for a Plantation covering 1,605 ha, located in Pulo Kruet village within the Sub-district of Darul Makmur, Nagan Raya District.
The Decree stated that the revocation was executed based on the Article 45A of the Law No. 5/2004 on the Amendment of the Law No. 14/1985 on the Supreme Court, which states that in an administrative lawsuit, which covers a decision of a regional official that applies within the official’s region of jurisdiction, is not eligible for appeal to the Supreme Court.
WALHI Aceh extends its appreciation to the Government of Aceh that has shown its compliance with the law. “The ruling of the Administrative High Court of Medan is clear, namely that the Governor had to revoke the permit of PT Kalista Alam covering 1,605 ha in Tripa Peat Swamp, so it had to be done. If not, the Government of Aceh would have been in violation of the law,” said the Executive Director of WALHI Aceh, T. Muhammad Zulfikar.
Tripa Peat Swamp is part of Leuser Ecosystem which has been designated as a National Strategic Area for Environmental Protection, in the Law No. 26/2007 on Spatial Plan and in the Government Regulation No. 26/2008 on National Spatial Planning.
The withdrawal of the license sends a signal to ‘naughty’ entrepreneurs not to play around with the law and regulation in Aceh. “This is important for maintaining legal certainty in conducting business and in investing in Aceh, and thus benefits the common people” said T. Muhammad Zulfikar.
According to WALHI Aceh, there were several reasons to revoke the controversial plantation permit without the need for action in the courts. One of them is the failure of PT Kalista Alam to establish the required community-based “plasma” plantation in 30% of their total plantation area. Also, PT Kalista Alam has never submitted the required regular monthly report on the physical development of its plantation to the Government of Aceh, either to the relevant offices at district or provincial level.
WALHI Aceh believes that each and every plantation company that flouts existing laws and regulations must be firmly sanctioned. “It should not be necessary to have to resort to the courts for permits to be revoked. If companies do not comply with what is agreed and inflict losses for Aceh, they must be sanctioned,” he said.
According to WALHI’s records, other there are many other problem plantation companies besides PT Kalista Alam, with violations such as illicit land grabbing, conducting development operations prior to receiving a permit, failure to develop community plasma plantations, and clearing by burning.
WALHI Aceh requests the Government of Aceh to thoroughly and firmly evaluate all the companies in the Tripa Peat Swamps. “The results of these evaluations will determine the direction of future policy in this peatland, especially related to its environmental protection,” said T Muhammad Zulfikar.
Monday, September 24 2012 16:20 WIB
MURDANI ABDULLAH | Free translation by Adji Darsoyo
BANDA ACEH – The Head of the Integrated Licensing Office (BP2T) of Banda Aceh, Muhammad Yahya, confirmed ready to follow up the Instruction of Aceh Governor Zaini Abdullah on the revocation of Kalist Alam’s permit.
“That is the chief’s policy, so as staff member, we are ready to implement it,” said Muhammad Yahya encountered by the Atjeh Post in his office on Monday, September 24, 2012.
According to him, BP2T is an implementing body of each policy of the Government of Aceh. In other word, every new policy of the Aceh Governor Zaini Abdullan will be followed up by this office.
“The possibly revoked permit is a decision of the Administrative High Court of Medan, which is the permit to Kalista Alam covering 1,605 ha,” said Yahya.
He said that the policy to revoke the permit issued by the Government of Aceh is the first in the whole history of Aceh. This is the follow up on the decision of the Administrative High Court of Medan.
“We only withdraw the permit. Concerning any lawsuit filed by the company later on, that will be another problem,” said Yahya. (rz)
Firman Hidayat | The Globe Journal
Friday, September 14, 2012 01:50 WIB | free translation by Adji Darsoyo
Banda Aceh – The 6th Deputy of the Ministry of the Environment (MoE) covering the Settlement of the Environmental Law, Sudaryono, stated that the Ministry has filed a criminal and civil lawsuit against two companies, PT. Kalista Alam and PT. SPS-2, related to the case of Tripa Peat Swamp.
He explained that the case was handled by the MoE base on a letter from UKP-4 from April 11, 2012, addressed to the MoE and to the National Policem which was followed up with field investigation in coordination with the National Police and the Attorney General.
“We have been conducting several field investigations, during May 3 to 5, June 9 to 10 and July 24 to 25 of 2012, in accordance with the letter of UKP-4,” said Sudaryono to The Globe Journal onThursday afternoon (13/09).
According to him, there are 34 witnesses from both companies called for interrogation, 21 from PT. SPS and 13 from PT. Kalista Alam. “We only look from the perspective of the criminal and civil law upon the case of clearing by burning and there is strong indication of deliberate action in the case of burning,” emphasized Sudaryono.
The civil investigators of the MoE are in the final process of determining the suspect to be handed over to the Attorney General. “The suspect leads to the functional perpetrator and the company, not field personnel,” convinced Sudaryono. This means the person and the company responsible, while the civil lawsuit includes environmental destruction and rehabilitation.
Saturday, September 15, 2012 11:12 WIB | Free translation by Adji Darsoyo
* Located within Protection Area
BANDA ACEH – The Governor of Aceh, dr Zaini Abdullah, immediately revokes the expansion permit for palm oil plantation of PT Kalista Alam covering 1,606 ha within the protection area of Tripa Peat Swamp in Nagan Raya.
“The withdrawal of the permit of PT Kalista Alam is not our what we want, but to execute the decision of the Administrative High Court of Medan on the favour of WALHI’s legal standing on the cancellation of the particular permit within Tripa Peat Swamp,” emphasized dr. Zaini Abdullah to the press after hearing with the Indonesian Regional Council (DPD-RI), the Provincial Attorney, Provincial Police, Military Commander, representative of the Ministry of Forestry and plantation companies related to the protection of the protection area of Tripa Peat Swamp of Nagan Raya District on Thursday (13/09).
The Governor explained that there are three recommendation taken into account during the hearing in regards to Tripa Peat Swamp, firstly the decision of the Administrative High Court of Medan of August 30, 2012, granting WALHI’s legal request over a lawsuit against the permit issued to PT Kalista Alam by the former Governor of Aceh, in which the meeting forum urge dr Zaini Abdullah to immediately revoke this oil palm plantation expansion permitcovering 1,606 ha issued by his predecessor.
Secondly, the Governor of Aceh has been requested to immediately established an integrated team involving the Ministry of Forestry, the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture, Land Registration Office, Team of National Spatial Planning and other technical ministries in Jakarta to evaluate and to conduct audit on the existing oil palm and other plantation permits issued either by ministries or Aceh Provincial and District Government, which are considered to be not eligible and located within protection areas.
Based on the fact that 62,000 ha of Tripa Peat Swamp are occupied by 5 palm oil companies and that the police and the Attorney General are investigating the case of clearing by burning carried out by two palm oil companies.
Representative of PT. Kalista Alam, Palaceta, who was attending the meeting, mentioned that the issued permit covering 1,606 ha in Tripa was not a new permit, but an expansion of the existing plantation area started in 2005.
Still, Palaceta said that the company is ready to sincerely accept the decision taken in the hearing. (her/swa)