Indonesian Supreme Court finally hands citizens a win in a citizen lawsuit on Central Borneo forest fire at cassation stage. The verdict for case no. 3555 K/PDT/2018 was decided on July 16th 2019. President and other defendants is ordered to enact a derivative regulation from Law No. 32 Year 2009 Regarding Protection and Management of Environment. Not only does this verdict declare the government did a wrongful act (tort), but also orders Indonesian Government or the defendants to fulfill ten demands from the plaintiffs.
Executive Director of National WALHI Nur Hidayati said plaintiffs demand a protection for the citizens’ right for a good and clean environment as well as an implementation of Law on Environmental Protection and Management which was enacted in 2019 and no derivative regulations have been issued until now.
“The law doesn’t give a maximum effect in preventing environmental damage. In terms of forest fires, there are seven government regulations government has to make,” said Executive Director of WALHI Nur Hidayati in Jakarta, on Sunday (7/21).
Indonesian Government is obliged to create a team to evaluate permits that cause forest fires, conduct legal enforcement and forest fire prevention actions, provide medication services for free, and provide an evacuation place and mechanism for forest fire victims.
“The defendants have to ensure the safety of their people from forest fires by building lung and other impacts-specializedvhospitals,” explained Nur Hidayati. Moreover, the defendants must be transparent by publishing the burned areas and companies involved to the public, including forest fire emergency funds by those companies.
Meanwhile, Executive Director of Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL) Henri Subagiyo also responded the verdict. He thinks this can strengthen national and local government’s actions to manage forest fires.
With this verdict, it’s necessary for government to reassess their actions and determine which actions have to be strengthened, for instance issuing the mandated regulations. Regulations demanded by the citizens are essentially mandated by Law No. 32 Year 2019 Regarding Environment Protection and Management.
“Therefore these demands are not exaggerating because citizens only demand regulations ordered by the law itself,” said Henri Subagiyo.
A plaintiff as well as Indonesian Greenpeace activist Arie Rompas stated this Supreme Court verdict has to be executed because it has a legal effect and to ensure justice and legal certainty for citizens.
“This verdict demands government to create new policies and fix existing policies, so the government should be able to execute it,” said Rompas.
Some demands should be prioritized such as legal enforcement, disclosure of companies that cause forest fires, and supporting facilities and evacuation place. This is because forest and land fires in Central Borneo is still happening and threatening.
“It’s best if government doesn’t submit a review. Execution of the verdict should have been conducted. This is a step forward in enforcing legal supremacy in our new government administration,” said Rio.
Source: Faisal, Riznal. “Jamin Kepastian Hukum Warga, Pemerintah Diminta Penuhi Putusan MA.” https://indopos.co.id/read/2019/07/22/182225/jamin-kepastian-hukum-warga-pemerintah-diminta-penuhi-putusan-ma. Diakses 22 Juli 2019.