Tag Archive | Banda Aceh

PRESS RELEASE: Walhi makes historic legal intervention as rogue palm oil company tries to sue Governor of Aceh over cancellation of controversial palm oil permit in Tripa Peat Swamp Forest

PRESS RELEASE

14/12/2012 – FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION

Walhi makes historic legal intervention as rogue palm oil company tries to sue Governor of Aceh over cancellation of controversial palm oil permit in Tripa Peat Swamp Forest

[Banda Aceh]  In an unprecedented legal move, on Thursday 13th December in the Administration court of Banda Aceh, Indonesia, Walhi Aceh (Friends of the Earth Indonesia) motioned to join the Governor of Aceh Province as a co-defendent in a lawsuit brought against him by palm oil company PT. Kallista Alam, whose controversial palm oil concession in the Tripa peat swamp forests of Aceh he recently cancelled after law courts found clear legal infractions in the issuance of its plantation permit.

“WALHI’s move to intervene like this is the first ever of its kind in Indonesia, and serves to emphasise just how serious we are in our support for the Governor’s strong stance in upholding the law against illegal permits in the province”, stated Walhi Aceh Executive Director, TM Zulfiker. “In regard to the intervention”, he continued, “WALHI indeed have a serious interest in this case and wish to be represented in court. We must ensure the Administrational Court in Banda Aceh fully understands the legal processes that have led to this new case being filed, in particular the course of events that followed after Walhi won the appeal in its case against the company at the Administration Court in Medan, which led directly to the Governor taking action and revoking the company’s permit”.

Luhut MP Pangaribuan, head of the legal team representing PT Kallista Alam, objected to the motion, stating that WALHI Aceh have no interest in the case but Zuhri, the lawyer working for WALHI Aceh, immediately refuted this, stating that  “The motion to join the case is based on the legal precedent and actions of the case filed by WALHI against the previous Governor of Aceh, Irwandi Yusuf, and  the company PT Kalista Alam, for legal irregularities in the now revoked permit. The permit was revoked by Aceh’s current Governor, Zaini Abdullah, after a court order requesting him to do so was issued by the Administration Court in Medan. This is precisely why we wish to stand by that decision and support the Governor for taking the correct legal course of action in revoking the permit”.

Today there are several ongoing legal cases related to the company PT Kallista Alam, as explained by Kamaruddin, a lawyer representing Tripa Community. “Firstly, there was the original case filed by WALHI Aceh against the company and former Governor for the issuance of the illegal permit. In this case, the judges in the administrational court of Medan agreed with WALHI Aceh, that there were indeed a number of legal infractions in the issuance of the permit. It was this decision that resulted  in the current Governor cancelling the permit. Now the company is attempting to appeal this earlier decision with the Supreme Court in Jakarta”.

“Secondly, and in a separate case, PT Kallista Alam is attempting  to sue the new Governor over the permit’s cancellation in the administrational court of Banda Aceh, even though it was revoked in full compliance with the law, as clearly demonstrated by the judges decision in the case described above. It is this new lawsuit in which WALHI is seeking to intervene and join, as a co-defendant standing alongside Governor Zaini Abdullah.”

 “Thirdly, also in a seperate case, the Ministry of Environment and the Attourney Generals Office are taking legal action against the PT Kallista Alam for legal infringements in the field, at the district court of Meulaboh, in West Aceh.”. Kamaruddin went on to explain, “the main problem for all of us is that whilst these lengthy court battles are ongoing, the destruction of the unique Tripa peat swamp forests by Kallista Alam and other companies is continuing unchecked. All of the companies in Tripa are still actively commiting crimes in the field, and PT Kallista seems to be deliberately trying to prolong proceedings and slow down the cases against them”.

As the court was settling for Tuesday’s hearing in Banda Aceh, an angry protest was heard outside the courtroom, “PT Kallista Alam has destroyed Tripa and is selling out our country”, Fery, a protester from the coalition of students and community for Tripa, shouted through a megaphone to a mob of over 50 university students who had gathered, chanting, singing and carrying placards, to affirm their support for Aceh’s Governor and his stance against law breakers.

“It’s blatantly obvious there have been numerous crimes committed in Tripa relating to spatial planning law, environmental law, and forestry plantation law. There have also been clear breaches of the Indonesian Government’s moratorium on new plantations in primary forests and peatlands, which resulted from the billion dollar agreement between Indonesia and Norway”, stated Deddy Ratih, Spatial Planning Campaigner for WALHI Indonesia. “While WALHI is taking action in support of Aceh’s Governor, illegal actions in the field must also be halted by direct intervention of the police and both Provincial and National Government. Even today, despite all the legal wrangling in the courts, canals continue to drain the last of the life from Tripa’s protected peat swamps and PT Kallista Alam is simply playing games, as it tries to prolong and delay implementation of the law. The reality is that every day plantation activities in the field are slowing killing Tripa. All of the companies operating there must be reviewed and have their permits cancelled if they are not in full compliance with the letter of the law. Activities must be stopped and all drainage canals blocked immediately if this critically important and unique ecosystem  is to have any chance of recovery”.

“No matter what the eventual outcomes of the various legal process taking place, it will all be meaningless unless strong and decisive action is taken right now on the ground, all the permits should be revoked immediately and work begin to restore the damaged areas”, he reiterated.

Public information on the appeal lodged by PT Kallista Alam with the Supreme Court is limited, and a decision on whether the appeal will be allowed to proceed or not is considered likely to take place ‘in camera’ (behind closed doors).

For further comment or information please contact:

Deddy Raith – ube.hitar@gmail.com

Spatial Planning Campaigner, Walhi Indonesia (Friends of the Earth Indonesia)

Yuyun Indradiyuyun.indradi@greenpeace.org

Political Campaigner, Greenpeace Indonesia

PT. Kallista Alam suing Aceh Government in regard to revoking permit

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)

 

Endangered Sumatran tiger dies on Indonesian flight

 

Sumatran tiger

A Sumatran tiger, similar to this one kept in Taronga Zoo, has died during a plane journey in Indonesia. It was being flown from Banda Aceh to a zoo on Java island along with a gibbon and two bearcats.
Source: News Limited

AUTHORITIES are investigating the death of an endangered Sumatran tiger during a plane journey in Indonesia.

State forestry official Afan Absori says the tiger was being flown from Banda Aceh to a zoo on Java island on Tuesday along with a gibbon and two bearcats.

He cited Garuda Indonesia airlines as saying the animals were removed from the plane’s cargo hold during a stop in Medan because of complaints from passengers about their smell. They were taken back to Banda Aceh, where officials found the tiger had died.

Absori said an autopsy found it had a broken leg and facial injuries. The cause of the injuries was being investigated.

Sumatran tigers are the most critically endangered tiger subspecies. About 400 remain, down from around 1000 in the 1970s, because of forest destruction and poaching.

 

Ministry of Forestry Finalised Tripa’s Fire Case, 32 Witnesses Interrogated

Firman Hidayat | The Globe Journal

Banda Aceh – The Ministry of Environment and the Nationa Police in Jakarta will be very serious to solve the case related to the slash and burn activity as well as to concession permits in Tripa Peat Swamp. Deputy V of the Ministry of Environment, Sudariyono, said to The Globe Journal on Friday (06/07) that the Ministry of Environment only concentrates on two cases occurred in Tripa Peat Swamp.

He explained that those two cases relate to peat burning filed as crime lawsuit and to environmental destruction filed as civil lawsuit. “The National and Provincial Police concentrate in the Law No. 18/2008 on Plantation, thus relates to permits,” said Sudaryono.

“So, the domain of the Ministry of Forestry is to concentrate in the two cases only, that will be handed over to the Attorney General as soon as possible,” he added To date, the Ministry of Environment has interrogated 32 witnesses for both companies, 19 for PT. Surya Panen Subur and 13 for PT. Kalista Alam.

Still according to Daryono, the interrogation of the witnesses were conducted in three different location, locally, in Banda Aceh and in Jakarta. “From the community directly on site,” he continued.

The Ministry of Forestry only focuses on peat burning, since this already damages the environment. “Currently, no one was named as suspect,” said Daryono ending of the interview.

Governor Zaini: Tripa Peat Swamp Has To Be Seriously Taken Care Of

DENNY AFFANDI | Foto : DOK THE ATJEH POST, free translation by Adji Darsoyo

BANDA ACEH – Aceh Governor Zaini Abdullah said that he would bring the criminal case allegedly conducted by PT Kalista Alam in Tripa Peat Swamp.

“I think we will discuss this matter (the case of Tripa Peat Swamp) as soon as possible,” said Zaini Abdullah after inaugurating Banda Aceh’s Meyer and his Deputy, Mawardi Nurdin-Illiza Saaduddin Djamal, at the City’s Parliament Building today, Wednesday, July 4, 2012.

Governor Zaini also regretted the criminal act destructing Tripa Peat Swamp.

“This not supposed to happen and has to be seriously taken care of to avoid escalation,” said Zaini.

Now, the process of the case of Tripa Peat Swamp was led by the Presidential Working Unit and the team of the Central Police. The collaborated team will conduct site visit tomorrow. []

Task Force REDD+ Requests Restoration of Tripa Peat Swamp

The Atjeh Post

Muhajir Abdul Aziz - Free translation by Adji Darsoyo

BANDA ACEH – The restoration of destroyed ecosystem of Tripa Peat Swamp has been requested by the Presidential Working Unit and the Ministry of Environment to the Governor of Aceh.

This was said by Mas Achmad Santosa, Head of the Working Group for Regulation and Law Enforcement Analysis of the Task Force REDD+ in Banda Aceh on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.

According to Mas Achmad, restoration means the reorganisation of the spatial plan of Aceh as well as the bio-ecosystem of and moratorium of land use on Tripa Peat Swamp. Moratorium, he said, is very important to stop the on-going destruction of Tripa Peat Swamp.

“The restoration of the ecosystem of Tripa Peat Swamp is necessary for the sustainability of biological existence, scientific analysis about Tripa Peat Swamp ecosystem is also needed,” said Mas Achmad Santosa, who also known as Okta.

Besides, this team, he said, also requested the regional government to restore local community’s trust towards law enforcement officials in Aceh.

“We hoped that continuous discussion will be held in regards to the legal process in the case of Tripa Peat Swamp,” said Okta.

Before departing to Nagan Raya tomorrow to directly visit the ecosystem of Tripa Peat Swamp, the team met with the Governor of Aceh Zaini Abdullah in his official office room on Wednesday afternoon, July 4, 2012. []

Ministry of Environment Will Sue Two Companies in Tripa

The Atjeh Post
MUHAJIR ABDUL AZIZ, free translation by Adji Darsoyo

BANDA ACEH – Head of the Sectorial Deputy V on the Structuring of Environmental Law of the Environmental Ministry, Dariono, stated that the ministry will file a civil lawsuit against two companies operating within the ecosystem of Tripa Peat Swamp.

This lawsuit was to file, since both companies has conducted environmental destruction within the ecosystem of Tripa Peat Swamp.

Dariono addressed this to The Atjeh Post during the Discussion on The Rescue of Tripa Peat Swamp in Banda Aceh, Wednesday, July 4, 2012. The two companies mentioned by Darionnno  were PT Kalista Alam and PT Surya Panen Subur II.

“This civil lawsuit will force the companies to cover the loss resulted through fire etc.,” said Dariono.

Besides, Dariono also stated that the ministry was in coordination with the Attorney General to prosecute the act of Environmental Crime carried out by the two companies.

“We also work together with a team of experts from Bogor Agricultural Institute (IPB), witnesses from the ground was kept invited, so we hope this will be finalised as soon as possible,” said Dariono.[]

Only 200 Orang Utans Left At Rawa Tripa

Tuesday, 19 June, 2012 | 17:43 WIB

TEMPO InteractiveBanda Aceh:It is predicted that there are now only 200 orang utan left at Rawa Tripa areas. In 1990, almost 2,000 orang utan were registered.

This was stated by Conservation Director of SOCP, Dr Ian Singleton, in his press release Monday, June 18, 2012. The Rawa Tripa areas in the Nagan Raya Regency and in West Aceh have a size of 61,03 hectares. According to Ian Singleton, the decreasing number of orang utan population in the said areas is caused by the ongoing forest conversion into palm oil plantations. “To think that Tripa used to be a territory with the highest numbers of orang utan population in the world,” he said.

On June 16, Singleton’s side saved a male orang utan baby from the people who tried to sell the baby to a member of the investigating team. “This rescue constitutes a great success of the extraordinary collaboration between police and various institutions involved,” said Ian Singleton.

“At present our team in the field discovered the still ongoing burning of land for plantation areas in the Leuser ecosystem,” reported Ian Singleton. Aerial photos show that over the last six months more than 1,500 hectares of Raw Tripa land areas have been converted [to plantations]. An investigation team from the central government has got down to investigate these illegal activities.

ADI WARSIDI

Actor of Violation in Tripa To Be Prosecuted

Actor of Violation in Tripa To Be Prosecuted

Tue, May 15, 2012 | Analisa Daily

The joint investigation team collected more than a dozen soil samples as well as measuring peat depth from various hotspots in SPS2 concession. Upon multiple results of in palm oil plantations in peat deeper than 3 meters, Ministry of Environment investigators question why the company illegally operates in deep peat, to which SPS2 representatives responded by admitting they have never measured the peat depth. (Coalition to Save Tripa/Handout)

Banda Aceh, (Analisa). The Head of REDD+ Task Force, Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, emphasized that the government will take assertive action to both the companies and certain party within the governmental bureaucracy involved in the legal violation in Tripa Peat Swamp in Nagan Raya District.

REDD+ Task Force has also appreciated all ministries and law enforcement institutions to firmly and effectively process the case in Tripa.

“With such good work, we hope that the case can be processed properly to appropriately enforce the law. If legal violation is proven, there will be prosecution,” emphasized Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, in a press conference received by Analisa on Monday (14/5).

It is said that being a peat swamp and habitat for scarce species such as orangutan, it is necessary to preserve Tripa Peat Swamp. In this connection, the government responded seriously all inputs related to the controversy of the oil palm plantation of PT Kalista Alam (PT KA) within the Moratorium Map I. The area was then burning at the same time with the fire in the concession area of PT Surya Panen Subur 2 (PT SPS2).

Based on the incident and in respond to the reports by the community, the Ministry of Environment together with a team from the National Police and the Attorney General in the beginning of May has sent a team to the site to conduct investigation.

The result, indications of various legal violations has been identified, such as clearing of 1,605 ha of land prior to the issuance of the licence for cultivation plantation by the Governor. Then, there was indication of clearing by burning.

Based on those indications, the team concluded that there is legal violations. Therefore, there is strong indication that the combustion within the area of PT SPS 2 and of PT KA was suspiciously conducted systematically. This means that the legal prosecution would not affect only individual actor but also the related companies.

To Be Punished

Therefore, said Kuntoro, in accordance with the Article 69 point h of the Law No 32/2009 on the Environmental Protection and Management, company or company director is liable to sanctions if the crime act was conducted on behalf of or for the company.

Besides the crime process, continued Kuntoro, civil process is compulsory to be carried out in the form of compensation to the loss caused by the fire. The Ministry of Environment on behalf of the State can file civil law suit demanding compensation without having to wait for the final court verdict.

Clearing and planting of oil palm without licence and land concession by PT KA in the majority of the area of 1,605 ha has been verified based on existing documents and confession of the company in the presence of the Forestry Minister and the Deputy Chairman of the People Consultative Assembly/Senator Farhan Hamid, an Aceh origin, on May 6, 2012.

According to the Law No.18/2004 on Plantation, in the legal process conducting land clearing and planting of oil palm without licence, the business actor is liable to crime sanctions. Therefore, the legal process has to continue.

Related to the peat depth, both in the burned area of PT SPS2 and PT KA, existing data shows that those areas are peat with more than 3 meters depth. Any licence for oil palm plantation in areas under such condition violates the Decree of the Minister of Agriculture No. 14/Permentan/PL.110/2/2009 on the Guidelines of the Utilisation of Peatlands for Oil Palm Cultivation as well as some other regulation on peatland utilisation.

Kuntoro continued, the Governor of Aceh needed therefore to review the licence for PT SPS2, especially in the burned area, as well as the licence for PT KA. Besides, the clearing by burning conducted by both companies is prohibited and is liable to administrative sanction, the withdrawal of the permit, in accordance with the Article 39 jo. Article 34 Point d of the Regulation of the Minister of Agriculture No. 26/2007 on the Guidelines of Plantation Business.

Related to the Moratorium Map, concerning that PT KA has not yet possess any concession permit for the 1,605 ha, then based on the Presidential Instruction No. 10/2011 the area should be included in the Moratorium Map.

To guarantee legal protection of forest and areas with protecting function within an “Other Land Use” as well as to secure business certainty for entrepreneurs, the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Forestry, District Regents and other related agency needs to re-analyse the conditions and procedures in the issuance of licence for plantation. (irn)

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