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
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 The permit was revoked by Aceh’s current Governor, Zaini Abdullah, after a court order requesting him to do so was issued by the Administration Court in Medan.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 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Spatial Planning Campaigner, Walhi Indonesia (Friends of the Earth Indonesia)
Yuyun Indradi – email@example.com
Political Campaigner, Greenpeace Indonesia
- PT. Kallista Alam suing Aceh Government in regard to revoking permit (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)
- District court of Meulaboh delay Kallista hearing for the second time (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Tomorrow, The Civil Trial for Tripa Case Will Be Held In Meulaboh (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- State Attorney Lawyers File The Legal Case of Tripa Peat Swamp This Week (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
Press release is available for download here
Rilis dalam bahasa indonesia dapat diunduh disini
Jakarta, September 6, 2012 – The REDD+ Task Force welcomes the Medan State Administrative High Court Decision dated August 30, 2012 that accepted the appeal of civil society organizations (WALHI Aceh) and ordered the Aceh Governor to revoke PT Kalista Alam’s plantation permit for 1,605 hectares land in Rawa Tripa, Nagan Raya District, Aceh Province. “This decision is in line with our recommendation because the land utilisation permit granted to PT. Kalista Alam was based on invalidated location permit (izin lokasi) and is included in the Indicative Moratorium Map (IMM). So, we hope there will be no more mismanagement in the process of permit issuance,” said Chair of the Working Group of Legal Review and Law Enforcement of the REDD+ Task Force, Mas Achmad Santosa.
Rawa Tripa is deemed peatland area included in the Indicative Moratorium Map (IMM) located in the Province of Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam. “Peatlands are susceptible to fires when drained, so protecting it means materializing our development goals and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions up to 41 percent,” continued Mas Achmad Santosa. Previously, WALHI Aceh sued the Governor of Aceh and PT. Kalista Alam to revoke the Aceh Governor Permit No. 525/BP2T/5322/2011 dated August 25, 2011. WALHI Aceh’s demand to revoke palm oil plantation permit in Rawa Tripa granted by the Governor of Aceh to PT Kalista Alam was rejected in April 2012 by Banda Aceh State Administrative
Court judge panel on the basis that parties involved have not gone through out-of-court settlement efforts. Some 21 villages around Rawa Tripa had also protested that the establishment of PT Kallista Alam had caused their water level in the community’s wells to drop drastically.
On July 4,2012, the Head of the Presidential Unit for Development Monitoring and Oversight (UKP4), Ministry of Environment, and National Police’s Criminal Investigation Unit (Bareskrim Polri) visited Rawa Tripa after reports of fire in the peatland area. From the visit, the Head of Aceh Police sent a letter to the Governor giving some recommendations to clarify borders of the Rawa Tripa area and revoke all plantation permits within the Rawa Tripa area by compensating them with land in other areas or with equal value.
For further information, please contact:
Chair of Communication and Stakeholders Engagement Working Group
REDD+ Task Force
WALHI Aceh Press Release
Wednesday, 5 September 2012
JUDGES OF HIGHER ADMINISRATIVE COURT IN MEDAN GRANTED WALHI ACEH’S APPEAL
Aceh Governor has to withdraw the Plantation License of PT. Kalista Alam in Tripa and evaluate the entire existing licenses in Tripa Peat Swamp
Banda Aceh – WALHI’s appeal (in this case as the Plaintiff) against Aceh Governor (1st Defendant) and PT. Kalista Alam (2nd Defendant) on the withdrawal of the Governor’s Plantation License No. 525/BP2T/5322/2011 to PT. Kalista Alam issued on August 25, 2011 covering 1,605 ha in Tripa Peat Swamp’s Pulo Kruet village has been granted by the High Court in Medan.
The ruling of the High Court of Medan No. 89/B/2012/PT.TUN-MDN has been recited by the Panel of Judges on August 30, 2012.
The ruling contains among others: 1). The granting of Plaintiff’s (WALHI) appeal; 2). Cancellation of the contested license No. 525/BP2T/5322/2011 issued by the Governor of Aceh on August 25, 2011; 3). An order to the 1st Defendant (The Governor of Aceh) to withdraw the contested State Administrative Decision of the Governor of Aceh on the No. 525/BP2T/5322/2011 on the Plantation Permit to PT. Kalista Alam issued on August 25, 2011; 4). An order to the 1st and 2nd Defendants to jointly cover the cost of both court process of IDR 250,000,-.
(The ruling document in Bahasa Indonesia can be accessed here)
In response to the above mentioned court ruling, WALHI Aceh would like to address the following:
- WALHI Aceh kindly appreciate the ruling of the High Court of Medan. This result is to be taken gratefully, since it is not only a victory for WALHI but aslo for the whole community of Aceh and various national and international groups that have been so far very much and fully concerned about the relief and the protection of Tripa Peat Swamp. This is also a high appreciation for the collaborative struggle, especially of the community of the 21 villages in and around Tripa Peat Swamp. This decision is also proof that the law enforcement in environmental issue became a valuable effort and is expected to be momentum of law enforcement in a broader sense.
- Based on the decision of the Administrative High Court of Medan, WALHI Aceh request the Governor of Aceh to immediately follow up on the decision by cancelling the Plantation Permit issued to PT. Kalista Alam in Tripa Peat Swamp. Further, the Governor of Aceh is expected to evaluate all existing permits of various plantation companies in Tripa Peat Swamp, which are allegedly violating the procedures.
- WALHI Aceh also hopes that the entire legal cases, both civil and criminal cases currently undertaken by the Ministry of the Environment against several plantation companies in Tripa Peat Swamp, as well as the reports of the community and the Coalition for the Protection of Tripa (TKPRT) to the police, can be seriously processed and followed up upon.
We thank you very much for all supports and attentions.
Banda Aceh, 5 September 2012
WALHI Aceh Regional Executive,
Teuku Muhammad Zulfikar
Mobile: +62 812 690 128
- Aceh Integrated Licensing and Services Board reported to the Police (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- TKPRT: Immediately Revoke and Prosecute the Issuer of the New Permit in Tripa (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Waiting for The Rescue of Tripa Peat Swamp (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Roasted in Tripa Peat Swamp | TEMPO Magazine (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Tripa peat swamp facing its death (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Kuntoro Requests The Governor of Aceh to Revoke Plantation Permit in Tripa Peat Swamp (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- UKP4 requested the withdrawal of palm oil plantation permits in Tripa | KOMPAS (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- The Head of Aceh Police about Tripa Peat Swamp: Not Only Former Governor (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Former Aceh Governor’s story about the Permit in Tripa | The Globe Journal (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- It’s either orangutans or cheap palm oil (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)