Corporate Sues on Forest Fires, Government Losing in Court

Corporate Sues on Forest Fires, Government Losing in Court

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PALEMBANG, Civil lawsuit Ministry of Environment and Forestry to PT Bumi Mekar Hijau (BMH) valued at Rp 7.8 trillion was rejected by the panel of judges Palembang District Court.

The judge considered the allegations given to the company not to be proven.

Chairman of the panel of judges Parlas Nababan in reading the open court verdict in Palembang, Wednesday (30/12/2015), stated that in addition to refusing the lawsuit, the plaintiff, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) is also required to pay the cost of Rp 10,521,000 .

Parlas read out the considerations of the judge's verdict, partly because of the availability of fire control equipment. Burning land can still be planted.

In addition, the planting work is handed over to third parties, the reporting is done on a regular basis, and there are no reports of land damage at the Ogan Komering Ilir Forestry Office.

Thus, the judge stated, there is no causal relationship between error and loss.

From the laboratory results are known, there is no indication of damaged plants because after the land burned, acacia plants can still grow well.

Furthermore, the plaintiff also can not prove the existence of ecological losses, such as the calculation of nutrient loss and loss of biodiversity. Thus, unlawful acts committed by PT BMH can not be proven.

"On that consideration, the judges rejected the lawsuit and charged the court fee to the plaintiff (KLHK)," he said.

Upon hearing the verdict of the panel of judges, the KLHK legal advisory team chaired by Umar Suyudi decided to appeal.

Previously, the lawsuit was filed by the state over the burning of 20,000 hectares acacia tree plantation plantation land owned by PT BMH in 2014 in Simpang Tiga Sakti District and Byuku District of Ogan Komering Ilir (OKI) Regency.In the reading of the verdict, the panel of judges chaired by Parlas Nababan read out all the statements of witnesses and experts presented by both parties at the hearing. One of them is environmental law expert University of Indonesia, Andri Gunawan Wibisana.

The expert presented by the plaintiff team said, pursuant to Article 88 of Law No. 32 of 2009 on Environmental Protection and Management, the owner of the license must be strict liability.

This can be imposed because the business undertaken can pose a serious threat to the environment so there is an absolute responsibility for losses that occur without the need to prove the element of error.

Andri said, the absence of this element of error is none other than to make all circles very cautious for its behavior on the environment that categorized high risk, and realize the difficulty of doing the proof.

Pharlas then read the expert statement from the defendant, former Supreme Court Justice, Arbijoto.

The former Supreme Court judge stated that this KLHK claim did not meet formal and material requirements because the lawsuit was based on the assumption of a land fire in the concession area and could not show the perpetrator.

According to him, this case from the outset should be rejected by the court because the law must come from principles and theories.

If referring to the lawsuit material, the alleged violation of law, Arbijoto considers that the alleged thing should be canceled if the party sued has fulfilled all the provisions (condition permit, facilities, and fire infrastructure).

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