Next Week, Hearing of Witnesses | KOMPAS

Next Week, Hearing of Witnesses 

Jakarta, Kompas – Joint investigator consisting of Ministry of Environment, Police and Attorney General on Monday (21/5) were scheduled to start collecting information from witnesses on the case of clearing by burning in Tripa Peat Swamp within the Aceh’s Leuser Ecosystem. The witnesses are from the companies PT Kalista Alam and PT Surya Panen Subur 2. This is the follow up on the site investigation sometimes ago.

“Now is the first call for witnesses from both companies. Other witnesses are also from government agencies, such as Provincial Government of Aceh and the National Land Agency,” said Sudariyono, Deputy of Environmental Law Enforcement of the Ministry of Environment, last Friday in Jakarta.

Currently, the team has collect information from local community in Nagan Raya, filed to strengthen the findings of the investigators.

On site, the team of investigators found evidence of clearing by burning of Tripa Peat Swamp area for the purpose of oil palm plantation. Burning of land violates the Article 108 of the Law No. 32/2009 on the Protection and the Management of the Environment, with the minimum sentence of 3 years up to 10 years in prison and fine of between IDR 1 to 10 billion.

Besides criminal law, investigators also apply civil law based on the environmental destruction caused by fire, which is defined as state loss. “We are currently calculating the damage. The civil process runs in parallel to the legal process of the crime suit,” he said.

The case of Tripa emerged after WALHI and some other NGOs in Aceh filed a law suit against the Governor of Aceh on the issuance of permit for 1,605 ha within the Leuser Ecosystem. The law suit was rejected by the panel of judges of the administrative court in Banda Aceh.

The odd decision on the case has reached the Presidential Working Unit of Development Supervision and Control  (UKP4), which is also the Task Force REDD+. The Head of UKP4 Kuntoro Mangkusubroto recommended that the investigators of the Ministry of Environment, the Police and the Attorney General take over the case.

Over the phone on Friday afternoon, the Director of PT Surya Panen Subur, Eddy Sutjahyo Busiri, has received the summon for hearing. “It is scheduled for Tuesday. We will certainly attend and bring evidence and data,” he said.

He said that his company did not burn but was victim of burning by its neighbouring plantation. Thursday afternoon his staffs in Tripa Peat Swamp were on alert based on fire within the area of PT Kalista Alam.

”We alerted directly the police and Local Office of Environment to witness the fire themselves,” he said.

Improving Coordination

Separately, Tjokorda Nirarta Samadhi, the Coordinator of the Moratorium Monitoring Work Group of the Task Force REDD+, agreed that the case on Tripa opened the path for the review on the areas within the moratorium map.

He recommended that various government agencies coordinate with each other and monitor. (ICH)

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About iansingletonsocp

Orangutan conservationist, former zookeeper and field researcher.

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