Kalimantan Forest Fire Class Action Plaintiff Balked by MA's Judicial Review

24 November 2022 13:18 WIB

Fire burns a resident's land in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan, Sunday, September 22, 2019. ANTARA

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Supreme Court (MA) has granted a judicial review request filed by President Jokowi, the Minister of Environment and Forestry, and the Central Kalimantan governor over the class action or civil lawsuit linked to the Central Kalimantan land and forest fire in 2015. The plaintiffs of the class action lawsuit were openly disappointed by the judicial review as the process seemed abrupt and lacks transparency.

The lawyer for the class action lawsuit plaintiff Aryo Nugroho Waluyo insists that one of the aspects that must be met to grant defendants of a case a judicial review is the existence of new pieces of evidence. He asserted that he was never made aware of such evidence filed by the government and implied that copies of the judicial review verdict had not been received to date. 

As reported by Teras.id partner, betahita.id, Aryo believes the judicial review from the President and the government that acts as defendants of the class action lawsuit signals that the government does not intend to provide a healthy environment for its own citizens. 

The lawsuit was initially meant to serve as a warning to the government and encourage them to wisely execute provisions contained in the constitution (UU).

“We are seeing the government dwell in a plethora of reasons to avoid respecting the legal verdict that has permanent legal force,” said Aryo.

Regional Executive Director of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) Central Kalimantan, Bayu Herinata also considers the approval of the judicial review as a step backward in law enforcement by the government. 

He also believes the legal process where the defendants submitted the judicial review until the decision is issued was very swift and lacked transparency.

On August 3, 2022, President Jokowi, the Minister of Environment and Forestry, and the Governor of Central Kalimantan registered to submit a judicial review to the Supreme Court and based on the Court's Registrar's website, the request was granted by the Supreme Court Judges on November 3 and is in the process of being minuted. However, to date, there has been no official statement from the Supreme Court regarding the result of the judicial review of the class action lawsuit for the Central Kalimantan land and forest fires.

This comes in contrast to the initial class action from Central Kalimantan residents who filed the lawsuit to the Palangka Raya District Court (PN) on August 16, 2016.  The court only produced a verdict on March 22, 2017, that found the defendants had committed an unlawful act and partially granted the plaintiffs' demands regarding the forest fires.

RACHEL FARAHDIBA R

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