Friends of the Earth Indonesia (WALHI) is airing doubts that the government would be serious in enforcing a recent verdict of the Supreme Court which revoked a clause in a government regulation that allowed the extension of plantation operation in conservation or protected forest areas, but also expressed its determination that it will ensure the government abide by the verdict, one of its executives said Monday (6/1).
“Considering the repeated tendency of the president to side with investments, we are doubtful that after the verdict is received by the President, there would be a serious process of law enforcement. But we from WALHI, will certainly demand it (from the government) once we have received a copy of the verdict,” WALHI Manager for Policy Studies, Boy Even Sembiring told The Scribe in a short text message.
“Article 51, point 2 is not legally binding and is legally cancelled,” he added.
Even said that WALHI had yet to obtain a copy of the verdict and only knew about it from the official webpage of the Supreme Court. The webpage said that the Supreme Court had on December 13, 2019, ruled in favor of the plaintiff in the case number 77P/HUM/2019. The case number refers to a demand for a material review, entered by WALHI jointly with PBH Kalimantan on October 2, 2019, over point 2 of Article 51 of Government Regulation Number 104 of 2015 on the Procedure for the Conversion of the Zoning and Function of Forest Areas.
Point 2, Article 51 of that regulations allowed for an extension of the operation of plantations in conservation and protected forests for a period of one planting cycle.
“In essence, the regulation that is being examined, carries a special incentive that legalize crimes conducted jointly by the regional governments, governors or heads of district or municipality, and plantation corporations, especially in oil palm,” WALHI said when announcing the submission of the demand for the material review in October.
Government Regulation number 104/ 2015 was passed in December 2015 and is actually a follow up of Government Regulation number 10 of 2010 on the Procedure for the Conversion of the Zoning and Function of Forest Areas and the consequent Government regulation number 60 of 2012 that modified it. The two government regulations were issued during the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as the basis for legalizing plantation permits and activities that had already been issued for plantations in production forests, the government of President Joko Widodo further extended the regulation to also cover plantation permits and activities in conservation and protected forest too.
Even said that the government should immediately comply with the Supreme Court verdict and enforce it. He pointed to permits for plantations in conservation and protected forests which he said “should be able to be immediately put into order, the permits revoked and a law enforcement process be undertaken.”
When submitting the demand for the material review, WALHI said that the issuance of government regulation number 104 of 2015 ran against a number of higher regulations and laws. It cited Law number 5 of 1990 on Conservation of Biodiversity Resources and their Ecosystems, Law number 41 of 1999 on Forestry, Law number 26 of 2007 on Spatial Zoning, Law number 12 of 2011 on the Establishment of Laws and Law number 18 of 2013 on the Prevention and Eradication of the Destruction of Forests.