Environmentalists were handed a set back in a dispute over a palm oil plantation granted in a protected peat swamp that is home to a population of critically endangered orangutans, reports the Aceh Globe and the Sydney Morning Herald.
Tuesday a court in Banda Aceh dismissed the case on jurisdictional grounds, arguing that WALHI, the group that brought the case, should have first sought a settlement with PT Kallista Alam, the palm oil company that is clearing the forest area.
“The Administrative Court of Banda Aceh has no authority to rule on this case. The lawsuit is unacceptable,” Judge Darmawi of Banda Aceh Administrative Court was quoted as saying by the Ache Globe. “The judges gave the opportunity for the parties to seek settlement out of court in accordance to the law.”
But according to the Sydney Morning Herald, WALHI’s lawyer, Kamaruddin, said the judges erred in their decision. An appeal is likely.
a petition drive on the site Change.org. “The Tripa peat swamp forests in Aceh have long been recognized as a UNEP/UNESCO Great Ape Survival Partnership Priority Site for Great Ape Conservation, and in the early 90′s these peat swamp forests are estimated to have contained between 2,000 and 3,000 Sumatran orang-utans. But today, only a few hundred survive, and a tipping point has now been reached where just one more serious and uncontrolled fire event could easily wipe out the remaining survivors, and all other wildlife species in these forests, many of them also Endangered and legally protected under Indonesian law.”
NASA satellite data released late last month showed dozens of fires burning in Tripa. Forest clearing has already began in the concession area, according to environmentalists.
(03/27/2012) Satellite data from NASA confirms that fires are burning in an orangutan hotspot slated for conversion to oil palm plantations.
(03/27/2012) Fires are burning in a peat forest that is the center of contentious court case.
(03/22/2012) Environmental activists have launched an urgent appeal calling for a ‘just decision’ in a court case that has pitted Aceh’s ‘Green Governor’ and palm oil developers against efforts to save endangered orangutans in a Sumatran peat forest. In letters directed toward judges weighing the case in Sumatra’s Aceh Provice, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the country’s REDD+ authority, the World Bank, and the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF), a coalition of conservation groups says the outcome of the case could have substantial implications for efforts to conserve Indonesia’s remaining forests and peatlands.