Oil palm company PT. Kallista Alam has filed an appeal with the Supreme Court continuing the closely-watched legal battle set to redefine Indonesia’s commitment to environmental justice. Lawyers for the company filed the new appeal on October 6, claiming the initial case is invalid because it failed to include all relevant parties as defendants—including the governor of Aceh, who issued the concession permit in 2011.
In addition, the company maintains that Elvis Bin Aznar, who authorized the area for land clearing in a 2010 letter to the governor, should also have been a defendant. Finally, PT. Kallista Alam disputes the amount of land the lawsuit claims they deforested: 1,000 hectares.
In January, a district court fined the company 366 billion rupiah ($30 million) in penalties and restoration fees for clearing protected peat swamp and critical orangutan habitat in the Tripa Swamp area of Sumatra. The High Court of Banda Aceh upheld the ruling in September.
Fires in the Tripa peat swamp. Photo courtesy of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme
Meanwhile, 5,769 hectares of permitted land and other company assets seized by the government remain in limbo while the case is settled. In September, the government of Aceh issued a letter stating that 1,605 hectares of the area—the majority of which is peat swamp—would become a managed protected area. 252 billion rupiah ($20.7 million) of the fine against the company is earmarked for cleanup, restoration, and remediation of the land they cleared.
SOURCE: Firman Hidayat. Ajukan Kasasi ke MA, PT. Kallista Menyebut Gubernur Aceh dan Kontraktor Seharusnya Sebagai Pihak Tergugat. Mongabay-Indonesia. October 10, 2014.