Decision on Indonesia’s main dirty air case has been postponed-again | Environmental News

Jakarta, Indonesia -Indonesians continue to hold their breath, waiting for the outcome of a landmark legal battle, because after a panel of judges postponed their decision for the second time in two months, who is responsible for the dirty air in Jakarta.

The citizen suit was filed in 2019 with the purpose of Ask the Indonesian government to be responsible for air pollution In the capital of Indonesia.

In the legal document, the 32 plaintiffs listed in the lawsuit also demanded that officials pass stricter regulations and sanctions to improve the air quality in the city—according to the air quality index, air quality often reaches dangerous levels.

In recent months, the case has been plagued by delays. The plaintiff originally expected a verdict on May 20, and then the judge postponed the first time to June 10. On Thursday, the verdict was postponed again to June 24.

At the hearing at the Jakarta Central District Court, Chief Justice Saifuddin Zuheri blamed the delays on the large number of documents submitted in the case and told the court that the three-judge team needed more time to read through all the legal documents. .

“I hope you can accept that we cannot read the judgment today. Therefore, we agreed to postpone the decision by two weeks,” he said at a hearing that lasted just over three minutes. Due to the coronavirus agreement, the hearing was screened to the public through Zoom.

In a press release issued by the Clean Air Initiative, which is composed of the plaintiff in the citizen suit and its defense team, Ayu Eza Tiara, the plaintiff’s legal counsel, said that she was surprised and disappointed.

She said: “The eight-week judgment is considered unreasonable.” “This delay is clear evidence of mismanagement of time… and violates the principles of fast, simple, and low-cost trials.

“If we quote the motto of’justice late, deny justice’…the slow judicial process will certainly not bring justice to the parties. Therefore, we hope that the jury will not delay in the future.”

Environmental activists participated in anti-fossil fuel demonstrations and opposed Standard Chartered Bank’s financing of 9 and 10 coal-fired power plants in Java. The lawsuit filed in 2019 seeks to hold the government responsible for the deterioration of air quality in Jakarta [File: Bay Ismoyo/AFP]

‘intense argument’

Elisa Sutanudjaja, one of the 32 plaintiffs involved in the lawsuit, told Al Jazeera that repeated delays would only strengthen the premise of the case.

“As far as I am concerned, the postponement further proves that air pollution and the climate crisis are not the state’s main priorities, and even the judiciary does not consider poor air quality to be an urgent issue,” she said.

The case has been controversial since the case was filed in 2019, partly because the defendants include the President of Indonesia, the Minister of Environment and Forestry, the Minister of Interior, the Governor of Jakarta, and the Governors of Banten and West Java Provinces.

The defendants also tried to question their responsibility for the dirty air in Jakarta. Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan even accused the plaintiff of causing the dense fog that often enveloped the city.

Istu Prayogi previously told Al Jakarta that he was diagnosed with spotted lungs, headache and congestion after living in Jakarta in the 1990s. He said that he believes the court is using loopholes in the law to avoid making a decision.

“This is the judicial process we are looking forward to in Indonesia,” he said. “The panel of judges should have been able to make a ruling, but because they could choose to postpone the ruling, they used this choice to buy time.”

Others who observe the case want to know whether the three-judge panel is in a legal deadlock, which can also explain the repeated delays.

Indonesian law follows the civil law system and uses a mixture of Dutch colonial law, customary law and modern Indonesian law. There is no jury in Indonesian courts, and all judgments in civil and criminal cases are decided by a panel of judges.

Dwi Sawung of the Energy and Urban Movement said: “The length of the verdict and the repeated delays made us doubt that there was a heated debate among the judges on whether to support a healthy environment or continue to allow Jakartas to breathe polluted air.” Environment in Indonesia The manager of the forum (WALHI) said in a statement.

“However, residents are eagerly awaiting the jury’s decision to ensure the future of the quality of air we breathe in Jakarta.”

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