Jikalahari demands President SBY to reopen logging cases

EoF News / 27 September 2011

PEKANBARU (EoF News)—Jikalahari, environmental organization’s network to save natural forest in Riau, sent a letter to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono last week to order the police and prosecutors office to prosecute 14 timber companies which allegedly committing environmental destruction.

The illegal logging cases of 14 companies affiliated to two pulp giants, Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) and Asian Pacific Resources International Holdings Limited (APRIL), were closed by the Riau Police in the end of 2008.  

In June 2011, Justice Mafia Eradication Task Force -set up by President Susilo- urged the Indonesian Police to continue probing 14 pulpwood supplier companies in Riau as the agency found irregularities and loopholes by the police to closes the cases.

 “We are demanding commitment made by the Indonesia President to save the forests as he announced when he set up Task Force of Justice Mafia Eradication in 2009,” said Muslim Rasyid, Jikalahari’s coordinator, in a press release issued on Monday (26/9).

Jikalahari concluded that the deforestation occurred in Riau was not caused by illegal logging without valid permit, but also by logging practice with legal license which against the existing rules and regulations, Muslim Rasyid said.

IUPHHK-HT licenses issued to pulpwood plantation companies have driven devastation to forest as proved by the loss of natural forest cover in those concessions, Jikalahari said.

Meanwhile, in Jakarta, President SBY reaffirmed his commitment to reduce green house gas emission by 26 percent at business as usual level by 2020. The President called on all stakeholders to accelarate economic development with conservation, Republika website reported today.

On 7-8 June, the Task Force have coordinated with the Indonesian Police, the Attorney Office, the Ministry of Forestry, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and other relevant agencies here to discuss the 14 companies’ cases.

At a press conference at that time, the Task Force said that there are four points that considered by the team to reopen the cases closed in December 2008. The SP3 letter issuance by the Police two years ago following account of witnesses saying there was no any environmental damage made by the 14 companies as alleged by the Riau Police.

The Task Force has analyzed that SP3 letter issuance had caused uncertainty to the law as there were some flaws relating to conflict of interest in witnesses selection as well as ignoring independent witnesses before the trials conducted.

Corruption case that penalized Pelalawan District Head in 2009 and the Supreme Court’s final decision to determine it should be referred as new evidences found to probe again the 14 companies indictments, the agency said.

“Therefore, it is allegedly in issuing IUPHHK-HT [pulpwood plantations] licenses to  the 14 companies that their probed terminated, is possible to indicate corruption crime charge,” the release said.