Judges have no guts against corruption on Burhanuddin Husin’s verdict

EoF News / 23 August 2013

EoF News (PEKANBARU) — A monitoring on corruption trial by a university in Jakarta concluded yesterday that there was allegedly discrimination by judges of corruption court in taking a punishment to a defendant on forestry graft case in Riau province.

Indonesian Judicial Monitoring Society (MAPPI) at Faculty of Law, University of Indonesia, released a case report on Pekanbaru Corruption Criminal Court’s Verdict on Burhanuddin Husin’s Annual Work Plan Assesment and licensing graft to 12 pulp suppliers associated to giants APRIL and APP.

Husin, former Riau Forestry Service Head, was sentenced to two years and six months imprisonment in October 2012 where environmental NGOs protested that it was a very light punishment comparing to other officials who got 4 until 11 years in jail for similar forestry graft cases.

About 38,357 hectares of natural forest has been cleared by 12 industrial plantation companies (HTI) that obtained Annual Work Plan (RKT) licences in Pelalawan and Siak Districts from the convicted Burhanuddin Husin while serving as the Forestry Service Head during 2005-2006 period.

The total state loss of the 38,357 hectares natural forest clearing is actually Rp 687 trillion instead of Rp 519 billion, according to Anti-Graft Commision (KPK)’s calculation.

“You’d better not count the state losses on PSDH-DR alone since RKTs [annual work plans] that Burhanuddin Husin issued were against the law,” Muslim Rasyid, Jikalahari’s coordinator, said. “If the RKT is illegal, it means that it is on the contrary to the company’s AMDAL [environmental impact assessment]. We can calculate the ecological-economical loss of the illegal areas,” said Rasyid underlying calculations conducted by Prof Bambang Hero Saharjo, Dean of Faculty of Forestry, Bogor Agricultural University (IPB).

“Ecological-economical approach is to give a sense of justice to environment and natural forest that have been damaged by the paper companies,” he added.

On October 24th 2012, though there was a dessenting opinion, Pekanbaru Tipikor Court sentenced Burhanuddin Husin 2.5 years for provenly committing forestry corruption along with other sides. Lumban Gaol, SH MH (career judge) and Rakhman Silaen SH, MH (ad hoc judge). In their 669 page-long convict, the verdict is way too far from the 6 years of imprisonment prosecution that sued by prosecutors.

“Burhanuddin Husin’s verdict is much lighter than the previous forestry convicts—Asral Rahman (5 years of imprisonment) and Syuhada Tasman (4 years of imprisonment)—who are both involved corruption case while serving as Riau Forestry Service Head,” Suryadi, Director of Pekanbaru Legal Aid Foundation, said at the media briefing Thursday (22/8).

The report of 61 pages contains several legal analysis of prosecutors’ indictment weaknesses that applies subsidiary indictment to the judges. The emphasis is on the judge panels’ consideration.

In the verdict, the Judge Panels declare the defendant guilty of violating Article 3 with light penalty. Suryadi compares Article 2 and 3. The minimum improsenmnet of violating Article 2 is 2 years, and the maximum 4 years, a fine of Rp 200 millions minimum and Rp 1 billion maximum.

In Article 3, it is an imprisonment of 1 year minimum and 20 years maximum, a fine of Rp 50 millions minimum and Rp 1 billion maximum. “Why didn’t the panels choose Article 2 which the max imprisonment is 4 years instead? In fact, both Articles do not have substantial difference,” Suryadi said.

Necessarily, the facts show there has been discrepancy of legal verdict in similar cases. In the verdicts on Asral (former Riau Forestry Service Head 2003-2004), and Syuhada Tasman (former Riau Forestry Service 2004-2005) the panels declared the defendants fully met all the elements of Article 2.

“The panels’ decision on Burhanuddin Husin shows that the judges have no commitment and guts to fight against corruption which has caused loss to the state’s finance.” “Our recommendations are that KPK to immediately name the witnesses Edi Suryadi and Amin Budyadi and the 12 companies suspects,” Suryadi said, “and also that Chief Justice or Judicial Commision to immediately investigate judge of the panels on the case.”