Law enforcement for corporate crimes in the forestry sector

EoF Press Release / 08 December 2013

Jakarta – Anti-Mafia Coalition and WWF Indonesia launched an agenda to push law enforcement to apply to corporates that commit crime in forestry sectors. This was discussed during a media briefing on December 5th 2013 held at Warung Daun about Corporate Crimes in Forestry Sector with Dr. Togu Manurung (IPB), Josie Khatarina (UKP4), and Deddy Ratih (WALHI) as the speakers. The coalition that consists of several non-govermental organizations such as ICW, Walhi, Silvagama, and many more, as well as WWF Indonesia, saw that until today, the corporate criminals are still free destroying and damaging forests without any legal lialibilty. If prosecuted, only the administrators convicted, while the corporation itself remains freely operating.

It can be clearly seen through the case of Azmun Jafar’s  Industrial Timber Plantation (HTI) permit in Pelalawan District, Riau, in which the evidence revealed that there are at least 16 companies involved in the corruption case. However, all of these companies are still free outside the bars and remain operating, some companies were even awarded a certificate of a sustainaible management by the Minister of Forestry.

“Eradicating corporate crime in the forestry sector is very important and relevant. Corporations in the forestry sector not only take advantage of the legal loopholes, but also even hit the law itlself. This is possible because of the collaboration between corporations and the goverment officials themselves,” Togu Manurung said. He described the HPH/HTI mode that damage forest and then not few of them later transform them into plantations.

Josie Khatarina from UKP4 reminded that corporate in the context of Indonesia’s legal system is a group organized people/ properties, whether it’s a legal entity or not. She explained the provisions about corporates in various laws and obligations. Unfortunately, the law enforcement tend to see this sectorally and fragmented, hence a more comprehensive approach is needed. And that is what UKP4 is trying to encourage through a multidoor approach.

Corporate crime in the forestry sector has resulted a tremendously negative impact to the environment, huge state’s loss and serious social impacts, like the rise of conflicts. “Clearly, corporate crime has given a sistematic and wide damages, so it can be categorized as an extraordinary crime,” Deddy Ratih said.

Syahrul Fitra, Anti-Forestry Mafia’s representative, said that this first media briefing will be followed up by several other activities, like another media briefing with a more developed topic and discussion with the experts in order to arrange a legal opinion on the legal liability of forestry corporations in accordance to Indonesia’s legal system. The coalition will then choose one specific case and develop it into a a legal case to be lodged to the Anti-Graft Commission (KPK) in February 2014. After that, the coalition will keep monitoring the law enforcement.