Ruling in key Indonesian filthy air case postponed – once more

Jakarta, Indonesia – Indonesians proceed to carry their breath as they await the result of a landmark authorized battle over who’s accountable for Jakarta’s soiled air after a panel of judges delayed their choice for the second time in two months.

The citizen lawsuit was filed in 2019 in a bid to maintain the Indonesian authorities accountable for air air pollution within the Indonesian capital.

In authorized filings, the 32 plaintiffs listed within the lawsuit additionally requested that officers be pressured to enhance town’s air high quality – which usually hits hazardous ranges in accordance with air high quality indexes – via harder rules and sanctions.

The case has been plagued with delays in latest months. The plaintiffs had initially been anticipating a verdict on May 20, earlier than the judges issued a primary postponement till June 10. On Thursday, it was postponed once more – till June 24.

During the listening to on the Central Jakarta District Court, Chief Justice Saifuddin Zuhri blamed the massive variety of paperwork filed within the case for the delay, telling the courtroom that the panel of three judges wanted extra time to learn via all of the authorized literature.

“I hope you can accept that we are not able to read the verdict today. Therefore, we have agreed to postpone the decision for two weeks,” he stated throughout the simply greater than three-minute listening to, which was screened to the general public by way of Zoom as a consequence of coronavirus protocols.

In a information launch issued by the Clean Air Initiative Coalition, which is made up of the plaintiffs within the citizen lawsuit and their advocacy staff, the authorized counsel for the plaintiffs, Ayu Eza Tiara, stated that she was shocked and dissatisfied.

“A reading of a verdict that takes up to eight weeks is not something that can be considered reasonable,” she stated. “This delay is evident proof of poor time administration … and a violation of the precept of a quick, easy and low-cost trial.

“If we refer to the adage ‘justice delayed, justice denied’… a slow judicial process will certainly not provide justice for the parties. Therefore, we hope that the panel of judges will no longer procrastinate in the future.”

000 96B8GMEnvironmental activists participate in an anti-fossil gas demonstration towards Standard Chartered financial institution’s financing of the Java 9 and 10 coal-fired energy crops. A lawsuit filed in 2019 seeks to carry the federal government accountable for the deterioration in air high quality in Jakarta [File: Bay Ismoyo/AFP]

‘Tough debate’

One of the 32 plaintiffs concerned within the lawsuit, Elisa Sutanudjaja, instructed Al Jazeera that the repeated delays solely served to bolster the premise of the case.

“As far as I’m concerned, the postponement is further evidence that air pollution and the climate crisis are not the main priorities of the state, and even the judiciary doesn’t consider poor air quality an urgent issue,” she stated.

The case has been controversial because it was filed in 2019, partly as a result of the defendants embrace Indonesia’s president, the minister of surroundings and forestry, the minister of home affairs, the governor of Jakarta and the governors of Banten and West Java provinces.

The defendants have additionally sought to forged doubt on their duty for Jakarta’s filthy air, with the governor of Jakarta, Anies Baswedan, even going so far as blaming the plaintiffs themselves for having contributed to the thick smog that usually cloaks town.

Istu Prayogi, who beforehand instructed Al Jazeera that he was identified with spots in his lungs and suffered from complications and congestion after living in Jakarta within the 1990s, stated that he felt that the courtroom was making the most of authorized loopholes to keep away from making a call.

“This is the judicial process that we have come to expect in Indonesia,” he stated. “The panel of judges should have been able to deliver a verdict, but because they had the option of postponing it, they used that option to buy time.”

Others observing the case puzzled if the panel of three judges had been locked in a authorized deadlock, which might additionally clarify the repeated delays.

Indonesian regulation follows the civil regulation system, and makes use of a mixture of Dutch colonial regulation, customary regulation and trendy Indonesian regulation. There are not any juries in Indonesian courts and all verdicts, each in civil and prison circumstances, are determined by a panel of judges.

“The length of the verdict and the repeated delays make us suspect that there is a tough debate among the panel of judges about whether to side with a healthy environment or continue to let Jakartans breathe polluted air,” Dwi Sawung, the Energy and Urban Campaign Manager of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI), stated in an announcement.

“However, residents eagerly await the decision of the panel of judges to ensure the future of the quality of the air we breathe in Jakarta.”

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