Aceh judges refuse to rule over Tripa Case

a orangutan baby These orangutans need our protection

Apr 4, 2012

In the case of the deforestation of the protected Tripa peat swamps, the indonesian court announced on Tuesday, 3rd of April, that it was unable to rule as the parties involved should have attempted mediation first. The conservationists who brought the case to court fear for the fate of the orangutans and have announced to appeal to the High Court.

In the case of the deforestation of the protected Tripa peat swamps, the Indonesian court announced on Tuesday, 3rd of April, that it was unable to rule as the parties involved should have attempted mediation first. The conservationists who brought the case to court fear for the fate of the orangutans and have announced to appeal to the High Court.

The plaintiffs, local environmentalists, were far from convinced by the court's arguments: "I suspect the judge was feeling caught in the middle between heavy political pressure in Aceh and the massive campaign overseas, and effectively did a 'Pontius Pilate' and just washed his hands of the case", landscape protection specialist Graham Usher says. “If this legal challenge had no legal basis, then why wasn’t it rejected at the beginning?” fumed T. Muhammad Zulfikar, Director of the environmental oragnization WALHI.  “There is no doubt we will be appealing this appalling decision."

Public protest is now more important than ever   

WALHI is now moving on to the High Court. Cause for complaint was the official concession the oil palm corporation PT Kallista Alam received from the governor of Aceh. This allows the company to cut-and-burn the precious forest and thus to threaten one of the last habitats of the endangered orangutans. Public outrage is now more important than ever, to ensure that Indonesia's environmental laws finally are enforced, WALHI pointed out. So far more than 30,000 people from all over the world have protested and signed a petition.

The deforestation is a blatant contradiction of Indonesia's proclaimed climate protection goals. In fact, the emission of climate gases was supposed to be reduced by 26 percent. The one billion dollar package Norway had promised to Indonesia in return for climate protection, might be put into question.

While the jurisprudence has chosen a very leisurely pace, huge man made fires have blazed across Tripa in the last days. This area has long been recognized as a UNEP/UNESCO Great Ape Survival Partnership Priority Site for Great Ape Conservation. If the deforestation in favour of oil palm plantations is not stopped, the critically endangered Sumatra orangutans might disappear forever by the end of 2012. 

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