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Ministry of Environment and Forestry v. PT Bumi Mekar Hijau

Jurisdiction: Palembang Court of Appeal of Indonesia

Principle law(s): Law 32/2009 Environmental Protection and Management

Side A: Ministry of Environment and Forestry (Government)

Side B: PT Bumi Mekar Hijau (Corporation)

Core objectives: Restoration for climate damage caused by palm plantation land clearing.

On February 3, 2015, the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry (the MoEF) filed a tort-based lawsuit against PT Bumi Mekar Hijau for intentionally causing fires to the peatlands. The MoEF argued that the defendant had intentionally burn the peatlands area to clear the land for timber planting purposes. Thus, the MoEF requested the court to declare that defendant liable for damages amounting to IDR 5.299 trillion and restoration costs for IDR 2.687 trillion. With damages and restoration cost amounting almost to IDR 8 trillion, this lawsuit is ranked among the highest damages in Indonesian forest fires litigation. In relation to climate damages, the MoEF argued that fires on the peatlands had caused in the release of 135,000 tC and 5,670 tCO2. The MoEF set the price for reduction and restoration of carbon on IDR 90,000. Hence, the total of restoration costs for the release of Carbon and Carbon Dioxide, respectively, were IDR 12.2 billion and IDR 4.3 billion. 

On December 30, 2015, District Court of Palembang ruled in favor of the defendant and rejected all the plaintiff’s claim. Despite accepting the fact that the fires had occurred, the judges did not consider it as damages and believed the land were still able to be planted. On May 3, 2016, the Court of Appeal overruled the district court decision on the grounds that the damages had occurred in the form of air pollution and damages on the peatlands. The court of appeal also awarded the plaintiff the restoration costs for climate damages in the full amount as requested.

Case documents

Related laws and policies
  • IDN flag This law implements Indonesia legislation
    Law 32/2009 Environmental Protection and Management

    Passed in 2009 Legislative

    This law formally recognises that decreasing environmental quality is a serious problem for Indonesia, and that climate change presents further systemic threats. It seeks to ensure that development is underpinned with the principle of sustainably and environmentally sound development principles. ...

from the Grantham Research Institute
from the Grantham Research Institute
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