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Ministry of Environment and Forestry v. PT Palmina Utama

Jurisdiction: Banjarmasin District Court of Indonesia

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

Side A: Ministry of Environment and Forestry (Government)

Side B: PT Palmina Utama (Corporation)

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

On December 14th, 2016, the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry (the MoEF) sued a palm oil plantation for fires occurring inside the PT Palmina Utama controlled area. The MoEF claimed that the defendant intentionally set up fires to clear it for the purpose of making it as the new crop field. The MoEF argued that the defendants also infringed on the obligation to control the fires inside its controlled area. Due to the unlawful conduct, the MoEF sought compensation for the damages and cost for restoration. The MoEF asked the court that the defendant liable to compensate for IDR 206.955.000 for the released of 2299,5 tC and IDR 188.689.500 for the losses of carbon sinks. 

On February 21st, 2018, the district court of Banjarmasin ruled in favor of the defendant and reject all the plaintiff petition. The judges argued that the MoEF had failed to show type of soils affected by wildfires. Failure to determine the type of soil would lead to different calculation of damages, said by the Judges. Accordingly, the judges decided that the lawsuit should be denied. On August 15th, 2018, the Banjarmasin Court of Appeal overruled the district court decision and argued that, despite the fact there was indeterminacy on the type of soils, the district court should have ruled that the defendant had negligently controlled the fires within its concessions. 

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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