JAKARTA, Jan. 13 -- Indonesian Environment Ministry won a lawsuit against a palm oil plantation firm for its involvement in forest fire in nature conservancy area in the country's westernmost province of Aceh, making the firm fined and obliged to rehabilitate the conservancy area affected by the forest fire, a official said here Monday.
Citing the verdict issued recently by Aceh's Meulaboh state court, Indonesian Environment Minister Balthazar Kambuaya said that the firm, PT Kallista Alam, has convincingly violated the law for its moves in opening the forest by torching fires that eventually caused massive forest fire in Leuser Ecosystem Area ( KEL) nature conservancy area in 2012. "The achievement to win the lawsuit in forest fire case was actually a good lesson for us as 'polluter pay principle' mechanism was applied here,"the minister told a press conference here.
He expected the verdict can illuminate deterrent effect for other firms that damage the environment. "It also increases our conviction that environment rehabilitation can be settled through legal proceeding,"the minister said.
The judges panel in Meulaboh state court issued the verdict on Jan. 8, ordering Kallista Alam to pay a total of 114,333,419,000 rupiah (about 9.6 million U.S. dollars) in damages for the ministry and allocating some 251,765,250,000 rupiah (about 21.3 million U.S. dollars) to finance environment rehabilitation in affected areas.
The court also bans the firm from planting any plantation within 1,000 square hectares of peatland area in its site.
The minister said that the verdict in the environment case was the first to have been issued by environment-certified judge in the country.