Jakarta (Greeners) – As massive fires ravaged in 2015, Indonesia must pay its high price for neglecting forest and peat damages in the past decades.
Not only government but all components need to be aware of the importance of forest and peat ecosystem protection.
Director General of Environment Law Enforcement, Ministry of Environment and Forestry Rasio Ridho Sani said to Greeners that the ministry had been giving its efforts to anticipate environment crimes and to ensure that the state was present for its people since the directorate was established seven months ago.
He underlined that environment crimes were extraordinary crimes with great impacts especially to humans.
“Environment law enforcement must be based on full commitment and consistency to protect the environment and people,” he said in Jakarta, on Monday (28/12).
The directorate recorded different mode of operations for environmental crimes, starting from forest and land fires, illegal logging, encroachment, illegal wildlife trading, pollution either by individuals or corporates, and toxic and hazardous waste smuggling.
To anticipate these crimes, Rasio said that the ministry had implemented steps starting from prevention such as public education, ensure regulation to reduce potentials of rising environmental crimes, and monitoring.
“We do patrols on protected forest areas apart from law enforcement actions, such as administrative sanction to criminal charges,” he said admitting that he could use all the help he could get from all components as the crimes were complex.
Hence, the directorate will be cooperating with suitable partners related to prevention and law enforcement especially from scientific point of view.
“We need human resources with scientific capacities to ensure judges understand these environmental crimes,” he said.
Furthermore, he understands that there were still lack of judges certified with environmental knowledge but he ensures that the ministry was supporting and encouraging effort from the Supreme Court to issue more certified judges.
Furthermore, he said that the ministry would be applying special registration system related to environment and forest crimes cases where judges can easily track down those cases.
“We already done this. We are supporting Supreme Court to increase capacity of judges with green certification. Currently, there are 216 certified judges and there are 150 judges under going capacity building enhancement,” he said.
Greenpeace Indonesia chief, Longgena Ginting, said that people were still waiting for permanent policy specifically to protect peatlands to prevent more forest fires in the future.
The policy must be in the form of Government Regulation in Lieu of Law (Perppu) to be strong enough to review all business right permits (HGU) issued over peatlands.
“We also hope for the government to be strict to companies which keep on damaging forest and peats, also to support Zero Deforestation policy initiative,” he said.
Furthermore, he stressed out serious threats on environment heroes such as Salim Kancil, local communities, indigenous people and other land owners in developing regions. Conflicts will continue to happen if there are no proper social approaches to solve them.
“Law enforcement must be fair. Not only sharp for the bottom but dull for the top. Law enforcement process by the directorate needs to involve wider public, such as civil societies, experts, universities, and relevant local communities,” he said.
Reports by Danny Kosasih