Jakarta, Indonesia – Indonesians proceed to carry their breath as they await the end result of a landmark authorized battle over who’s answerable for Jakarta’s soiled air after a panel of judges delayed their determination for the second time in two months.
The citizen lawsuit was filed in 2019 in a bid to carry the Indonesian authorities accountable for air air pollution within the Indonesian capital.
In authorized filings, the 32 plaintiffs listed within the lawsuit additionally requested that officers be compelled to enhance the town’s air high quality – which commonly hits hazardous ranges in accordance with air high quality indexes – via harder rules and sanctions.
The case has been plagued with delays in current months. The plaintiffs had initially been anticipating a verdict on Might 20, earlier than the judges issued a primary postponement till June 10. On Thursday, it was postponed once more – till June 24.
In the course of the listening to on the Central Jakarta District Court docket, Chief Justice Saifuddin Zuhri blamed the big variety of paperwork filed within the case for the delay, telling the court docket that the panel of three judges wanted extra time to learn via all of the authorized literature.
“I hope you possibly can settle for that we aren’t in a position to learn the decision immediately. Subsequently, now we have agreed to postpone the choice for 2 weeks,” he mentioned through the simply greater than three-minute listening to, which was screened to the general public through Zoom attributable to coronavirus protocols.
In a information launch issued by the Clear Air Initiative Coalition, which is made up of the plaintiffs within the citizen lawsuit and their advocacy group, the authorized counsel for the plaintiffs, Ayu Eza Tiara, mentioned that she was shocked and disenchanted.
“A studying of a verdict that takes as much as eight weeks will not be one thing that may be thought-about affordable,” she mentioned. “This delay is evident proof of poor time administration … and a violation of the precept of a quick, easy and low-cost trial.
“If we seek advice from the adage ‘justice delayed, justice denied’… a gradual judicial course of will definitely not present justice for the events. Subsequently, we hope that the panel of judges will not procrastinate sooner or later.”
One of many 32 plaintiffs concerned within the lawsuit, Elisa Sutanudjaja, informed Al Jazeera that the repeated delays solely served to bolster the premise of the case.
“So far as I’m involved, the postponement is additional proof that air air pollution and the local weather disaster should not the principle priorities of the state, and even the judiciary doesn’t take into account poor air high quality an pressing problem,” she mentioned.
The case has been controversial because it was filed in 2019, partly as a result of the defendants embody Indonesia’s president, the minister of surroundings and forestry, the minister of dwelling affairs, the governor of Jakarta and the governors of Banten and West Java provinces.
The defendants have additionally sought to solid doubt on their accountability for Jakarta’s filthy air, with the governor of Jakarta, Anies Baswedan, even going so far as blaming the plaintiffs themselves for having contributed to the thick smog that commonly cloaks the town.
Istu Prayogi, who beforehand informed Al Jazeera that he was recognized with spots in his lungs and suffered from complications and congestion after residing in Jakarta within the Nineties, mentioned that he felt that the court docket was making the most of authorized loopholes to keep away from making a choice.
“That is the judicial course of that now we have come to count on in Indonesia,” he mentioned. “The panel of judges ought to have been in a position to ship a verdict, however as a result of that they had the choice of suspending it, they used that choice to purchase time.”
Others observing the case puzzled if the panel of three judges had been locked in a authorized deadlock, which might additionally clarify the repeated delays.
Indonesian legislation follows the civil legislation system, and makes use of a mixture of Dutch colonial legislation, customary legislation and trendy Indonesian legislation. There aren’t any juries in Indonesian courts and all verdicts, each in civil and legal instances, are determined by a panel of judges.
“The size of the decision and the repeated delays make us suspect that there’s a powerful debate among the many panel of judges about whether or not to aspect with a wholesome surroundings or proceed to let Jakartans breathe polluted air,” Dwi Sawung, the Power and City Marketing campaign Supervisor of the Indonesian Discussion board for the Setting (WALHI), mentioned in an announcement.
“Nonetheless, residents eagerly await the choice of the panel of judges to make sure the way forward for the standard of the air we breathe in Jakarta.”