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Awyu Tribe appeal cassation over environmental permit legal battles

Tabloid Jubi - March 15, 2024

Jayapura, Jubi – The indigenous community of the Awyu Tribe has filed a cassation against the decision of the Manado State Administrative High Court which rejected their appeal regarding their lawsuit against the environmental feasibility permit issued by the Papua Department of Investment and One-Stop Service for PT Indo Asiana Lestari.

The cassation was lodged through the Jayapura City State Administrative Court (PTUN Jayapura) on Thursday (14/3/2024). This was conveyed by a member of the Coalition to Save Papua's Customary Forests, acting as legal counsel for the Awyu Tribe, lawyer Emanuel Gobay.

"We have just registered the cassation. This means we have gone through several stages in the PTUN Jayapura, including the appeal, and now the cassation stage," said Gobay.

The permit contested by the Awyu Tribe encompasses plans for a 36,096.4-hectare oil palm plantation in Mandobo District and Fofi District, Boven Digoel Regency, South Papua Province. The Awyu Tribe said the permit was issued without their knowledge.

On November 2, 2023, the panel of judges led by Merna Cinthia along with judges Yusup Klemen and Donny Poja declared the lawsuit legally groundless and dismissed it. On November 22, 2023, the legal counsel for the Awyu Tribe filed an appeal with the Manado State Administrative High Court.

On February 29, 2024, the Manado State Administrative High Court rejected the appeal because the plaintiff's application had expired or exceeded ninety days since the disputed object's decision letter was known. The High Court also stated that the request for suspension of the disputed object's execution was rejected.

Emanuel Gobay stated on Thursday that they had submitted various required documents for the cassation. Gobay criticized the Manado State Administrative High Court for rejecting the appeal of the Awyu Tribe on the grounds of exceeding the time limit. Gobay stated that the appeal memorandum submitted through the PTUN Jayapura was accepted and processed.

"It is strange when the PTUN Jayapura accepts it and the PTTUN Manado rejects it just because of time. I need to emphasize that this does not get into the substance of the case. The question is, why did not the judges of the PTTUN Manado want to get into the substance of the case?" Gobay asked.

According to Gobay, none of the panel of judges of the Manado State Administrative High Court who examined and adjudicated the appeal of the Awyu Tribe were licensed environmental judges. Gobay said the Awyu indigenous community was very disappointed with the High Court's decision.

"After we investigated, it turns out that none of the three judges examining the case were licensed environmental judges. There needs to be an evaluation at the Supreme Court level because of these non-environmental judges examining environmental cases," he said.

Gobay stated that the appeal decision had an impact on the livelihoods of the Awyu Tribe's indigenous community. He hoped that the Supreme Court examining the cassation request of the Awyu Tribe would deliver a fair decision. (*)

Source: https://en.jubi.id/awyu-tribe-appeal-cassation-over-environmental-permit-legal-battles