PRESS RELEASE: Court Trial Again Postponed: Jakarta Residents Still Have to Breathe Dirty Air
PRESS RELEASE KOALISI IBUKOTA
For immediate release
Court Trial Again Postponed:
Jakarta Residents Still Have to Breathe Dirty Air
The repeated delays in reading the verdict made the plaintiffs suspect a tough debate among the Panel of Judges about whether to side with a healthy environment or let Jakartans breathe dirty air.
JAKARTA, June 10, 2021 - The Central Jakarta District Court (PN Jakarta Pusat) has again postponed the trial to decide a citizen's lawsuit for Jakarta's air pollution, originally scheduled to be held today, Thursday (10/6). In the trial, which lasted less than five minutes, the Chief Justice of the Panel of Judges, Saifuddin Zuhri, stated that the postponement was due to many materials that needed to be reviewed. As a result, the Panel required more time to study and negotiate its decision.
"I hope you can accept that we have not been able to read the verdict today. Therefore, we agreed to postpone the decision by two weeks (June 24). We are sorry that, with the reasons we conveyed earlier, we have not been able to read the verdict today," said the Chief Justice in the courtroom this morning.
Today's trial was held after the plan to read out the verdict dated May 20 was cancelled, which turned out to be postponed again. Although the postponement of the Jakarta air pollution lawsuit has been carried out several times for several reasons, the successive delays in the planned trial of this decision have raised various questions from the plaintiffs.
Ayu Eza Tiara, Attorney of 32 Plaintiffs, was very surprised and disappointed with the attitude of the Panel of judges examining the case, again delaying the schedule for reading the verdict on the grounds that the judges were not ready.
"The reading of the verdict that takes up to 8 weeks is not something that can be considered reasonable. This delay is clear evidence of the poor time management of the judicial process and the violation of the principle of a fast, simple, and low-cost trial as regulated in Article 2 paragraph 4 of Law No. 48 of 2009 concerning Judicial Powers," said Ayu.
"With the postponement of the plan for reading the verdict, the Panel of Judges indirectly also delays the fulfilment of the people's right to be able to breathe clean air. If we refer to the adage 'justice delayed, justice denied', it could mean that a slow judicial process will certainly not provide justice for the parties. Therefore, we hope that the Panel of Judges will no longer procrastinate in the future so that there is a certainty for justice seekers, especially in the case of the lawsuits of 32 citizens that we have filed since July 4, 2019. We also really hope that the Panel of Judges can grant all the demands of the Plaintiffs," continued Ayu.
Dwi Sawung, Energy and Urban Campaign Manager of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI), said, "The trial process for the Jakarta air pollution lawsuit takes a very long time. The length of the verdict and the repeated delays made us suspect that there would be a tough debate among the Panel of judges about whether to side with a healthy environment or continue to let Jakartans breathe polluted air. However, residents eagerly await the decision of the Panel of Judges to ensure the future of the quality of the air we breathe in Jakarta."
Inayah Wahid, one of the plaintiffs, said, "This delay seems to emphasize that the people's right to clean air is not an important and urgent issue. Whereas as a human being, to breathe is the fundamental basic right."
"It should be noted that this court decision will not only affect the basic rights of the plaintiffs but for all Jakarta residents, including court officials such as the Panel of Judges," said Inayah.
Yuyun Ismawati, one of the plaintiffs, stated "Experts revealed that there were more than 5.5 million cases of diseases related to air pollution in Jakarta in 2010. Furthermore, the estimated burden of medical care costs from cases of non-communicable diseases due to air pollution in 2020 could reach IDR 60.8 trillion. The delay in the lawsuit's decision has an impact on increasing the burden of health costs. A delayed decision will also delay implementing air quality improvement policies, and consequently, health costs will also continue to increase."
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