Jakarta, March 28, 2007: One of the biggest environmental crimes in the world continues in Indonesia because the government’s efforts to stop illegal logging are countered by a weak and corrupt justice system, environmental activists said today.
A recent report released by Telapak and the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) titled “The Thousand Headed Snake” exposes how corruption and collusion at all levels of the justice system takes place, from the police, prosecutors to judges, they conspire to ensure that the main mastermind is behind illegal logging in Indonesia remains free.
Illegal logging has cost Indonesia $ 4 billion or 40 trillion rupiah annually since the beginning of this decade, and has caused forest loss of 2.8 million hectares per year – one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world. Although there are many environmental crimes that occur, successful cases convicted in court can be counted on the fingers.
This report describes how a very large anti-illegal logging operation in Papua Province in March 2005 failed to ensnare high-income barons and their protectors in the police and military. The operation caught 186 suspects, but as of January 2007 only 13 suspects had been secured and no one was the leader of the syndicate. Of the 18 main cases that reached the court, all of the defendants were acquitted.
The report also analyzes the case of police officer Marthen Renouw, accused of corruption and money laundering after a transfer of more than US $ 100,000 (Rp. 1 billion) into his personal account sent by several individuals involved in illegal logging. Although there is a lot of incriminating evidence, Renouw is still free to this day.
M. Yayat Afianto dari Telapak mengatakan:”Pemerintah telah berhasil mencapai beberapa kemajuan dalam upaya memerangi illegal logging, namM. Yayat Afianto from Telapak said: “The government has made some progress in combating illegal logging, but has failed to imprison its main masterminds. Without the deterrent effect, the situation will worsen because the barons realize that nothing can frighten them anymore. ”
Recent Telapak / EIA investigations in Indonesia, Malaysia and China reveal that after a dramatic decline in timber smuggling from Indonesia during 2005, illegal wood coming out of Indonesia increased again. EIA / Telapak have successfully identified the latest routes and smuggling methods such as hiding stolen wood in shipping containers. This latest report also exposes how illegal timber barons such as Abdul Rasyid from Kalimantan and Ali Jambi from Sumatra who gained wealth from timber theft have never been seriously investigated.
Julian Newman from EIA said: “The problem of illegal logging in Indonesia is a clear example of the failure of the justice system in Indonesia. A large-scale crime is occurring – the evidence is very clear in the form of a forest that was destroyed and plundered – and almost no mastermind of this crime has been punished for taking responsibility for his actions. “
Telapak / EIA also revealed how Malaysia and Singapore greatly benefited from forestry crimes in Indonesia. Investigations show the entry of Indonesia’s illegal timber – including ramin and merbau – in significant quantities to Malaysia. Singapore plays an important role as a financial and logistical supporter in the illegal logging syndicate, and is a perfect hiding place for criminals because there is no extradition treaty with Indonesia.
- M. Yayat Afianto, Telapak: +62 811 107080 (mobile) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Julian Newman, EIA: +62 812 9986264 (mobile) Email: email@example.com
- Telapak is an independent environmental NGO based in Bogor. More information at www.kaoemtelapak.org
- EIA is an independent, non-profit environmental NGO based in London and Washington DC. More information at www.eia-international.org
- The Indonesian government estimates losses due to illegal logging to reach 30-45 trillion rupiah a year (US $ 3.7-5.5 billion)
- A recent UN report states that illegal logging occurred in 37 of 41 National Parks in Indonesia.
- Sustainable Forest Operation II has been carried out in Papua Province since March 2005 to stop illegal logging. The operation ended in May 2005 with 186 suspects and around 400,000 cubic meters of logs.
- Information about Abdul Rasyid can be seen in the EIA / Telapak “Above the Law” report (available at www.eia-international.org)
Latar belakang Background on Ali Jambi can be seen in the EIA / Teliting “Profiting from Plunder” report (available at www.eia-international.org)