Police Conceal Forest Fire Cases

Monday, 15 August 2016 , 12:00:00 WIB - Law

Police officers assisted by firemen tried to extinguish the fire that burned the bushes on a peatland at Kualu Village, Kampar, Riau, Sunday (14/8). (ANTARA)

JAKARTA, GRES.NEWS - The South Jakarta State Court has upheld a verdict that punishes PT National Sago Prima (PT NSP) for burning a forest in Riau. The verdict should be capable of transforming law enforcement on the similar cases in Indonesia. Law enforcers, particularly Prosecutor's Office and the police, have to review the legal process of forest fire cases, including the cases that are currently under investigation, or the cases that have its investigation stopped due to the issuance of SP3 (a letter of order to stop an investigation).

The process of law enforcement, especially legal processes in criminal cases, on forest fire cases is considered not transparent. Law enforcers are considered concealing the currently proceeding legal processes.

Riau Regional Police has stopped their investigation on 15 companies that are suspected of burning land and forest. Their action proves that legal processes on forest fire cases are not transparent. Besides that, according to the information gathered by gres.news, the Police Criminal Investigation Agency's (Bareskrim) Directorate of General Crimes are currently investigating three companies that are suspected to be involved in forest fire cases. The police have issued a letter of order to start an investigation (SPDP) on the three companies, and it has been received by the Attorney General's Office (AGO). However, the public doesn't have much access to know more about the legal processes.

Overall, in 2015, the AGO has received 51 letters of order to start an investigation (SPDP) on forest fire cases from the police. Three SPDPs were from the Bareskrim, 10 SPDPs were from Central Kalimantan, 13 SPDPs were from West Kalimantan Regional Police, two SPDPs were from East Kalimantan Regional Police, 15 SPDPs were from South Sumatera Regional Police, and eight SPDPs were from Jambi Regional Police.

Meanwhile, the police claim that the law enforcement in forest fire cases is proceeding well. There are even fewer cases in 2016 compared to the cases in 2015.

In 2016, the police have handled 105 reports of forest fire cases from across Indonesia. 42 of them are being investigated, there are 13 cases in the first stage. 43 forest fire cases are declared complete by the AGO and three cases have its investigation stopped.

"There are 134 suspects in total, all of them are individuals," said the police spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Agus Rianto, some time ago.

Last year, the police handled 275 forest fire cases, and they named 166 suspects, and 28 cases have its investigation stopped.

NOT PROGRESSING - Despite this, the police's claim that says they have investigated dozens of forest fire cases is not something to proud of. The law enforcement on forest fire cases is still questionable.

The Executive Director of Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) in Riau, Riko Kurniawan, noted that 18 companies were named as suspects in forest fire cases in 2013. However, there were only two cases that were brought to trial. In 2014, 12 companies were named as suspects in forest fire cases. However, there were only three cases that were brought to trial.

Besides that, there is a company that has been named as a suspect four times in a row. However, the law is still incapable of touching the company. In 2015, numerous forest fire cases are still investigated by the police, some of the investigations were even stopped.

However, the police refused to be blamed for being not transparent. According to Agus, they have handled forest fire cases based on the existing evidence. Besides that, they have involved experts in investigating the forest fire cases that are handled by Riau Regional Police (Polda).

In Riau, the police have only handled 18 reports on forest fire cases. Two cases have been brought to trial, one case is under investigation, and 15 cases that involve corporates have its investigation stopped.