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Portrait of an Environmental Case in the Jayapura District Court: Light Punishment, No Deterrent Effect?

Two boxes containing 220 birds of various types in a state of death. There are preserved mice. Small cuscus, skins of mammals, to reptiles, are all preserved. Hundreds of these preserved animals will be sent to Siska from PT Papua Diving. After investigation, the preserved animals belonged to Wild Jr. Michael Jon, an American who has worked as an evangelist in Puncak Jaya for 15 years. Jon bought these preserved animals from residents. The disclosure of this case was in 2018. Jon was also in legal proceedings at the Jayapura District Court. On December 17, 2022, the judge ordered a 10-month sentence, a fine of IDR 50 million, a subsidiary of three months.

Jon’s case is only one of dozens of environmental cases that have been filed at the Jayapura District Court. During 2018-2022, illegal timber and animal smuggling were the most common environmental cases being tried at the Jayapura District Court, Papua.

There were 16 cases of illegal logging, followed by 14 cases of catching and trading animals. There are also other problems, such as storage, transportation, illegal oil and gas trading 12 cases, fishing with poison and explosives there are four incidents, and two cases of illegal mining.

The wooden cases, all came from Sarmi and Jayapura Regencies. The most common types of wood are merbau and mixed wood such as matoa and eucalyptus. The Papuan Police, the Jayapura Regional Police, and the Papua Forestry Service, which handle a lot of the harvesting of these logs.

For animals, the authorities found the most cases in Jayapura waters, followed by Sentani Airport, residential houses and shops in Jayapura Regency, Jayapura City and Keerom.

The most protected animals are birds and the most common type is the black-headed red parrot (​​ Lorius lory ). There are also parrot parrots ( Ecletus roratus ), king cockatoos ( Prociger atterimus ), and small cassowaries ( Casuariussp ). Then, the Papua butcher, the yellow-crested cockatoo ( Cacatua sulphure a). Also, the Stellar Lorikeet ( Charmosyna stella ), the Brown Lorikeet (Chalcopsitta duivenbodei ), the Rainbow Lorikeet ( Trichoglossus haematodus ), and the Little Bird of Paradise ( Paradise minor ).

In 2022, there will be many trials of illegal animal trade, at least nine cases. Most of the cases of logging occurred in 2018. In 2019-2021, the trial on timber was relatively quiet.

“In 2022, no more than two,” said Zaka Talpatty, Public Relations of the Jayapura District Court, recently.

He said that fewer environmental cases were tried in the Jayapura District Court than other cases.

Light punishment?

The legal sentences for environmental cases were relatively light, ranging from one year to two years and many of them were under one year.

Rony Saputra, Director of Law Enforcement at Auriga Nusantara, said that the legal sentences for environmental crimes are so light that it is difficult to have a deterrent effect on the perpetrators.

“How can it provide a deterrent effect for the perpetrators if the demands are far below the threat of the law. The average verdict is six months to a year. Obviously taking the most minimal threat,” he said.

In cases of illegal timber, he said, under the Law on Prevention and Eradication of Forest Destruction, you can be jailed for a minimum of one year and a maximum of five years, a minimum fine of Rp. 500 million and Rp. 2.5 billion.

In the Jayapura District Court, he said, the prosecutor’s demands ranged from 1-2 years, a fine of Rp. 500 million, a subsidiary of 2-6 months. The judge’s verdict, he said, was much lighter, with an average prison sentence of six months to one year, a fine of IDR 500 million, a subsidiary of one month in prison.

The same thing happened in the case of animals. The criminal threat in Law No. 5/1990 against perpetrators of crimes is a maximum of five years and a maximum fine of IDR 100 million. Prosecutors’ demands range from two months to a year in fines of IDR 1 million-IDR 100 million. The judge’s verdict spanned two months to one year in fines of IDR 1 million-IDR 50 million.

“It will not give a deterrent effect for criminals to stop their crimes. Moreover, the results from the trade in protected wildlife are very promising.”

From the list of cases at the Jayapura District Court, said Rony, there were also no corporations that were caught up in the law. In fact, most illegal timber cases are being tried at the Jayapura District Court and are suspected of having a long business chain. The business chain in question includes investors, loggers, transporters, to buyers.

Data from the court, seven out of 16 cases of illegal timber over the five years that were recorded were related to PT Mansinam Global Mandiri (Mansinam).

Daniel Garden, Director Mansinam. Garden was even charged with possessing an illegal wood container that security forces found at Entrop in March 2017. Only a month after the case, Garden was sentenced. in the Jayapura District Court, the authorities found another case related to this company.

“Incarceration of company directors does not guarantee that company violations will stop. On the contrary, this proves that the main master is the company itself. It would be a shame if law enforcers turned a blind eye to this issue,” he said.

“There is minimal enforcement of corporate crime laws that can pursue this illegal timber business chain,” he said. render law enforcement useless.

Adrianus Eryan from the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL) said that organized crime by corporations generally has a higher level of difficulty being exposed than individual crime.

To uncover corporate cases, he said, also requires more human resources, both human, money, manpower and time. It also requires seriousness from law enforcement officials to seriously invest adequate resources.

“Law enforcement is not a useless thing if it is really precise and serious.”

Zaka said that most of the defendants in environmental cases, especially illegal timber, were perpetrators who were arrested on the streets, such as drivers transporting wood. While the owner or the main actor or recipient is not entangled in the law.

“So, if we want to process people like that, should we be punished as severely as possible? So we went awry.”

That’s why, he said, judges often use minimal threats. If the investigation is carried out properly, he is sure, the main perpetrators, can be brought to justice. Judges, he said, used to question this matter to the police during hadith as witnesses in trials.

“Why was this one captured? It’s not them who should be caught.”

However, he said, questions like these were only suggestions because judges could not intervene in the work of the police or investigators of other institutions because the institutions were different.***

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 2011 regulated the certification of environmental judges. The purpose of this certification is to increase the effectiveness of handling environmental cases in court, as part of protecting the environment and fulfilling a sense of justice.

ICEL, said Adrianus, is an institution that encourages the placement of judges with environmental certification in areas where there are many environmental cases, such as in Papua.

In Papua, the number of judges with environmental certification in the jurisdiction of the Jayapura High Court includes all district courts in Tanah Papua, only eight. Three judges at the Jayapura District Court, three at the Sorong District Court and two at the Manokwari District Court.

According to Adrian, illegal timber and animal smuggling in the Jayapura District Court need to be of particular note. It could be a “distinctive” typology of environmental cases in Papua.

“Law enforcers in Papua in particular must learn the competence to investigate these cases with adequate technical knowledge.”

According to Rony, environmental cases at the Jayapura District Court do not fully describe environmental cases on the ground. Because, he said, many cases were not or had not been reported to law enforcement.

There may also be cases reported but the investigation and investigation process has stopped because it is not a crime. It could also, he said, lack of evidence.

Another possibility, he said, was that the investigation case had not been completed and the public prosecutor had returned it to investigators.

“It is very likely that there will be more cases in the field than those being tried in the district court.”

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