Indonesia court finds President, officials negligent in pollution case

JAKARTA: Indonesian President Joko Widodo and several other senior government officials have been found guilty of environmental negligence in a civil lawsuit for failing to tackle chronic air pollution, a Jakarta court ruled yesterday.

The citizen lawsuit was filed in 2019 against Mr Joko, the Ministers of Health, Environment and Home Affairs, as well as other prominent local leaders.

The 32 plaintiffs said the lawsuit was a last-ditch attempt to compel the authorities to take action against severe air pollution in Jakarta and its surroundings, an area that is home to more than 30 million people.

In its verdict, judges at the Central Jakarta District Court said the actions of the five defendants had contravened the law.

The ruling obliges Mr Joko to establish national ambient air quality standards to protect human health, and the Health Minister and Jakarta governor to devise strategies to control air pollution.

Presidential spokesman Fadjroel Rahman said decisions regarding any further action would fall on the Environment Minister.

The Jakarta governor's office said it was reviewing the decision.

It was not immediately clear if the ruling would be appealed. - REUTERS