MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Newmont Confirmed as Pollution Suspect - Executive Accountability Demanded

Published by MAC on 2004-09-03


Newmont Confirmed as Pollution Suspect - Executive Accountability Demanded

Media release WALHI, JATAM, ICEL, LBH Jakarta, TAPAL

3 September 2004

Jakarta - Indonesian environment and legal community organisations welcomed an announcement by Indonesian Police that US mining company Newmont is their official suspect in the case of the industrial pollution of Buyat Bay with mining waste. However, Indonesian NGOs including the Forum for the Environment, the Center for Environmental Law and the Mining Advocacy Network stress that in this case it is not sufficient to name middle-management company staff as suspects, but rather Newmont Executives because this case involves suspected corporate crime.

"Clause 46 of Law No.23 (1997) states that responsibility for a criminal act commmitted by a corporation falls upon the corporation and/or upon the leaders who committted or comissioned the criminal act. If the corporation is the suspect, then the representative of the company for legal purposes is the chief executive,", said Indro Sugianto of the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL). Therefore, the police identification of a Newmont staffer as suspect must be accompanied by the identification of Newmont Minahasa Raya's Executive Director as a suspect.

"If the Newmont Minahasa Raya's ED is not named as a suspect, we are concerned that this will weaken the police case which argues that an environmental crime has been comitted by Newmont corporation under Clause 46 of Law No.23 (1997). Therefore, firm action towards the Newmont ED must be immediately taken by the government," added Nur Hidayati from the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI).

The Indonesian police must handle this case progressively, remembering that in previous cases of environmental crime, ordinary staff are usually named as suspects even though they are simply carrying out orders from their managers. "Let's hope that in this case, the national police do not repeat the mistake of criminalising junior staff, while the executives who are responsible walk away unpunished", said Siti Maimunah of the Indonesian Mining Advocacy Network.

With the identification of the correct suspect in this case of suspected corporate crime, it is hoped that public faith in the proactivity of Indonesian Police will improve. [ends]

Media contact: Imas Nurhayati (Tel: (+62 21) 794-1672 or (+62 21) 7919-3365)

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