Indonesian court rules president negligent over pollution

Indonesia Air Pollution Lawsuit

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — An Indonesian court ruled Thursday that President Joko Widodo and six other top officials have neglected citizens’ rights to clean air and ordered them to improve the poor air quality in the capital.

A three-judge panel at the Central Jakarta District Court notched a victory for a healthy living environment, siding with 32 residents who filed a lawsuit two years ago against Widodo and the ministers for environment, health and home affairs, as well as the provincial governors of Jakarta, Banten and West Java.

The verdict was initially scheduled for May 20, but had been postponed several times. The judges voted 3-0 in favor of the plaintiffs under the Coalition for the Clean Air Initiative.

Presiding Judge Saifuddin Zuhri ordered the seven officials to tighten national air quality standards so they are “sufficient to protect human health, the environment and ecosystems, including the health of sensitive populations, based on science and technology.”

“They have been negligent in fulfilling the rights of citizens to a good and healthy environment,” said Duta Baskara, a member of the panel. The judges dismissed a part of the lawsuit alleging Widodo violated human rights.

The plaintiffs, who included activists, public figures, motorists and pollution disease victims, did not ask for financial compensation and