Licences, Evidence, Damages, Forests, Land Use, Permits, Jurisdiction, Standing

In this case, the plaintiffs, a group of indigenous people, complained that the defendant had carried out logging activities on their preserved forests without their consent. The defendant objected by saying that he had a timber licence allowing him to cut wood on this parcel of land.

Consequently, the plaintiffs requested the court to cancel the timber licence which was granted to the defendant on the basis that this licence over their land was granted without their consent. The defendant objected by saying that no land rights were registered for this area of the forest.

After studying the question of the plaintiffs’ ownership right over the forest, the court concluded that traditions legitimized the plaintiffs’ claim over the land and granted them a native customary right over the lands. Consequently, their rights over the land have been registered within the map of the Forest Department and no licence can be delivered on the land. However, the Court refused to nullify the Timber licence of the present case because it was already expired.