World German court orders suspension of 12,000-year-old Hambach Forest clearance

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The senior administrative court in the western German city of Münster on Friday told energy concern RWE that it must desist from clearing the 12,000-year-old Hambach Forest, pending its verdict on a lawsuit brought by environmental group BUND, the German branch of Friends of the Earth.

An hour later, a second administrative court in Aachen overruled a police ban on an anti-coal rally near the forest due Saturday, ruling in favor of a right-to-assembly appeal brought by another protest organiser, the environmental network Naturfreunde Deutschland [Nature Friends Germany].

The Münster court said documents supporting the BUND lawsuit filled several cartons, making it impossible for it at short notice to decide on legal issues of felling or preserving the 100-hectare (250- acre) forest patch located on RWE property.

RWE had also not adequately proven that clearing the forest was essential for maintaining the energy supply in Germany, the Münster court said in its ruling, which overturned a previous judgement by a lower court in Cologne.

"We cannot presume that we will have a decision in this case within a few weeks," a court spokeswoman said on Friday, adding that proceedings would depend a lot on how the two parties involved acted and whether further evidence had to be gathered.

 
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