The Crowd vs. Chevron Oil Spill in Ecuador

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Chevron Oil Spill in Ecuador

 

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10th July 2018 Press Release UDAPT

ECUADOR CONSTITUTIONAL COURT HAS DENIED THE PROTECTIVE EXTRAORDINARY ACTION REQUESTED BY CHEVRON CORPORATED.

The Constitutional Court of Ecuador has notified the parties of the decision to deny Chevron’s request for protection. This action was aimed at avoiding the payment of the sentence imposed by the Ecuadorian Courts of Justice, and thus evading his legal responsibility for the repair of the contaminated areas.

Yesterday afternoon, by means of a notification sent to the lawyers of the parties, the Constitutional Court officially announced the decision of the plenary session held on 27 June 2018 of this year, which denied the extraordinary action for protection. With this resolution, all the resources available in Ecuador within this judicial process are completed.

In an extensive 151-page document, the Constitutional Court details all the arguments that lead it to “Declare that there is no violation of constitutional rights”; and to, “Deny the extraordinary action for protection brought” by Chevron Corporation, in which it claims that its constitutional rights were violated.

This ruling is a great step towards access to justice, said Willian Lucitante, Executive Coordinator of the Union of People Affected by Texaco (UDAPT), an organization that protects more than 30,000 affected people, and has taken this case to all possible courts.

“After 25 years of struggle, we can finally close this chapter. We are taking firm steps to get justice,” said the UDAPT leader.

According to Lucitante, Chevron now cannot continue to deceive in other jurisdictions where it maintains that the sentence is not enforceable because the trial has not ended in Ecuador. This serves to request that the processes of recognition and execution of the sentence be halted and that the judicial obligation not be made effective, the debt be collected and repairs be carried out on more than 480,000 hectares of rainforest that until now have contained hundreds of toxic substances left by the oil company.

Donald Moncayo, UDAPT’s subordinate and representative of the settler communities affected by the contamination, stressed that it is not just a triumph of the organization, but of hundreds of organizations and millions of citizens around the world who fight to defend life and access justice. He stressed that these twenty-five years have been a time of learning, both for those affected and for thousands of social struggles, which have taken this case as an example to unravel the structures of impunity that shelter transnational corporations and allow them to violate the human rights of the communities where they operate.

Moncayo stated further that: this case not only affects Chevron, but it sets a precedent for prosecuting corporations, which generally commit environmental crimes and crimes against human beings by use of the complicity of the States. It is a victory over the system of corporate injustice and impunity that operates across the globe.

Pablo Fajardo, Common Attorney General of the affected people, stressed that in Ecuador, the judges of the three judicial instances and the magistrates of the Constitutional Court, “fulfilled their duty”, in spite of the immense pressures they experienced. On behalf of the country, Fajardo thanked those judges who did not succumb to blackmail and bribery attempts, which is a common practice of the transnationals, as evidenced in multiple cases that were reported in a timely manner during the course of more than two decades of this trial.

Fajardo recognized that this is not only a triumph for UDAPT or those affected, but is a triumph for all the peoples of the world who fight for access to justice, for a dignified life and for respect for human rights in the face of corporate crimes.  “We have not only defeated Chevron, we have defeated the corporate impunity system in Ecuador”.

He stressed that the Ecuadorian judicial system has been the only one in the world that has known and dealt with the Chevron case in depth. On the basis of sufficient evidence and legal arguments, he has proved those affected to be right in both judicial instances, in the National Court of Justice and now in the Constitutional Court. The “crime committed by the oil company is therefore obvious and proven, and we can no longer talk about alleged damage, let alone fraud”.

Finally, those affected were satisfied with both the ruling and the overall precedent they have set. It was unthinkable, said Willian Lucitante the Coordinator of the UDAPT, that a group of 30,000 indigenous and poor peasant farmers would confront one of the most powerful corporations in the world, “now we have shown that it is possible”, that the power of money has its limits when faced with the dignity of the peoples.  He said, the fight is not over and they will continue to litigate in foreign courts, such as Canada’s, to validate the ruling.

This press release has been issued by

M.E. Garcés, c/o UDAPT, Portete E12-79 y Abascal, Quito, Ecuador, casotexaco@gmail.com