Prestigious international legal experts are demanding that the United Nations step in and end efforts by a secretive arbitration panel of private attorneys, with close ties to Chevron, to block enforcement of the $18 billion judgment against the oil giant.
Read this recent post on The Chevron Pit and by the Rainforest Action Network for details.
Calling the panel's actions a "travesty" and "misuse" of power, the letters reflect growing international support for the Ecuadorians who fought the company for 18 years to obtain the judgment, which will ensure a cleanup of the toxic brew Chevron left in the soil and water in the rainforest and will provide health care and clean drinking water for the residents. Chevron, who has refused to pay the judgment, sold all its assets in Ecuador, requiring the Ecuadorians to enforce the judgment in other countries where Chevron has assets.
While the Ecuadorians do not believe that a legitimate court will recognize the panel's recent rulings, they are outraged that Chevron is being allowed to try and stop enforcement of the judgment in what they refer to as a "kangaroo court."
Below are excerpts from the letters and links to them.
Letter from the Andean Commission of Jurists to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
"These communities recently obtained a legitimate and valid judgment in the court system of Ecuador that was chosen by Chevron as the venue for the litigation. Despite its previous stipulations to United States federal courts that it would respect any judgment from Ecuador, Chevron continues to use questionable litigation tactics to deny those injured any forum to seek justice and compensation for their injuries. The latest such tactic is the misuse by Chevron of ... an arbitration... to force Ecuador's government to violate international law and quash the human rights of its own citizens by essentially nullifying the result of their case after almost two decades of litigation."
The Andean Commission, which has consulting status with the United Nations, is one of the leading human rights organizations in South America. Its board members include Diego Garcia-Sayan, the former Chief Justice of the Inter-American Human Rights Court; renowned investor-state arbitrator Pedro Nikken; and other distinguished jurists from Colombia, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.
Letter from five prestigious international jurists to Renaud Sorieul, the Secretary of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law
"Allowing (arbitration) panels to determine recognition and enforcement issues in private litigation transforms them into venues of final appeal in a way that was never intended and offends the inherent trustworthiness of legal systems around the world to determine matters for themselves....(Treaty) panel awards ordering States to interfere in private judicial proceedings between different parties is a direct violation of well settled principles of sovereignty and, in this particular case, human rights under international law."
Letter from distinguished international law jurist Jose Daniel Amado to U.N. Secretary General Ki-moon
"Chevron has constructed what appears to be a calculated plan to manipulate a commercial investment dispute system to evade the outcome of a private litigation....(the panel) makes a travesty of the bilateral commercial treaty system...(and its rulings represent an) "illegal expansion of arbitral powers with wide-ranging implications for well-settled principles of international law, including fundamental human rights and state sovereignty."
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