Constitutional Court of the country, which yesterday rejected an extraordinary appeal for protection filed in 2014 by the US oil company.
In a press conference, the plaintiffs claimed that more than 25 years have passed to reach the “historic” day when those affected by Chevron achieved a “triumph”.
The sentence that has been ratified by the Constitutional Court of Ecuador was declared fraudulent by the Court of New York, in March 2014. On Tuesday, a court of appeals in New York has suspended from its exercise for “professional misconduct” the lawyer American Steven Donziger, who represents the Ecuadorian communities that say they are affected by the contamination of the oil company Chevron and that in 2011 won a lawsuit against the firm.
The suspension, ordered on Tuesday by a panel of five judges, stems from a ruling issued by federal judge Lewis Kaplan in favor of Chevron in 2014, when it determined that Donzinger had committed fraudulent acts linked to the ruling that obliged the multinational to pay 8,600 million dollars in Ecuador.
“Today has come a day of joy, not simply for this sentence, but because we know and believe that Chevron has to remedy, repair, all environmental damage done in the Amazon, cultural damage. Only there we can say that we have achieved the final goal, “said Justino Piaguage, president of the siekopai nationality.
On behalf of the affected communities of the Quichua nationality, Guillermo Grefa, thanked the support to the cause of diverse organizations and people, qualified as a “milestone” to the ruling, and requested environmental remediation.
Ramiro Ortiz, on behalf of the Cofán nationality, commented that his parents and grandparents told him what the territory was like before the pollution. “I grew up in a very different world, already contaminated,” he said, indicating that the “struggle” must continue because they now require environmental, social and cultural reparation.
The Constitutional Court of Ecuador, which is the last instance and the highest legal control body of the country, announced yesterday that it dismissed Chevron’s appeal, considering that there has been no violation of the rights of the oil company in the trial for which he was accused of serious environmental and social damage.
“After this and there is no more” and this trial, which has taken 25 years, has come to an end in Ecuador, assured Efe Pablo Fajardo, lawyer of the Union of Affected by Chevron, which brings together the plaintiffs of the Amazon .
The ruling of the Court “means that the judgment of the National Court of Justice is final,” which in 2011 ratified the conviction of the oil company and forced it to pay 9.5 billion dollars that will be used to repair the damage to the forest to her, she said on Tuesday as soon as the Court’s decision was known.
“There is no turning back” and now we can litigate “in any country in the world that we believe advisable” the amount imposed on the oil company, says Fajardo, adding that the plaintiffs currently have a collection process in Canada, where the oil company has assets but where, for now, has held back the plaintiffs based on the ruling of the Court of New York that described the sentence as a product of fraud.
Fajarado also acknowledged that attempts have failed in Brazil and Argentina, also based on the New York ruling.
For his part, Chevron spokesman for Latin America, James Craig, defended the thesis of his company and stressed that the decision of the Constitutional Court is part of an alleged plot to harm the oil company.
The sentence announced “is consistent with the pattern of denial of justice, fraud and corruption against Chevron in Ecuador,” Craig said in a statement released in Quito.
He recalled that there are rulings by courts in the US, Argentina, Brazil, Canada and Gibraltar that, for him, “confirm that the fraudulent Ecuadorian sentence must be unenforceable in any court that respects the rule of law.”
“Chevron will continue to work through international courts to expose and hold accountable the individuals involved in the judicial fraud and extortion against the company in Ecuador,” he said.
For Fajardo, Chevron intends with this type of resources to evade its responsibility in the environmental damage that the plaintiffs attribute to it having left in the extraction zones of crude oil that operated in the Ecuadorian Amazon between 1964 and 1992.
The damage was caused by Texaco, then acquired by Chevron, for which the plaintiffs transfer responsibility to this firm and, since it has no operations in Ecuador, they have sued it in courts in other countries. (I)