At the end of June 2018, the Constitutional Court of Ecuador put an end to the Lago Agrio case, confirming the sentence that condemns Chevron to pay the sum of 9,500 million dollars. The money will be used to repair the environmental, social and cultural damage caused by the oil company’s operations in the North-Ecuadorian Amazon. On August 30 of the same year, a private arbitration panel, which has its technical secretariat in The Hague (Netherlands), issued an arbitral award that breaks the schemes and constitutionality of the primacy of human rights over commercial and economic law in the world. In the award, the arbitrators ordered the Ecuadorian government to annul the Lago Agrio case and to implement all mechanisms to prevent those affected from enforcing the judgement outside Ecuador. Finally, it orders the State to pay to Chevron the legal costs and moral damage caused to the oil company by our litigation that has been lasting for more than 25 years. This would be a millionaire fine against the Ecuadorian State, for supposedly having violated the right of investment of the oil company or not having protected its investment, which certainly did not exist when the lawsuit was initiated in Lago Agrio. Who should pay for the violation of human rights of those affected? Who should pay for the hundreds of deaths by cancer? For the indigenous cultures that are in threat of extinction? For the damage to nature?
That arbitral award is unenforceable. There is no legal norm that allows the Ecuadorian state to comply with the arbitration award. In addition, it is unconstitutional, forcing the State to break the separation of functions, nullifies the supremacy of human rights over economic and commercial law.
Any person with minimal knowledge of the law would believe that the State would initiate a very vigorous struggle to defend Ecuador’s sovereignty, its constitutionality and its population. But this is not the case. The Government of Ecuador does the opposite. It is evident that it is complying with the arbitration award, and going against its own constitution and its own population.
On July 18, 2019, we convened a press conference to denounce the government’s position on the Chevron case and the arbitration award. Bearing in mind not only the latest admission of interference to obstruct the execution of the Lago Agrio ruling, but also previous attempts to comply with the award and go against its own justice system, we reaffirm, as UDAPT, that it is time to respond forcefully to the government’s attacks against us.
Willlian Lucitante, coordinator of UDAPT, stressed that, despite the fact that the case has been won in all instances of Ecuadorian justice, those affected continue to be threatened for being violated of rights: for this reason, we cannot allow the national government to interfere in the process by violating human and environmental rights.
Justino Piaguaye, leader of UDAPT and President of the Siekopai nationality, declared that we see with great concern that the government not only has not listened to us and has not respected its own justice system, but that it is even subserviently kneeling before the transnational corporations, trying to comply with the arbitral award that has nothing to do with us as people of the Amazon and plaintiffs.
Cesar Pazmino, leader of UDAPT, expressed that it is clear that the government is at the service of Chevron and has turned its back on the citizens of Ecuador, but that in spite of this we will continue fighting until justice is done.
Humberto Piaguaye, leader of UDAPT, having declared that neither the award nor the current government has the right to interfere in the case, assured that we will continue to seek the environmental, social and cultural reparation that corresponds to us in spite of the lies of the executive.
Donald Moncayo, also leader of UDAPT, firmly affirmed that we cannot accept that a panel of private arbitrators prevents the execution of the sentence of a sovereign country and that economic power is above human rights and nature. For these reasons, he called on the authorities to act in defense of citizens and to provide the reparation of the Amazon and access to justice.
Finally, UDAPT lawyer Pablo Fajardo highlighted the information sent by the State Attorney General, Iñigo Salvador Crespo, to the National Assembly, which affirms the government’s willingness to comply with the award; he insisted on the fact that the Ecuadorian state, instead of defending itself in law and seeking the nullity of the arbitration award, has obstructed the execution of the sentence and has interfered in the action of homologation of the judgment in other countries.
Contacts for the press:
Mirian Ojeda Rojas: +593 6-283 0405 – +593 99 083 4021
Giulio Fabris: +593 99 478 3199