Quito, November 28, 2018 – Several legislative bodies around the world have sent communications to the Government of Ecuador, in which they call for the greatest effort to nullify the arbitral award in the Chevron III case and thus protect the rights of those affected by the Aguinda vs Chevron case.
Once the result of the arbitration award was known, it became evident that Chevron interfered in Ecuadorian politic, through the Assemblymember Luis Fernando Torres, who introduced a project to reform the General Organic Code of Procedure, a proposal that aimed to include the legal figure of an appeal for review. The text of this proposal was written by a former Chevron lawyer in the country, but due to pressure from various social actors in Ecuador, especially the UDAPT (Union of those Affected by the oil operations of Texaco – now Chevron), the National Assembly was forced to modify the lawdraft which finally the Executive vetoed as unconstitutional.
On November 30, Ecuador will meet the deadline for submitting the request for the annulment of the Arbitration Award against the State, imposed by the Arbitration Tribunal, based on the Investment Protection Treaty which has been signed by the Ecuadorian government and the United States. In this decision, the government is ordered to pay compensation in favor of Chevron and to annul the judgement obtained in favor of the communities affected by the oil company, which was approved in three judicial instances and the Constitutional Court of Ecuador.
Although, once the Arbitral Tribunal’s decision was known, spokespersons for the President of the Republic and the Attorney General’s Office pronounced themselves in favor of presenting the nullity action concerning the award, as inapplicable since it implies a violation of constitutional norms, of Ecuadorian laws; the separation of powers and sovereignty of the State, there has not been any official declaration regarding concrete actions to be adopted on the subject. Uncertainty still persists among the affected comunities by the possible negotiations with the oil company.
Accepting the award would violate the human rights of Ecuadorians, would place trade agreements over national laws and even the treaties that govern human rights worldwide. It would undermine national sovereignty and set a terrible global precedent, in addition to putting in between the capacity of the Ecuadorian government to defend its interests and those of its population.
This award raised worldwide attention. Several declarations and letters have been addressed to the President of the Republic, Lenín Moreno and the State Attorney, Íñigo Salvador. One signed by 36 members belonging to five political groups of the European Parliament, another issued by members of the Spanish Congress, another letter signed by 14 members of the Comissions of International Cooperation for Development and of Foreign Affairs of the Grupo Parlementario Confederal Unidos Podemos En Comú Podem-En Marea ; and another one issued by the Andean Parliament.
The signatories of these letters concur in asking the Ecuadorian authorities to be guarantors of Human Rights and to reject the application of the decision of the arbitration tribunal. On the contrary, there is still a risk that the power of the oil company will force Ecuador, through coercive mechanisms, to discard the judgments, setting a serious precedent against the sovereignty of the State.
“Mr. President, you are well aware that the struggle to implement Human Rights not only requires action by the judiciary, but also needs commitment and coherence on the part of all institutions, as well as effective cooperation at the international level. In this sense, we note with concern that the conviction confirmed by the sentences cited against Chevron has not been executed, and that the countless victims of the corporate crime committed between 1964 and 1990 still have not obtained reparation, either in Ecuador or anywhere else where this company has its headquarters or part of its global value chain,” says one of the letters.
Those who have expressed their support for a sovereign decision of Ecuador in the face of this illegal ruling of the Arbitration Tribunal express their concern, since through these mechanisms it is intended to underpin the impunity of transnational corporations and question both the probity of the Ecuadorian jurisdictional system and the quality of the functioning of democracy in Ecuador.
At the moment, those affected continue with the actions in Canada in order to homologate the sentence, to seize the company’s assets and make effective the collection imposed by the courts.This is what Chevron seeks to avoid with the arbitration award.
Wilian Lucitante, Executive Coordinator of the UDAPT has declared. “It is clear that the eyes of the world are focused on the decisions that the Government of Ecuador might take on this issue. Today, our case is not only the case of the Amazon people, it is the case of the whole country, because we are looking for the repair of the contaminated areas, Moreover, it is also a struggle of the world. Many organizations see us as a referent and are following each action to see if finally the Basic Right, Justice, reason and sovereignty of a people can be imposed upon the power and whim of a company like Chevron, which is one of the largest in the world”.
For the leader of those affected, the writings show that the international community is aware that giving way to the ruling of the arbitral award is illegal and unconstitutional and that its application is under no circumstances justified.
In this context, the leaders of those affected have also asked, through formal requests, to be received by President Lenín Moreno (no response yet). “We are publicly asking President Moreno to receive us, to meet with us, as he has done with representatives of Chevron. It is necessary that the UDAPT and Ecuador know what the position of our representatives is on this very important issue,” said Pablo Fajardo, lawyer for UDAPT.
The deadline is the 30th pf November for the State to present its writings and arguments of nullity before the Dutch Courts. “As UDAPT we are and will be vigilant of these actions. We are not going to allow anyone, let alone our government, to violate our rights and leave us in defenselessness, worse in oblivion. Chevron committed a crime and must pay for it”, concluded Lucitante.
Article 422 of the Ecuadorian Constitution rejects this type of investment arbitration as an affront to national sovereignty, as well as the fact that recourse to this tribunal has been unjust, since it is based on an Investment Protection Treaty between the United States and Ecuador and was declared unconstitutional and denounced by the government in May 2017.
The letters end with full support for those affected by Chevron’s oil operations, who are organized in UDAPTm while the leaders of the litigants announce mobilizations and actions in the next days.
Unión de Afectados y Afectadas por las Operaciones Petroleras de Texaco (UDAPT) Quito Ecuador
Telephone: (593) 2 273533
María Eugenia Garcés: (593) 999225516
Nancy Rodríguez: (593) 999949337