Lago Agrio, September 10, 2018– Once the arbitration award regarding the lawsuit that the oil company Chevron pursued against the Ecuadorian State – known as Chevron III – has been made public, members of the UDAPT stated that it is not the first time this Arbitral Tribunal issues rulings that cannot be complied with, in an attempt to stop the trial against Chevron. The Ecuadorian Courts have already ruled in this regard, stating that the highest duty of the State is to guarantee the effective enforcement of the human rights recognized in the Constitution and in international treaties, a duty that goes beyond international trade obligations. For this reason, the new ruling is inapplicable to the Ecuadorian plaintiffs.
Pablo Fajardo, the lawyer for Ecuadorian indigenous people and settlers who won the private trial against the oil company, explained that an arbitral tribunal cannot force a State to violate its constitutional norms, disrespect the separation of powers and jeopardize the constitutional and legal guarantees protecting the human rights of Ecuadorian citizens.
Furthermore, he stated that it is inadmissible for a Court of Arbitration to order a State to annul a verdict ruled in trial between private individuals and which has been ratified by all judicial instances. This ruling clearly undermines the sovereignty of the State and its judicial independence, and above all it puts forward the supposed interests of “investors” over the human rights of the settlers who were affected by decades of deliberate contamination. This is unacceptable for any jurisdiction in the world, as their judicial systems would be simply reduced to lower courts in relation to those of arbitration.