News & Updates
Ten years ago, Chiquita Brands International became the first U.S.-based corporation convicted of violating a U.S. law against funding an international terrorist group—the paramilitary United Self-defense Forces of Colombia (AUC). But punishment for the crime was reserved only for the corporate entity, while the names of the individual company officials who engineered the payments have since remained hidden behind a wall of impunity.
As Colombian authorities now prepare to prosecute business executives for funding groups responsible for major atrocities during Colombia’s decades-old conflict, a new set of Chiquita Papers, made possible through the National Security Archive’s FOIA lawsuit, has for the first time made it possible to know the identities and understand the roles of the individual Chiquita executives who approved and oversaw years of payments to groups responsible for countless human rights violations in Colombia.
A U.S. jury in Washington declined to award damages Thursday in a trial testing claims by the first six of 2,000 Ecuadoran farmers who allege that they were poisoned by an American security contractor in a years-long coca-eradication campaign by the U.S. and Colombian governments.
On Thursday, April 20, 2017 a federal jury returned a verdict in the first of the test trials against DynCorp International, the defense contractor that did the aerial fumigations in Plan Colombia. The International Rights Advocates (IRAdvocates) first filed this case in 2001 on behalf of over 2,000 Ecuadoran farmers who live near the border with Colombia and allege that they had their farms destroyed when the toxic chemicals used by DynCorp to kill coca and poppy plants was also sprayed on their farms. The Ecuadoran farmers also alleged that they received personal injuries and suffered battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
After a 15-year legal battle, a U.S. jury will begin deliberations Wednesday over whether a U.S. security contractor must pay damages to as many as 2,000 Ecuadoran farmers who say they were poisoned by the U.S. and Colombian governments’ years-long, coca-eradication campaign.
Defense contractor DynCorp and plaintiffs suing it for allegedly poisoning farmers in Ecuador with herbicide while trying to eradicate drug crops in Colombia sparred in midtrial briefs filed in Washington, D.C., federal court Sunday over whether the company could be held liable for actions of pilots employed by subcontractors and Colombian police.
On April 3, 2017, International Rights Advocate's trial commenced in Quinteros v. Dyncorp, an historic 15-year old human rights case concerning the harmful effects of Defendant Dyncorp's spraying of our Ecuadoran Plaintiffs and their property in Ecuador, during their efforts to eradicate coca crops as part of Plan Colombia.
On April 3, 2017, after a 15-year struggle with the notorious defense contractor, DynCorp International, International Rights Advocates, together with co-counsel Ted Leopold of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, will go to trial on behalf of more than 2,000 Ecuadoran plaintiffs at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to establish that when DynCorp implemented Plan Colombia, it unlawfully invaded Ecuadoran territory and fumigated thousands of farmers and ruined their farms.
International Rights Advocates (www.iradvocates.org) is a small human rights advocacy group that promotes corporate accountability through legal advocacy. We focus on human rights cases and rely on individual donations and support from foundations to continue our work. After a 15-year struggle with the notorious defense contractor DynCorp International, we are going to trial on April 3, 2017 to establish that when DynCorp was implementing Plan Colombia, it unlawfully invaded Ecuadoran territory and fumigated thousands of farmers there and ruined their farms. We have been in this struggle since we filed the case on September 11, 2001, and to finally bring DynCorp to justice, we need your support.
On March 10, 2017, Judge Wilson issued an Order granting defendants' motion to dismiss.
"Judge Wilson's decision, which states that business conduct such as the provision of unrestricted funds to those committing slavery cannot be illegal, directly contradicts not only international law but also the Ninth Circuit's prior decision in this case. The Ninth Circuit has made clear that knowingly contributing to the enslavement of others for profit is an international crime whether committed by individuals or corporations."
IRA will appeal.
Colombia’s prosecution is set to charge almost 200 companies, including multinationals like Dole and Del Monte, for financing death squads in the banana-growing region of the country, according to Blu Radio. The radio station reported contents of the alleged set of indictments a day after the country’s chief prosecutor announced his office would charge companies for crimes against humanity for their alleged voluntary support for the paramilitary death squads.