News & Updates
July 25, 2014 Washington, D.C.— On July 24, 2014, in a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit dismissed the cases against Chiquita Brands International for human rights violations in Colombia. The Court dismissed the cases for lack of jurisdiction based on the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., which held that claims brought under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) must have a significant connection to the United States. In mechanically applying Kiobel to Plaintiffs´ ATS claims in Chiquita, the Eleventh Circuit panel ignored the major distinctions between the two cases, including that the defendant in Kiobel was a Dutch-British national and all of the relevant conduct took place in Nigeria. Chiquita is a U.S. company that pled guilty in U.S. criminal court for funding a terrorist paramilitary organization in Colombia, and the decisions made by Chiquita that led to the human rights violations against Plaintiffs were made in the U.S. and funded from the U.S. The thousands of Plaintiffs who had family members murdered in Colombia due to Chiquita’s collaboration with terrorist paramilitaries plan to seek further review in the Eleventh Circuit, and if necessary, the Supreme Court.
Press Release 07/25/2014
New report from Pax for Peace investigates the paramilitary violence affecting the coal mining region of Cesar of Colombia and the corporate ties behind it.
Organizations that have traditionally sought relief for victims of human rights and environmental abuses from around the world in U.S. courts through the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) are well suited to play a pivotal role in training human rights lawyers and non-profit organizations abroad. Such organizations would be useful in supporting local efforts to seek relief against U.S. corporations in countries where violations have been originally committed. Leading ATS organizations such as IRAdvocates have the expertise, institutional knowledge, and skills to provide trainings abroad on topics including fact gathering, evidence, and procedure – all of which may be applied to different substantive areas, as well as more discrete cases, in various countries’ legal systems. By building these litigation skillsets, local lawyers can be empowered to hold human rights abusers accountable.