OCTOBER 29, 2018
Contact: Terry Collingsworth, Executive Director (202)-543-5811; firstname.lastname@example.org
The Colombian Specialized Criminal Prosecutor’s Office No. 247 conducted an independent investigation across the last year and concluded there was sufficient evidence to formally open a criminal case against Drummond Company Ltd., the American coal giant, for financing the terrorist United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), the umbrella paramilitary group in Colombia. The prosecutor named the Drummond officials who provided funding, logistical support and other assistance to the AUC’s war crimes from 1996 to 2006. IRAdvocates represents over 600 families who had a close relative murdered by AUC death squads directed by Drummond to protect the company’s rail line from guerilla groups. The AUC has admitted that it used scorched-earth tactics and killed anyone “suspected” of being aligned with guerilla groups who happened to wander near Drummond’s facilities.
Drummond has long denied any association with the AUC, and managed to dodge accountability for years by bribing or threatening officials and witnesses in Colombia to keep quiet about the company’s well-known collaboration with the AUC. As part of its aggressive effort to avoid legal responsibility for the vast death and destruction caused by the AUC forces under the company’s direction, Drummond initiated frivolous SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) suits against the lawyers who were attempting to bring Drummond to justice. This is an increasingly common tactic by bad actors to cause public interest lawyers with limited resources to use their own time and money to defend themselves, creating a major distraction from the primary case seeking to hold the company legally liable. Terry Collingsworth, Executive Director of IRAdvocates, along with his associates in various cases against Drummond, has been sued by the company for defamation and RICO.
The Alabama court where Drummond filed these cases has been focused on allegations of discovery violations by Mr. Collingsworth, rather than the credible, and now strongly substantiated allegations of Drummond’s direct funding of war crimes by terrorist groups in Colombia. “Justice is coming,” Mr. Collingsworth stated today. “This is the first step in Drummond officials going to jail, and the company paying substantial reparations to the Colombian victims of Drummond’s war crimes.” Mr. Collingsworth added that he and his colleagues are close to filing a new complaint against Drummond seeking damages for Drummond’s filing of frivolous SLAPP claims against them with the intent to harm their reputational and financial interests.
IRAdvocates is a non-profit legal advocacy group dedicated to seeking creative legal strategies to hold multinational companies accountable for human rights violations in the global economy. For further developments on this and other cases, see www.iradvocates.org.