From Steven Donziger on behalf of the Amazon communities
Amazon Defense Coalition
4 September 2009 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Karen Hinton at +1.703.798.3109
The judge's decision to recuse himself clears the path for the legal proceedings to continue uninterrupted. This appears to have been done by the judge to disrupt Chevron's intention to further delay a litigation that has lasted 16 years. The judge's action once again validates the effective functioning of the Ecuadorian legal system — a system that Chevron chose as the best forum to hear the lawsuit.
We again call on competent authorities in Ecuador and the United States to investigate any role Chevron and its officials might have played to script a bribery scheme for purposes of extracting an advantage in a private litigation.
The recusal does not change the overwhelming evidence against Chevron in the underlying case. The evidence in that case demonstrates clearly Chevron's responsibility for wrecking the rainforest, decimating indigenous groups, and putting thousands of Ecuadorian citizens at grave risk.
NOTE: Chevron’s main defense is that a 1995 remediation agreement, signed with the government of Ecuador two years after the lawsuit was filed in the US in 1993, releases the company from all responsibility for the contamination. However, the agreement specifically carves out individual, third-party claims in the agreement. Chevron was not released from lawsuits such as the Aguinda vs Chevron case. Also, evidence in the Ecuadorian trial has found that the oil wells and pits that Texaco claimed to have cleaned in the remediation agreement test today at extremely high and illegal levels of toxic contamination. The plaintiffs maintain that the remediation agreement was a sham. Two Chevron lawyers, who worked for Texaco at the time, and seven former Ecuadorian officials have been indicted for fraud.