Court Rejects Ecuador’s Request to Remove Arbitrators in Chevron Case

Correa Claims Mediators Have Not Acted in “Fair, Impartial” Ways

November 26, 2014

On Friday, November 21, the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague rejected a request filed by the government of Ecuador to remove arbitrators involved in a dispute filed against Chevron, according to a press release from the office of the Attorney General of Ecuador. The South American nation has been involved in a long-standing judicial conflict with the oil company over allegations of pollution in the country’s Amazonian region.

In late October, Ecuador requested the removal of three arbitrators — two British and one Argentinean — because they were “not acting in a fair, impartial, and equitable way.” The Rafael Correa administration has attempted to present evidence that allegedly reveal Chevron’s strategies to hide the environmental damage they claim the company caused.

“This decision does not limit Ecuador’s right to seek annulment of the award or awards to be issued in this proceeding. We expressly reserve these rights,” the press release said.

In Feburary 2011, an Ecuadoran court ordered Chevron to pay a fine of US$18 billion — later reduced to $9.5 billion — in compensation for alleged pollution that resulted from oil extraction. Chevron, has called the Ecuadoran court ruling “fraudulent and illegitimate.”

In 2009, the company initiated an arbitration process against Correa’s government, alleging it was not granted due process of law. Chevron also alleges Ecuadoran state-owned oil company, PetroEcuador, is responsible for the pollution, and that the government of Ecuador should be paying billions in compensation to indigenous groups and peasants.

Chevron also claims Ecuador has violated the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), signed between the United States and Ecuador. The Attorney General’s office dismissed the charge, saying the treaty did not take affect until 1997, and Chevron (then Texaco) ceased its operations in Ecuador in 1990.

Source: El Universo.