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10 Jun 2024

EarthRights International, France 24

US jury finds Chiquita liable for financing Colombian paramilitary death squads

"Colombian victims win historic verdict over Chiquita: Banana company liable for financing death squads", 10 June 2024

In a landmark ruling in the fight for human rights, a jury has found banana giant Chiquita Brands International liable for financing the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), a brutal paramilitary death squad. After 17 years of legal proceedings, the first set of victims and their families have finally obtained justice.

The jury’s decision reaffirms what we have long asserted: Chiquita knowingly financed the AUC, a designated terrorist organization, in pursuit of profit, despite the AUC’s egregious human rights abuses. By providing over $1.7 million in illegal funding to the AUC from 1997 to 2004, Chiquita contributed to untold suffering and loss in the Colombian regions of  Urabá and Magdalena, including the brutal murders of innocent civilians. This historic verdict also means some of the victims and families who suffered as a direct result of Chiquita’s actions will finally be compensated.

The victims welcomed this decision as recognition of their suffering and an opportunity for reparation...

This historic ruling marks the first time that an American jury has held a major U.S. corporation liable for complicity in serious human rights abuses in another country, a milestone for justice. 

“This verdict sends a powerful message to corporations everywhere: profiting from human rights abuses will not go unpunished. These families, victimized by armed groups and corporations, asserted their power and prevailed in the judicial process,” said Marco Simons, EarthRights International General Counsel...