Hudbay Minerals lawsuits (re Guatemala)
Para la versión en español de este perfil de las demandas judiciales contra HudBay Minerals por actividades en Guatemala, haga clic acá.
C русской версией описания этого дела можно ознакомиться здесь.
On 28 March 2011 a group of 11 Guatemalan women filed a lawsuit in Superior Court in Ontario, Canada, against Hudbay Minerals and its subsidiary HMI Nickel Inc. The women alleged that the companies were complicit in the gang rapes suffered by the women at the hands of security personnel hired by the defendant companies. The women claim that the gang rapes occurred in January 2007 during forced evictions of members of the Mayan Q’eqchi’ community living in El Estor. The companies’ nickel mining project – the Fenix project – is located in El Estor. Members of this community have challenged the legitimacy of the mining concession granted for the Fenix project. Hudbay Minerals says it will vigorously defend itself against the allegations of rape.
The plaintiffs are part of El Estor’s Mayan Q’eqchi’ community. Most of this community has never accepted the legitimacy of the mining concession and land rights granted by the Guatemalan Government for the Fenix project. The plaintiffs argue that the concession is on their ancestral land and was granted to Hudbay without adequately consulting the Q’eqchi’ community. They have protested the development of the project and opposed the removal and resettlement of their homes and community.
In addition to the March 2011 lawsuit filed against Hudbay Minerals, a lawsuit was filed in September 2010 by the widow of a Q’eqchi community leader, Ich Chamán, who was severely beaten and shot in 2009 during a protest against the Fenix mine. His widow, Angelina Choc, claims that security guards from the Fenix project violently beat and shot Chamán, who was unarmed, and killed him. (Ms. Choc is also a plaintiff in the March 2011 lawsuit described above.) The plaintiff alleged that Hudbay Minerals failed to take adequate precautions to ensure human rights abuses would be not be perpetrated by its security personnel.
On 10 December 2011, another lawsuit was filed against Hudbay Minerals in Canada by a survivor of a shooting incident at the Fenix project. The plaintiff, who became paraplegic as a result, alleges that in September of 2009 he was shot at close range in an unprovoked attack by the chief of security for Hudbay’s Fenix project.
All three lawsuits are ongoing. In February 2013 Hudbay withrew its opposition to having the case heard in Canadian court. On 22 July 2013 the Superior Court of Ontario ruled that the lawsuits can proceed to trial in Canadian court. In late June 2015, the Ontario Court of Justice ordered Hudbay Minerals to disclose internal corporate documentation including information regarding its corporate structure and its control over its subsidiary in Guatemala. In November 2017, 11 guatemalan women travelled to Canada to give testimony as part of the ongoing discovery procedure. On 17 September 2019, the 11 Q’eqchi’ women amended the Statement of Claim to provide further details on the involvement of Skye Resources (now part of Hudbay Minerals) in the violent eviction of their community in January 2007.
On 21 January 2020, the Superior Court of Justice in Ontario ruled in favour of the plaintiff’s in response to Hudbay’s motion to block them from amending their complaint to include further details of rapes committed by the mining security forces.
- "Lawyer touts 'breakthrough' in Hudbay lawsuit", Jeff Gray, Globe & Mail, 25, Feb 2013
- "Shooting Victim Announces Third Human Rights Lawsuit Against Hudbay Minerals", Klippensteins Barristers & Solicitors, Rights Action, 7 Dec 2011
- “Hudbay defends against allegations in gang rape lawsuit”, Canadian Press, 29 Mar 2011
- “Hudbay faces fresh $55m lawsuit from Guatemalan group”, Mining Weekly, 29 Mar 2011
- “Guatemalan widow's lawsuit against Hudbay could be precedent setting”, Matthew Hill, Mining Weekly, 18 Feb 2011
- “Widow files $12M suit against mining company”, CBC News, 2 Dec 2010
- Hudbay: [PDF] Hudbay Responds to Allegations in Statement of Claim, 29 Mar 2011
- Hudbay: The facts: Hudbay's former operations in Guatemala
- Klippensteins, Barriesters & Solicitors [plaintiffs’ counsel]:
- [PDF] Ontario court rules that lawsuits against Hudbay Minerals regarding shootings, murder and gang-rape at its former mine in Guatemala can proceed to trial in Canada, 22 Jul 2013
- Mayan women victims of gang rapes announce lawsuit against Canadian mining company Hudbay Minerals, 28 Mar 2011
- Choc v. Hudbay Minerals Inc. & Caal v. HudBay Minerals Inc. [includes links to legal documents filed by plaintiffs]
- [PDF] Choc v. Hudbay Minerals Inc. - Endorsement, 22 Jul 2013 [Supreme Court of Justice - Ontario]
- [PDF] Caal v Hudbay Minerals Inc. and HMI Nickel Inc. - Statement of Claim, 28 Mar 2011 [filed in Ontario Superior Court of Justice]
- [PDF] Choc v Hudbay Minerals Inc., HMI Nickel Inc. and Compania Guatemalteca de Niquel S.A., 24 Sep 2010 [filed in Ontario Superior Court of Justice]
All components of this story
Canadian court denies Hudbay's request to block Guatemalan plaintiffs from amending lawsuit to include further details of rapes allegedly committed by security personnel
Author: Choc versus Hudbay
"Choc v. HudBay Minerals Inc. & Caal v. HudBay Minerals Inc," Jan 2020
On January 21, 2020, Hudbay Minerals lost its attempt to block the Mayan Q’eqchi’ Plaintiffs from amending their lawsuit to add new details about the assaults and rapes suffered by them in Guatemala, allegedly perpetrated by mine company private security forces, military and police.
In a judgment that found for the Plaintiffs on all points, the Superior Court of Justice confirmed that the Plaintiffs can and are suing Hudbay not only for the rapes committed by the mining company’s security personnel, but also for the rapes committed at the same time by Guatemalan police and military. Read the judgment – Decision re motion to amend pleadings.
Key excerpts from the judgment include:
“Inherent in these allegations is that Skye [the then mine owner, subsequently amalgamated with Hudbay] attempted to influence government officials who were responsible for the police and military in order to have them carry out the very evictions during which the alleged sexual assaults occurred in a country with a corrupt justice system where violence and sexual assault was prevalent.” [para. 37]...
“I am not persuaded that the Plaintiffs would be unable to establish that it was reasonably foreseeable to a party in Skye’s position that by requesting, influencing, funding, participating in and supporting the evictions in a country with a corrupt justice system and a history of sexual assaults during military operations and taking no steps to prevent the violence, the alleged sexual assaults would occur.” [para 60]
Guatemalan women amend complaint in Canadian court based on new information in lawsuit against Hudbay Minerals over alleged rapes
Author: Gabriel Friedman, Financial Post (Canada)
"'They burned everything': Guatemalan women press Hudbay on human rights claims in closely watched case," 17 Sep 2019
Irma Yolanda Choc Cac and Angelica Choc, had travelled from a remote part of eastern Guatemala, to continue pressing legal claims that Hudbay Mineral Inc., one of Canada’s oldest mining companies, bears liability for rape, violence, and other human rights abuses that took palce more than a decade ago when their village was razed to make way for the Fenix nickel mine.
Their lawsuit, originally filed in 2011, ties into a trend of increasing scrutiny of Canadian mining and exploration companies’ overseas activity.
Several of the plaintiffs in the case… describe the trauma-being tied, beaten and gang-raped in front of their children, in excruciating detail while under examination by Hudbay’s lawyers.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers say they have gained new details from documents and emails that Hudbay produced during the litigation to substantiate the alleged human rights abuses. Already, the have filed documents in court that contain new details related to payments made to military and police, as well as arrangements between local police and military. At the hearing, lawyers for Hudbay said they would consider agreeing to allow the plaintiff’s amended complaint, although they may file a new motion challenging whether Ontario is the proper jurisdiction to hear the claims.
Commentary: Victims & survivors of Hudbay Mineral's repression still seeking justice in Guatemalan & Canadian court
Author: Grahame Russell, Upside Down World
"Is justice possible in Canada or Guatemala for Hudbay Minerals mining repression?", 12 Jun 2019
Every now and then there is a human rights, territory and environmental defense struggle that breaks through the thick walls of global corporate wrong-doing and criminality, denial, corruption and impunity. The Hudbay Minerals lawsuits in Canada, and related Mynor Padilla trial in Guatemala, are one such struggle.
The issues at hand - mining-linked repression; collusion with corrupt and repressive business partners, governments, security guards, police and military; widespread impunity - are similar to other cases of corporate wrong-doing and criminality around the world. For a number of reasons, however, these legal cases in Canada and Guatemala are painstakingly overcoming legal, jurisdictional and political obstacles (including on-going repression) and proceeding...
More specifically, these cases are proceeding due to the courage and strength of the 13 Mayan Q’eqchi’ plaintiffs, victims and survivors of the mining repression who are now protagonists in these struggles for justice. These cases are proceeding due to the legal acuity and commitment of lawyers in Canada and Guatemala; and to a trusting work alliance that Rights Action has with the victims-plaintiffs since 2004. Since the civil lawsuits were filed in Canada in 2010, and the criminal trial began in Guatemala in 2015, Rights Action has maintained close working and funding relations with the victims-plaintiffs and their Canadian and Guatemalan lawyers...
Thirteen Q’eqchi’ plaintiffs, suing Hudbay Minerals and CGN (Guatemalan subsidiary company, formerly owned by Hudbay) for mining related repression, will travel to Toronto (11 of them in November 2017; 2 more in early 2018) to be deposed by Hudbay lawyers as part of the precedent-setting Hudbay/CGN lawsuits.
Two of these mining repression victims are also pursuing a parallel but separate criminal trial in Guatemala against Mynor Padilla, former head of security of Hudbay/CGN...
Author: Whitney Eulich & Sara Miller Llana, The Christian Science Monitor
"When mining companies work abroad, should justice follow them home?" 9 April 2019
Canadian mining firms account for 40 percent of large mining operations in Latin America, and there have long been accusations of abuse at their operations on the ground... A decade ago, Canadian courts were reluctant to try these cases domestically, says Ian Binnie, a former Canadian Supreme Court justice... “I think that the judges are becoming more sensitive to the fact that if they refuse jurisdiction in Canada, assuming the head office is here, that these people won’t have any redress and will be left without a remedy..."
... Proceedings against three Canadian companies have been breaking new legal ground... Hudbay Minerals faces three distinct cases... Another case alleges that security personnel at Tahoe Resources, in... Guatemala, opened fire on demonstrations in 2013. The British Columbia Court of Appeal ruled that the case could proceed in Canada, and it is now before the trial court there... A third case involves Nevsun Resources Ltd., which has been sued for alleged complicity in a government subcontractor’s use of forced labor at a mine in Eritrea, worked by conscripts in the repressive country’s national service system. The Supreme Court of Canada is weighing whether Canadian courts should recognize civil claims based on breaches of customary international law, and whether the case can proceed...The Canadian government has responded to pressure for better business conduct abroad by creating a new ombudsman position last January... Many are concerned that the office does not have a sufficient mandate to investigate abuses. “They want what they call joint investigation, so the company has to agree to the investigations,” says Professor Imai, from York University, of mining companies.
- Related stories: Canada creates independent Ombudsperson & multi-stakeholder advisory body to strengthen responsible business conduct abroad Canada Supreme Court hearing on jurisdiction in case against Nevsun over allegations of forced labour at mine in Eritrea Hudbay Minerals lawsuits (re Guatemala) Nevsun lawsuit (re Bisha mine, Eritrea) Tahoe Resources lawsuit (re Guatemala) Show moreShow less
Canada: Guatemalan women give testimony as part of discovery procedure in lawsuit against Hudbay Minerals
Author: Ashifa Kassam, Guardian (UK)
" Guatemalan women take on Canada's mining giants over 'horrific human rights abuses' ", 13 Dec 2017
...The 11 women say they were raped repeatedly by the armed men...The women link the violence to the nearby Fenix mine...and the Guatemalan subsidiary that was overseeing its operations...[and] controlled by Vancouver-based Skye Resources. In 2008, Skye was acquired by Toronto’s Hudbay Minerals...
...A team of Toronto lawyers [filed] civil lawsuits that argue that the Canadian parent company, later acquired by Hudbay, was negligent when it came to monitoring the actions of its Guatemalan subsidiary.
...[I]n 2013...a court in Ontario dismissed an application by Hudbay to throw out the case. The decision marked the first time in Canada that foreign claimants had been granted access to the courts in order to pursue Canadian companies for alleged human rights abuses abroad.
...The Guatemalan women last month travelled to Toronto for the case’s discovery phase, fielding hours of questions from lawyers for the company.
...Hudbay has disputed the allegations...
...The lawsuits against Hudbay are unlikely to reach court for years...But they have already paved the way for similar cases, including a legal challenge that links a Vancouver-based company to allegations of modern slavery.
Guatemala: Court of Appeal overturns lower court ruling & orders retrial of ex-Hudbay security guard accused of killing activist
Author: Colin Perkel, Canadian Press
"Ex-Hudbay Minerals' security guard to be retried for murder in Guatemala", 15 Sep 2017
A former security guard for a Canadian-owned mining company accused of killing an Indigenous activist and leaving another paralyzed will have to face a new murder trial, an appeal court in Guatemala has ruled.
The ruling against Mynor Padilla, who was initially acquitted of murder and aggravated assault in April, comes amid an ongoing landmark lawsuit against Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals in Canada.
Padilla was charged in the 2009 death of Adolfo Ich and in the shooting of German Chub, who was left paralyzed at a Hudbay-owned mine…
Hudbay Minerals spokesman Scott Brubacher said Friday the guilty verdict appeared to have been reversed on procedural grounds, but the appeal court refused a prosecution request to substitute a guilty verdict.
The company has previously expressed its belief that Padilla was innocent. It has also insisted it was being falsely accused of displaying a pattern of human-rights and environmental abuses, and the claims against it were without merit…
Overcoming unequal access to information - frequent barrier to remedy for victims of corporate abuse
Author: Elodie Aba, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
[I]nequality in access to information reinforces the existing imbalance of power between victims and companies, denying to victims information required to file a case or prove their claims. ..[G]ranting access to evidence can rectify the imbalance...[C]ourts should ease access to information wherever a company holds it, following the examples of courts and laws in the US, Canada, and Netherlands. Information sharing and international collaboration between courts is beneficial for all stakeholders because it facilitates resolution of disputes...[In addition,] [s]tronger legislation similar to the US [Foreign Legal Assistance] Statute...would go a long way...
[refers to Chevron, Hudbay Minerals, Shell]
A Guatemalan court today acquitted Mynor Padilla of murdering Guatemalan community leader and indigenous activist Adolfo Ich in 2009, when Padilla was the head of security for a large mine in Guatemala then owned by Canadian company Hudbay Minerals. Padilla was also acquitted of the point blank shooting of another community member German Chub...Ich's wife and others are pursuing a lawsuit against Hudbay Minerals in Canada regarding these incidents..."The Guatemalan legal system is corrupt and seeking justice there is, sadly, hopeless...That's precisely why Angelica's and German's best hope for justice against Hudbay has always been in Canadian courts." In addition to the acquittal, the Guatemalan judge went much farther into unexpected territory by asking for the extreme step that criminal charges be brought against most of those involved in the prosecution of Mynor Padilla...The "not guilty" verdict comes despite damning eyewitness testimony of the murder, and ballistic and forensic evidence...The acquittal of Mynor Padilla has raised fears that the victims and their families may be subject to acts of retaliation and violence for their role in pursuing justice...A Canadian court issued a landmark decision in 2013 allowing the case to proceed against Hudbay in Ontario...
Guatemala: Video testimony from Angelina Choc, widow of assassinated land rights defender who opposed Guatemalan Nickel Co. mine
Author: James Rodríguez, MiMundo.org
“Short Documentary: Choc vs. HudBay”, 6 Apr 17
…Former Guatemalan Army colonel and head of security at the Guatemalan Nickel Company (CGN) [part of Hudbay Minerals] Mynor Padilla is absolved of the murder of Q'eqchi' Mayan anti-mining leader and land rights activist Adolfo Ich Chaman and serious injuries to German Chub Choc (among others). Filmed during the commemorations for the 7th anniversary of Adolfo Ich's murder in September 2016 and featuring Angelica Choc, widow of Ich Chaman…
Guatemala: New criminal investigation on possible role of US-trained army special forces in repression of people opposing Hudbay mine
Author: Grahame Russell, teleSUR
“Are Guatemalan Kaibiles Hired Guns for Canadian Mining?”, 6 Feb 17
…During the country's 36-year civil war and genocide, the U.S.-trained Kaibil special forces committed some of the very worst atrocities and war crimes…A new criminal investigation in Guatemala is investigating whether the country's army and Kaibil special forces worked with Hudbay Minerals and CGN (Guatemalan Nickel Company, then owned by Hudbay) private security guards to mount a military intelligence and population control operation, before, during and after the day (September 27, 2009) of repression against local Mayan Qeqchi communities that resulted in the assassination of Adolfo Ich, the shooting-paralyzing of German Chub, and the wounding of various other community members...The families of Angelica Choc (widow of Adolfo Ich) and German Chub (shot and left paralyzed the day Adolfo Ich was killed) fear they may suffer further repercussions due to their courageous role in this trial…[Mentions Tahoe Resources]