Perfil de demanda judicial contra BP por actividades en Colombia
En julio de 2005, un grupo de campesinos colombianos instauraron un proceso en la Corte Suprema de Inglaterra, en contra de la Compañía de Exploración BP (Colombia), al alegar que la construcción de un oleoducto por OCENSA (un consorcio liderado por BP) causó daños ambientales severos a sus tierras. En particular, los campesinos reclamaban que el oleoducto interfería con fuentes vitales de agua causando erosión, daños en cultivos, y estanques piscícolas sin agua. Además, alegaban que BP, aunque no estuviera de manera directa involucrada, se beneficiaba de las actividades de paramilitares contratados para cuidar el oleoducto. Los campesinos argumentaron que los paramilitares intimidaban a la población local, obstruían la agricultura y reprimían la oposición legítima al oleoducto. Los campesinos afirmaban que el efecto combinado de dichos factores significaba la destrucción de su forma de vida llevándolos a la indigencia a ellos y a sus familias. Los campesinos pedían 15 millones de libras esterlinas de indemnización.
BP argumentó que ya había realizado pagos compensatorios a los campesinos y que, en cualquier caso, cualquier demanda en contra de BP debería hacerse en Colombia. Los abogados de los campesinos refutaron diciendo que muchos de los campesinos no habían recibido pagos y que aquellos que sí, no habían recibido pagos adecuados. Muchos campesinos aseguraron que fueron forzados a firmar acuerdos que no entendían. Asimismo, los demandantes argumentaron que era necesario instaurar el proceso en Londres ya que los abogados colombianos que hacían parte del caso fueron hostigados y amenazados.
En junio de 2006, BP y los campesinos se reunieron para mediar en la ciudad de Bogotá. El 22 de julio de 2006, las partes anunciaron que se había logrado un acuerdo. Las partes no hicieron público los términos y las cantidades pagadas. Sin embargo, en un comunicado conjunto anunciaban que BP, sin admitir responsabilidad, había acordado establecer una Fiducia para el Mejoramiento Ambiental y Social que beneficiaría a los campesinos, así como un programa de talleres sobre gestión ambiental y desarrollo de negocios. Según los informes de la prensa, los valores pagados por BP no alcanzaron los 15 millones de libras esterlinas que inicialmente se solicitaban, sino que ascendían a varios millones de libras.
En diciembre de 2008, un campesino colombiano de la región colombiana de Zaragoza-Caceri, presento una demanda judicial contra BP ante la Corte Suprema inglesa, reclamando que sus tierras habían sufrido serios daños en términos ambientales como resultado de la construcción del oleoducto OCENSA. El demandante hace parte de un litigio colectivo y sus demandas representan las de los demás demandantes (el litigio colectivo se generó el 24 de septiembre de 2008). Dicho grupo de personas no era parte del acuerdo hecho en 2006 con BP. El juicio comenzó en Londres en octubre del 2014.
El 27 de julio de 2016, la Corte Suprema de Justicia británica desestimó la demanda, hallando que los demandantes no aportaron pruebas suficientes de que los daños hubieran sido ocasionados por la construcción de un oleoducto por parte de Ocensa.
- Abogados ingleses llevarán caso de oleoducto a Londres, Juan Guillermo Duque, el Colombiano, 30 abril 2013
- Agricultores colombianos demandan a la British Petroleum - BP por negligencia, Prensa Rural, 12 enero 2011
- BP paga a campesinos colombianos, BBC, 24 julio 2006
- BP pays out millions to Colombian Farmers, Robert Verkaik, Independent [UK], 22 Jul 2006
- Farmers 'terrified out of their homes' to sue BP for £15m, Robert Verkaik, Independent [UK], 18 Jun 2005
- 'What use am I to anyone dead?', Jeremy Lennard, Guardian [UK], 18 Dec 2002
- [PDF] BP fails to compensate landowners in Colombia for land taken for the OCENSA pipeline, From Chapter 9 of ‘Some Common Concerns’, by Greg Muttitt & James Marriott, Oct 2002, Excerpted Jun 2003
- BP: BP Colombia
- Leigh, Day & Co. [plaintiffs’ counsel]: Leigh Day return to Colombia to meet more farmers, 18 Mar 2008
- Leigh, Day & Co.: Successful mediation result for Colombian Farmers, 24 Jul 2006
- [PDF] Flores v BP Exploration Company Ltd - Particulars of Claim, 1 Dec 2008
Todos los componentes de esta historia
Autor(a): David Bowden, David Bowden Law (UK)
...Stuart-Smith J dismissed all claims in July 2016...against BP Exploration Company (Colombia) Limited in relation to damage which Colombian farmers claimed they had suffered...The claimants’ cases were funded by means of a ‘no win, no fee’ agreements...The defendant had to pay its own costs on a standard retainer basis...By the time of the November 2016 costs hearing, the Defendant had incurred £34 million in defending these...claims. The claimants’ costs budget was £24million in September 2014...Stuart-Smith J ruled that the defendant could have costs on the indemnity basis...for costs incurred from a date 5 weeks before the liability trial started. The judge’s criticisms...extended to the claimants’ solicitors (Leigh Day)...Overall Stuart-Smith was scathing of the ‘siege mentality’ of the claimants’ legal team which he ruled led to a ‘lack of independence of mind’ which had ‘penetrated the legal team as well’...Leading counsel for the claimants pleaded with the judge at the hearing that an order for indemnity costs would have a chilling effect for similar claimants bringing environmental damage claims against large corporations or for access to justice more generally....
Autor(a): Herbert Smith Freehills – Litigation notes (UK)
[T]he High Court has rejected claims by a group of Colombian Farmers in relation to the construction of the Ocensa pipeline in Colombia during the mid-1990s...Broadly, the claims were that the damage had been caused to the claimants' properties from the Ocensa pipelines' construction...The claims...focussed on the reduction in the economic capacity of the farms...and specific losses, such as loss of cattle...The claims were found to have largely failed on the facts...[T]here was insufficient factual evidence to demonstrate that any harm had occurred by reason of the Ocensa pipeline...[T]he claimants had not applied for permission to appeal...[T]he judge found that in many cases the damages claimed bore a limited relationship with the evidence itself...Further issues existed in relation to expert evidence...
Autor(a): Brianna Lee, International Business Times
A group of Colombian farmers this week began legal proceedings against…BP over allegations that an oil pipeline caused serious damage to their land and crops. The case is one of the largest international environmental lawsuits of its kind and marks the first time BP will face a U.K. court for its actions overseas…It’s rare to see a case like this litigated in the U.K., analysts say. “The avenues for extraterritorial claims for victims of alleged human rights abuses have been shrinking, both in Europe and in North America,” said Mauricio Lazala, deputy director of the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, a London-based nonprofit organization that monitors human rights in businesses around the world.
- También se encuentra en: BP lawsuit (re Colombia) Colombian farmers sue BP in the UK over pipeline's alleged impact on environment & livelihoods
- Áreas detalladas: Latest Legal News
- Empresas relacionadas: BP
Autor(a): Leigh Day
One of the largest environmental legal cases in UK legal history begins in London on Wednesday 15th October 2014 as Colombian farmers bring their legal fight against BP to the High Court. The…trial will be the first time BP have faced the UK Courts over their business actions overseas and the first time compensation for environmental damage to privately owned land, caused by a UK oil company, has been litigated in…UK courts. A…judge will be asked to assess whether BP breached agreements with Colombian farmers and were negligent in causing environmental damage to their farmlands due to the construction of the OCENSA oil pipeline across their private properties in the mid 1990s. Lawyers for the 73 mostly subsistence farmers…will argue that the British company Equion Energia…negligently managed the construction of the OCENSA oil pipeline causing serious damage to their land…Some farmers say sedimentation of wells meant they did not have a source of drinking water for some time...The claims will be argued with reference to contractual and extra contractual liability under Colombian law...
Autor(a): Jane Croft, Financial Times (UK)
BP is being sued for environmental damage that Colombian farmers allege the oil group caused to their land by building a pipeline. The case, which opens at the High Court this week, is being brought by 73 peasant farmers known as “campesinos”, who are seeking about £18m in compensation from the oil group. They claim that the British company Equion Energia (formerly BP Exploration (Colombia) Limited) negligently managed the construction of the Ocensa oil pipeline in Colombia during the mid-1990s – causing serious damage to their land…The trial is likely to be one of the largest environmental legal cases in recent years…The farmers…allege that the construction of the pipeline caused severe soil erosion, reduced vegetation coverage and blocked up or reduced vital water sources, thereby significantly reducing the productivity of their farms…BP said in a statement it was confident in its legal position and was defending the case vigorously. “The Ocensa pipeline project in Colombia involved significant steps being taken at the time of construction to engage with local communities, make appropriate compensation payments and ensure that the land the pipeline traversed suffered no material damage,” it said...[Also refers to Shell]
- También se encuentra en: BP lawsuit (re Colombia) Colombian farmers sue BP in the UK over pipeline's alleged impact on environment & livelihoods Shell lawsuit (re oil spills & Bodo community in Nigeria) Mostrar másMostrar menos
- Empresas relacionadas: Shell
Autor(a): Leigh Day
…73 Colombian farmers…are alleging that the British company Equion Energia (formerly BP Exploration (Colombia) Limited, or BPXC) negligently managed the construction of the OCENSA oil pipeline in the mid 1990s which caused serious damage to their land…In 2010 BPXC changed its name to Equion after BP sold off its shares in BPXC…The farmers’ claims will be heard in the UK’s Technology and Construction Court starting on 7th October 2014…The Claimant farmers are expected to give evidence in London or from Colombia…They allege that BPXC played a central role in the design, implementation and management of the project and the construction process…These claims involving compensation for environmental damage caused by a UK oil company to privately owned land outside the UK are probably the first of this kind to be litigated in the UK courts…
- También se encuentra en: BP lawsuit (re Colombia)
Autor(a): Compiled by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Welcome to the 9th issue of the Corporate Legal Accountability Quarterly Bulletin. To assist all those following corporate legal accountability issues, we send this bulletin to highlight key developments, new cases profiled on our site, updates to existing profiles, and other news. Our Corporate Legal Accountability Portal is an online information hub providing resources for non-lawyers as well as lawyers – including victims, advocates, NGOs, businesspeople, lawyers bringing lawsuits against companies and lawyers defending companies. The portal provides impartial, concise information about lawsuits against companies in which human rights abuses are alleged – its aim is to demystify these lawsuits. Each case profile includes materials from both the plaintiffs and defendants, to the extent they are available.[Refers to adidas, Agua Mineral Chusmiza, Alstom, Areva, BASF, BP, CACI, Chevron, Chiquita, Drummond, DynCorp, ExxonMobil, HudBay Minerals, Monterrico Metals (part of Zijin), Rio Tinto, Shell, Tate & Lyle, Texaco (part of Chevron), Titan (now L-3), Vedanta Resources, Veolia Transport (part of Veolia Environnement)]
- También se encuentra en: Abu Ghraib lawsuits against CACI, Titan (now L-3) adidas lawsuit (re University of Wisconsin) Agua Mineral Chusmiza lawsuit (re Chile) Areva lawsuit (re discrimination in Niger) BP lawsuit (re Colombia) Chiquita lawsuits (re Colombia) Corporate Legal Accountability Quarterly Bulletin – Issue 9, June 2013 Drummond lawsuits (re Colombia) DynCorp lawsuits (re Colombia & Ecuador) ExxonMobil lawsuit (re Aceh) Hudbay Minerals lawsuits (re Guatemala) Koh Kong sugar plantation lawsuits (re Cambodia) Monterrico Metals lawsuit (re Peru) Shell lawsuit (re Nigeria - Kiobel & Wiwa) Shell/BASF lawsuit (re Brazil) Texaco/Chevron lawsuits (re Ecuador) Vedanta Resources lawsuit (re Dongria Kondh in Orissa) Veolia & Alstom lawsuit (re Jerusalem rail project) Mostrar másMostrar menos
- Áreas detalladas: Corporate Legal Accountability Quarterly Bulletins Latest Legal News Latest news on conflict & peace Latest news on freedom of association
- Empresas relacionadas: adidas Alstom American Sugar Refining BASF BP CACI Chevron Chiquita Drummond DynCorp ExxonMobil Hudbay Minerals Monterrico Metals (part of Zijin) Orano (formerly Areva) Rio Tinto Shell Tate & Lyle Tate & Lyle Sugars (part of American Sugar Refining) Texaco (part of Chevron) Vedanta Resources Veolia (formerly Vivendi) Veolia Transport (part of Veolia Environnement) Zijin
Autor(a): Richard Meeran, Leigh Day, in The Guardian [UK]
The government's proposed changes to the civil litigation costs regime, which will severely restrict access to justice for many vulnerable individuals, have so far passed relatively unnoticed. However, those adversely affected will include victims of UK multinational human rights violations in developing countries…Two aspects of the government's proposals…will dramatically impact on claimant lawyers' ability and enthusiasm to litigate in future: First, that defendants should only pay claimants' legal costs if "proportionate" to the compensation…these cases…are intrinsically complex. Moreover as so much is at stake, the multinationals instruct top City law firms to defend them to the hilt. Consequently, legal costs invariably substantially exceed compensation…Secondly, claimant lawyers' success fees will not be recoverable from defendants and would instead need to be deducted from claimants' compensation…The result – that claimants' lawyers can recover legal costs only up to the level of damages without success fees – will make these multinational cases financially unviable. [refers to Cape, Thor Chemicals, Trafigura, BP, Monterrico Metals (part of Zijin)]
- También se encuentra en: BP lawsuit (re Colombia) Cape/Gencor lawsuits (re So. Africa) Monterrico Metals lawsuit (re Peru) Trafigura lawsuits (re Côte d’Ivoire) UK: Proposed changes to civil litigation funding will restrict access to justice for victims of UK multinational human rights violations, says Richard Meeran of Leigh Day Mostrar másMostrar menos
- Áreas detalladas: Latest Legal News
- Empresas relacionadas: BP Cape PLC Monterrico Metals (part of Zijin) Thor Chemicals Trafigura Beheer Zijin
Autor(a): Corporate Responsibility Coalition
The UK government has recently proposed wide-ranging reforms to the costs regime for civil litigation following a review by Lord Jackson. The…reforms will significantly restrict the ability of claimants and their lawyers to recover legal costs from defendants. They will have particularly devastating consequences for human rights claims against multinational corporations (MNCs)... [in particular:] MNCs will no longer have to pay a success fee in the event that a case against them is successful…MNCs will only have to pay claimants’ basic legal costs insofar as they are ‘proportionate’ to the compensation received…in reality…[this] will mean that wherever the costs of a claim exceed the compensation awarded (which, as explained, is almost inevitable in cases against MNCs), MNCs will have strong grounds for resisting payment of the additional costs, even where they were essential to the success of the case…[and] [i]nstead of MNCs paying the full costs, the reforms propose that a proportion of the costs are instead taken out of claimants’ compensation.
- También se encuentra en: BP lawsuit (re Colombia) Cape/Gencor lawsuits (re So. Africa) Civil society fears UK Gvt. proposals to reform civil litigation funding will restrict ability of lawyers to take on human rights cases against multinationals Monterrico Metals lawsuit (re Peru) Trafigura lawsuits (re Côte d’Ivoire) Mostrar másMostrar menos
- Áreas detalladas: Latest Legal News
- Empresas relacionadas: Monterrico Metals (part of Zijin) Zijin