Wall St Journal | Jan. 3, 2014
Tribunal pushes back Ecuador, Chevron hearing
Arbitration Tribunal Calls on Both Parties to Meet Jan. 20 in Washington
By MERCEDES ALVARO
QUITO, Ecuador—An international arbitration tribunal in The Hague hearing a claim from Chevron Corp. against Ecuador pushed back a scheduled hearing to Feb. 7 from Jan. 20 and called on both parties to meet in Washington on Jan. 20 instead.
A new schedule on how to proceed in the case is expected to be set out at that meeting.
In 2009, the U.S. company filed an international arbitration claim against Ecuador for allegedly violating its obligations under the United States-Ecuador Bilateral Investment Treaty, other investment agreements and international law, regarding an environmental lawsuit brought by residents of an oil-rich Amazon rain forest area.
Chevron alleges Ecuador failed to provide justice during litigation against the company and says a $9.5 billion judgment against the company is fraudulent.
Ecuador says Chevron is liable for environmental damage done by Texaco, which Chevron acquired in 2001.
Chevron has denied the accusations and has repeatedly said the Ecuadorean ruling is "illegitimate and unenforceable," while representatives of the plaintiffs deny Chevron’s claims and accuse the company of improper conduct.
In a Jan. 2 letter, the tribunal in The Hague said Chevron’s allegations of judicial misconduct in Ecuador are extremely serious and raise various complicated issues. The Tribunal also said it wants to ensure that all respondents’ defenses to the allegations can be fairly prepared and presented.
The Ecuadoreans who sued Chevron are attempting to collect the judgment in courts in Canada, Brazil and Argentina.
Last month Chevron filed a request before the Ecuador’s Constitutional Court to annul the ruling against it, alleging "multiple violations against due process owed the company and other constitutionally guaranteed rights."
The Constitutional Court will decide if it will accept the appeal.
Write to Mercedes Alvaro at email@example.com