The Ecuadorean government signaled Monday that it will appeal a decision by the District Court of The Hague that ruled in favor of the Chevron oil company in a long-standing dispute over contamination in the Ecuadorean Amazon.
A panel from the District Court of the Hague in the Netherlands recently ruled that an arbitration tribunal, convened under the authority of the U.S.-Ecuador Bilateral Investment Treaty, did have jurisdiction in the case and affirmed the legitimacy several interim awards favoring the Chevron oil company.
Ecuadorean Attorney General Diego Garcia said the court erred in agreeing with Chevron that Ecuador was bound to the terms of the bilateral investment treaty and its arbitration mechanism.
The investment treaty between Ecuador and the United States came into effect in 1997, a full five years after Chevron ended its operations in the country. By ruling the arbitration tribunal had jurisdiction, the District Court of The Hague is attempting to apply the treaty retroactively.
In 2013, the Ecuadorean Supreme Court affirmed an earlier ruling that found Chevron responsible for environmental contamination in the Ecuadorean Amazon and set the compensation at US$9.5 billion.
Since then, Chevron has said it would not pay and has set out on a deliberate campaign to delegitimize the ruling.
The Hague court agreed with Chevron that the US$9.5 billion ruling was secured fraudulently and was the result of political pressure.
The Ecuadorean state denies the allegation and defends the integrity of its institutions.
The panel chastised Ecuador for not abiding by the interim awards that ordered the state to suspend enforcement of the judgment and later chastised the state for attempting to enforce the judgment in other jurisdictions.
The Ecuadorean state has always maintained that it could not and would not abide by the interim awards issued by the arbitration tribunal, for doing so would “threaten public order” according to the attorney general as it is essentially asking the Ecuadorean state to disavow a ruling by its own judiciary.
The arbitration tribunal has not yet made its final ruling.