05 Apr 2006
Official Court Document Proves Plaintiffs' Attempt to Obstruct Justice by Misrepresenting Information to the Court
Plaintiff's Own Technical Expert Submits Declaration to Protect Himself from Plaintiffs' Unethical Actions
NUEVA LOJA (April 5, 2006) - During the judicial inspection of Guanta-7 today Chevron highlighted an official court document that clearly demonstrates plaintiffs' attorneys in the trial against Chevron have attempted to obstruct justice by misrepresenting information to the Superior Court of Nueva Loja.
The document (PDF, 84KB) bringing this to light is a declaration to the President of the Court from Dr. Luis Alberto Villacreces Carvajal, a technical expert appointed by the plaintiffs. In the document Dr. Villacreces distances himself from the technical report for Sacha-13 that he submitted to the Court and declares that he should not be held responsible for the use of the information it contains because:
- He was not present at the judicial inspection of Sacha-13, which was instead attended by Edison Camino, another technical expert appointed by the plaintiffs and later fired for unknown reasons.
- Dr. Villacreces never received the official analytical report from the laboratory used by the plaintiffs;
- Nor was a chain of custody provided to him proving the samples taken in the field were properly handled by the plaintiffs' technical team and by laboratory personnel.
- The only information he had regarding the Sacha-13 site was provided to him by the Amazon Defense Front, which is aligned with the plaintiffs and is not an objective or qualified source of scientific data;
The document illustrates how the plaintiffs' attorneys attempted to obstruct justice by requiring their Dr. Villacreces to write a report without the scientific data being properly provided directly to him from an accredited laboratory as required by the chain of custody and as ordered by the court. Only because of Dr. Villacreces' apparent concern for his professional reputation was the plaintiffs' unethical attempt uncovered.
"This is the plaintiffs' attorneys´ latest scandalous attempt to mislead the court, and it fits perfectly within a pattern of unethical actions that raise grave questions about a history of suspicious actions by the plaintiffs' attorneys, their technical experts and their laboratories failing to report data to the court, ignoring judicial orders and obstructing judicial inspections. As these obstructions mount, they comprise a denial of justice and a crass attempt to mislead the Ecuadorian people," said Adolfo Callejas, lead attorney for Chevron.
Callejas went on to cite specific instances of these suspicious activities and disrespect for judicial authority:
- After more than one and a half years, the plaintiffs' expert still has not submitted reports for the judicial inspections of Sacha-6 and Sacha-21, which were the very first sites inspected by the court. They have never responded to a court order requiring them to explain this.
- The plaintiffs' expert has also refused to respond to the questions and demand of proof from the President of the Court explaining why he did not submit reports for those sites.
- Charles Calmbacher, the technical expert appointed by the plaintiffs for Sacha-6 and Sacha-21 was later fired by the plaintiffs for unknown reasons.
- The plaintiffs switched laboratories from Catholic University in Quito to HAVOC in Quito, again for no apparent reason.
- The HAVOC laboratory is not accredited to perform the tests required by the Court. On two consecutive occasions, judicial inspections of the HAVOC lab were obstructed in direct disregard of judicial orders, and a third inspection was blocked by a desperate petition by the plaintiffs' attorneys. The plaintiffs have never explained whether they are attempting to hide something from the court.
- Additionally, Dr. Villacreces declaration illustrates the plaintiffs are unduly pressuring technical experts who are required to report objectively to the Court.
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