Job Offers

Specials more

Top 5 - yesterday

Top 5 - last week

Top 5 - last month

Colombia: Chiquita accused of crimes against humanity

On behalf of the Colombian peace communities, a coalition of human rights organizations - composed by the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School, the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues (FIDH), and the Jose Alvear Restrepo Lawyer's Association (CAJAR) - has asked the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the alleged complicity of the leaders of Chiquita, the world's largest producer and distributor of bananas, in crimes against humanity.

According to a statement from the FIDH, as of May 18, 2017, and even though the company has admitted it paid millions of dollars to paramilitaries, who are guilty of murders, violations, and disappearances of civilians, none of the company's leaders have been prosecuted.

In their petition to the Court, the coalition of organizations used internal documents from Chiquita to demonstrate the involvement of its leaders in the funding of paramilitary activities between 1997 and 2004, payments that continued even after the US Secretary of State for Justice declared them illegal.

The communication to the ICC includes confidential attachments that identify by name fourteen officers and members of the Chiquita board of directors, including some from the National Security Archive of George Washington University, as well as their involvement in the reported crimes.

For many years, Chiquita financed Colombian paramilitary organizations, to guarantee its safety in the banana producing regions. Up until 2003, the company's Colombian branch produced the greatest profits worldwide.

In 2007 Chiquita pleaded guilty in a federal court to funding Colombian paramilitaries. However, the leaders who supervised and authorized the funding system have never been prosecuted.

This request from international NGOs comes at a critical time for the Colombian government, according to the FIDH statement. The country is starting to implement a historic peace agreement, after half a century of armed conflict. The complaint calls on the ICC Prosecutor's Office to closely follow the ongoing proceedings in Colombia and to ensure that they comply with international standards, especially regarding the way in which the country's private sector has supported the paramilitaries, and corporate responsibility.

"During peace processes, economic actors often escape allegations, even when they have committed monstrous acts," said Professor Tyles Gianini, director of the Clinic of International Human Rights Law, at Harvard Law School: "The prosecution of Chiquita's leaders for their payments to the paramilitaries would be a sign that there is no impunity."

Publication date:

Receive the daily newsletter in your email for free | Click here

Other news in this sector:

Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

You are using software which is blocking our advertisements (adblocker).

As we provide the news for free, we are relying on revenues from our banners. So please disable your adblocker and reload the page to continue using this site.

Click here for a guide on disabling your adblocker.