Source: MiningWatch Canada
Canadian and US organizations are calling a British Columbia judge’s refusal to hear a lawsuit against Tahoe Resources over violence at its Guatemala mine site wilfully blind to the gravity of the case and the obstacles faced by the victims in bringing a transnational corporation to justice.
On Monday, November 9th, the BC Supreme Court declined jurisdiction over a civil lawsuit that seven Guatemalan men filed in June 2014 against BC-registered mining company Tahoe Resources for negligence and battery.
Six Guatemalan farmers and one student brought the suit against the company after being shot and injured by the company’s private security during a peaceful demonstration outside the Escobal silver mine in southeastern Guatemala on April 27th, 2013. Daily protests were taking place in response to the Guatemalan government’s approval of the company’s final mine permit and dismissal, without consideration, of over 250 complaints based on local concerns over water contamination and health harms.
British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Laura Gerow ruled the case should be heard in Guatemala, focusing heavily on the procedural costs and inconvenience of bringing the suit in Canada. Justice Gerow’s ruling ignored evidence presented to the court about Tahoe Resources’ quasi-military security strategy at its mine site, which was developed well before April 2013 and involved contracts with groups specialized in counterinsurgency techniques.