Lago Agrio: Updates in the Second Circuit and the ICC

The Second Circuit has denied the motion of Steven Donziger and the Lago Agrio plaintiffs to have the appeal of Judge Kaplan’s judgment in the RICO case assigned to the same panel of judges who decided the Naranjo case. I covered the motion a couple of weeks ago.

The LAPs have opened a new front in the war by asking the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to open an investigation. I have asked both sides for views on this, as I am no expert in international criminal law. I have to say that it would be very surprising to me if the LAPs’ claims have merit. As I read their papers, they are suggesting that Chevron’s officers are liable for violations of international criminal law not because they were responsible for Texaco’s pollution of the Oriente, but because of the positions Chevron has taken in litigation after 2002 to avoid paying the Ecuadoran judgment. Can conduct in litigation possibly constitute an attack on the population of the Oriente sufficient to make the corporation’s officers criminally liable? Failing to pay a valid judgment may make you a deadbeat, but does it make you an international criminal? But let’s withhold judgment until we hear from people who have more expertise about the jurisprudence of the ICC than I have.

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