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Jun 14, 2024 | News

Court sends a powerful message to corporations

In a landmark decision for human rights, an American court found that the banana giant Chiquita was guilty of funding a Colombian group responsible for killing civilians.

A Florida court ordered Chiquita Brands International on Monday to pay $38m to the families of the eight Colombians murdered by the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, which was designated as a terrorist organization.

This was the first time that an American jury held a major US company liable for its complicity in serious abuses of human rights in another country. It was a landmark for justice.

“This verdict sends an important message to corporations around the world: Profiting from human rights violations will not go without punishment,” said Marco Simons. He is general counsel at Earth Rights International, a charity. “These families, who were victimised by armed group and corporations, asserted themselves and won in the judicial system.”

Chiquita acknowledged paying money to AUC but claimed that it was extorted and the payments were made for the protection of employees. The company announced that it would appeal the decision.

Image: Mark Buckawicki

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