In a press release on August 18, 2013, the final day of the Popular Tribunal on the Extractive Industry Practices in Colombia, the Colombian Redher network published the jury's final verdict. A complete document will be made public soon in order to bring to light the whole of incriminating evidence that supports this popular judgment.
The companies on trial at the Tribunal were generally accused of:
- Promoting mining, energy, environmental and labour legislation that favour their own economic interests, to the detriment of the well-being and development of the country;
- Violating human rights through death threats, and the killing and arbitrary detention of community and social organization leaders;
- Violating minimal standards in place for the protection of the environment, given that the exploitation of natural resources by multinational companies has already greatly damaged different ecosystems in Colombia
- Creating major impacts for ancestral communities that are present on the land where the companies operate, as well as the physical and cultural extermination of these communities (ethnocide).
Some accusations were brought specifically against Canadian oil company Pacific Rubiales Energy:
- Systematic violations of the union right to freedom of association
- The militarisation of the oil fields
- Violation of constitutional rights and practices that go against ethics, collective rights and the environment
- Non-respect of environmental legislation
- Profiting off the lack of state control over the taxation of production
- Causing the deterioration of public resources
In order to highlight the illegitimate way in which multinational companies act along side the Colombian state, the discussion focused on the persecution and criminalization of workers by armed groups - both legal and illegal. These include Colombian military and police forces (particularly the ESMAD, or riot police), and paramilitary groups.
One of the most visible instances of human rights violations by Pacific Rubiales is the case of the Sikuani indigenous people, who live in 'La Campana' territory in the Meta department (province). The group has been affected by the company's activities in the near by oil fields but was never consulted about the extractive project. It should be noted that the contamination of the community's drinking water has produced chronic skin and other illnesses.
Finally, the jury found Pacific Rubiales Energy and its subcontractors in the Meta department guilty for the violation of several human rights:
- Violation of environmental rights
- Violation of the right to freedom of association
- Violation of the right to protest
- Violation of the dignity and right to life of workers and communities due to the instigation of targeted assassinations of indigenous, labour and social leaders.
- Violation of the right to food in over-stepping collective rights to the land and to natural resources
- Violation of the right to political participation, particularly through the non-respect of the principal of prior consultation with indigenous communities
- Violation of cultural, spiritual and ancestral rights in denying the autonomous development of ancestral peoples
- Violation of environmental laws given that the companies' activities are leading to illnesses and are causing irreversible damage to local rivers and other sources of water, as well as the flora and fauna.
Pacific Rubiales Energy was also found guilty of committing financial crimes, such as tax evasion, the non-payment of dividends to the Colombian state, as well as the company's interference in public policy for its own benefit.
The jury also found the Colombia government guilty of ceding vast tracts of collectively-owned land to transnational companies, so that they can exploit public resources all while compromising the security and sovereignty of the country.
The Colombian state was also found guilty for the systematic violation of human rights, like the right to life, health, food, assembly and free circulation, and the right of communities to remain on their land.
The Colombian state was also found guilty of the violation of the rights to water, health, a healthy environment, and to the bodily integrity of indigenous people and campesinos (small farmers). The guilty sentence flowed from the state's organization and reinforcement of paramilitary groups in order to uphold policies aimed at the extraction of natural resources. It was also the result of the impoverishment of large swaths of the population and the violation of international treaties on human and community rights.