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Main US banana agency Chiquita Manufacturers ordered to pay $38m to victims of Colombian terror group it funded | US Information

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Banana agency Chiquita Manufacturers has been ordered to pay $38.3m (£30m) to 16 relations of individuals killed by a right-wing paramilitary group it funded throughout Colombia’s lengthy civil conflict.

The choice by a federal jury in Florida marks the primary time the corporate has been discovered liable in any of plenty of related lawsuits pending elsewhere within the US.

It additionally marks a uncommon discovering that blames a personal US firm for human rights abuses in different nations.

“This verdict sends a strong message to firms all over the place: making the most of human rights abuses is not going to go unpunished,” Marco Simons, EarthRights worldwide normal counsel and one plaintiff’s lawyer, stated in a press release.

“These households, victimised by armed teams and firms, asserted their energy and prevailed within the judicial course of.”

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“The state of affairs in Colombia was tragic for thus many,” Chiquita, whose banana operations are primarily based in Florida, stated in a press release after the decision.

“Nevertheless, that doesn’t change our perception that there isn’t a authorized foundation for these claims.”

Based on courtroom paperwork, Chiquita paid the United Self-Protection Forces of Colombia – identified by its Spanish acronym AUC – about $1.7m (£1.3m) between 1997 and 2004.

The AUC is blamed for the killings of hundreds of individuals throughout these years.

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Chiquita has insisted its Colombia subsidiary, Banadex, solely made the funds out of concern that AUC would hurt its workers and operations, in keeping with courtroom information.

Reacting to the ruling on social media, Colombian President Gustavo Petro questioned why the US justice system might “decide” Chiquita financed paramilitary teams, whereas judges in Colombia haven’t dominated towards the corporate.

“The 2016 peace deal… requires the creation of a tribunal that can disclose judicial truths, why do not we’ve one?” Mr Petro posted on X, referencing the 12 months the civil battle ended.

The decision adopted a six-week trial and two days of deliberations.

The EarthRights case was initially filed in July 2007 and was mixed with a number of different lawsuits.

In 2007, Chiquita pleaded responsible to a US legal cost of participating in transactions with a international terrorist organisation – a designation given to the AUC in 2001 – and agreed to pay a $25m (£19.6m) tremendous.

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