May 15, 2023
Eleven Indonesian villagers from Aceh province have reached a confidential financial settlement with oil giant ExxonMobil.
The villagers have been at the centre of a two-decade long legal battle over alleged human rights abuses.
They say they endured torture, sexual assault, and beatings by Indonesian soldiers contracted by ExxonMobil.
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A trial was scheduled to begin at the end of this month in Washington DC, but has been averted due to the settlement.
The plaintiffs, identified only as Jane and John Doe for their safety, said they were satisfied with the outcome. One of the villagers said that while the victory cannot bring back their loved ones, it represents the justice they fought for over the past two decades.
Agnieszka Fryszman, the lead counsel for the plaintiffs, praised their bravery in taking on one of the world’s largest and most profitable corporations. She expressed satisfaction in securing a measure of justice for the plaintiffs and their families, and highlighted the egregious acts they endured.
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Michel Paradis, a lecturer at Columbia Law School, who was not involved in the case, described the outcome as momentous. “Exxon and its lawyers threw everything they could at them, and they overcame it. That is a testament not simply to their perseverance, but to the justness of their cause.”
“They and their lawyers should take tremendous satisfaction in the fact that they not only succeeded in getting accountability for what was done to them, but that they helped advance a sea change of reform to the way corporations govern themselves that will prevent things like this from happening again.”
The article can be read on BBC.