August 03, 2022

For the first time after 20 years of legal proceedings, the Washington DC District Court, United States, issued a document to the public revealing the testimonies of victims of alleged human rights violations allegedly committed by the ExxonMobil company in Aceh by hiring a number of Indonesian military personnel.

Judge Royce C. Lambert, Tuesday (02/08), issued an 85-page memorandum of opinion containing the testimonies of the victims.

Most of them rejected the ExxonMobil company's defense of the alleged human rights violations against 11 Acehnese.

The law firm Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, representing the plaintiffs, said the decision could pave the way for prosecuting alleged human rights violations by ExxonMobil.

This US company allegedly hired a number of Indonesian military personnel in the early 2000s to provide security guarantees at their natural gas facilities in Aceh.

The trial judge said the plaintiff's eyewitness statements and internal ExxonMobil documents would help the jury find evidence whether the soldiers paid for assault, torture, or committed extrajudicial killings.

Will proceed to court

“We are grateful that the Court was moved by the evidence we presented, including dozens of eyewitnesses, and agreed that this ExxonMobil human rights case should go to court,” said Agnieszka Fryszman, lawyer for the plaintiffs and leader of the team of human rights advocates at law firm Cohen Milstein.

“This case has been going up and down the Supreme Court and tied up in pretrial litigation for more than 20 years. This was a major turning point for our client, who had been stuck for so long in hopes of getting justice. We hope to present our evidence to the jury," Agnieszka said.

ExxonMobil as a defendant in this case has denied all the testimonies presented by the plaintiffs.

Read BBC for the full story. (Select “English” translation.)