A Washington D.C. federal judge decided former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe does not have to testify in the case against coal giant Drummond, Colombian media reported Thursday.
Judge John Bate recognized the immunity Uribe had requested from the U.S. State Department. Therefore it was ruled that he could not be called as a witness in the trial against the coal giant.
In the lawsuit, Claudia Balsero Giraldo, a relative of one of the victims killed by the AUC paramilitary group, called Uribe to appear in court to give evidence regarding the links between the AUC and Alabama-based Drummond.
According to the judge, the plaintiffs are seeking “information related to illegal activity” from Uribe. As Uribe is not a defendant in the case, he can not be forced to testify, the judge ruled.
Victims of paramilitary violence accuse Drummond of having paid the AUC between 1999 and 2005, a period during which 116 civilians were killed, in the northern Colombian department of Cesar where the coal giant operates. According to the victims, Uribe has knowledge about the alleged relations between the coal company and the paramilitaries.