A United States tribunal on Tuesday rejected a petition by plaintiffs demanding ex-President Alvaro Uribe testify in the case against Drummond over the coal giant’s role in the assassination of labor unionists.
The United States Court of Appeals rejected the appeal in a short note, without including arguments, ruling that the ex-head of state will not have to give testimony over the alleged ties between U.S. mining company Drummond and paramilitary forces in the controversial and long running case.
The lawsuit against Drummond was put in place in 2009 by 500 family members of victims, who accused the business of maintaining links with paramilitary group AUC in the northern department of Cesar where the company was mining for coal.
Local Drummond employees allegedly ordered the assassination of rural dwellers who chose not to sell their land to make way for the company’s railroad which transported carbon from the land-locked Cesar department to the Caribbean Sea.
The case goes back to 2001, when the AUC paramilitary group, allegedly with the support of the mining company, killed the president and vice-president of Drummond’s workers’ union.
Uribe has regularly been called upon to testify in the case, but a federal judge ruled to uphold his immunity as ex-head of state in 2011.
Last year a former paramilitary testified before a U.S. court that Drummond had paid paramilitaries $1.5M to carry out assassinations of union leaders.