Reporting on the conflict between the mega mining project Conga and the people of Cajamarca, Peru
Today, 2nd August 2013, the Superior Court of Justice of Cajamarca ruled that the sentence against the Chaupe family (eviction from their land, 3 years suspended jail sentence and 200 soles fine) in favour of Minera Yanacocha (who wants their land) was null and void.
Grufides, the human rights organisation supporting the family, have released the following statement:
After nearly two years of trial, today at 10 am at the Criminal Division of Cajamarca, the judgment in the “Chaupe” case, the family accused by Minera Yanacocha of illegally occupying their properties in the Conga mining project, was issued.
As recalled, the complaint filed by Minera Yanacocha began in November 2011, the mining company attempted to forcibly evict the family Chaupe of their land located in the vicinity of the Conga mining project (See video of attempted eviction).
Minera Yanacocha argues that these lands are owned and were purchased from the managers of the Sorochuco Community in 1994, however the family has shown with titles of possession and sale contracts that they are the real owners and commoners, and that they have owned the land since the 90s, and have never given their authorization nor conceded to the sale of this land, and who to date still live on the same land.
The complaint was firstly brought to judgement in Celendin, and resulted in the Chaupe family being sentenced as guilty of the crime of theft to the detriment of Minera Yanacocha, ordering not only civil damages to the company but the eviction of the family from their land.
This judgment was appealed and today the Criminal Court not only ruled the previous judgment NULL but that the entire judicial process was conducted against the Chaupe family, containing not only errors of law and fact but for having ignored the consideration of fundamental evidence in the process that was favorable to the family.
This statement not only means recognition that the family was subjected to a mishandled trial, but was unjustly sentenced without sufficient evidence .
It is true that the effect of this statement is to submit the family to a new trial, but this time with different conditions and an impartial judge who is bound to weigh all the evidence that the family have brought and issue a decision within the confines of the law
(to see the original statement in spanish click here)