Reporting on the conflict between the mega mining project Conga and the people of Cajamarca, Peru
The second hearing of the new trial of the Chaupe family – taken to court by Yanacocha, the mining company who wants their land at all costs, will take place tomorrow 12th November 2013 at 11am in Celendin.
Yanacocha, after attempting to terrorize the family into leaving their land, are also trying to intimidate them through the courts. The first trial, the result of which the family were sentenced to 3 years suspended jail sentence, a fine of 200 soles and a deadline of 30 days to leave their land, was annulled in the Superior Court of Justice of Cajamarca due to severe procedural failures (such as not taking into account one of the most important articles of evidence – the Chaupe family`s document of possession).
However Yanacocha persists in following this line of legal harrassment and so a new trial has begun. It has returned to Celendin, the site of the first scandalous trial, however hopefully this time it will be a fair one.
During the first hearing of the new trial, which took place in Celendin on 9th November 2013, Yanacocha reaffirmed it`s desire to persecute and evict the humble peasant family. Not only this, but they wanted to raise the penalty to 4,000 soles per family member on trial.
Yanacocha`s lawyer, during his opening statement, leaked signs of his discrimination as he said that the Chaupe family, because they are `not as educated as us`, resorted to violence as they forced their way onto the land they claim to own. The family`s lawyer, Mirtha Vasquez of GRUFIDES, highlighted the absurdity of this claim – a peasant family made up mostly of minors could force their way past the armed police and security personel of the multinational mining company and set up their home.
During the session the lawyer of Yanacocha and the Prosecutor both aggressively questioned Jaime Chaupe and Maxima Acuña de Chaupe. When Maxima got emotional recounting the times when the police, mining security and engineers came onto their land and severely beat the family, destroyed their shelter and killed their animals, the lawyer of Yanacocha responded with condescending requests for her to calm down.
The Prosecutor – supposedly impartial, sat whispering to Yanacocha`s lawyer and followed up with his own aggressive and deliberately confusing questioning.
The next hearing takes place tomorrow – where most likely they will question Ysidora Chaupe and her husband Ellis. We appeal for your support – be that in person or in spirit, and we hope that, with the eyes of the world upon it, the court will deliver the justice long overdue to the Chaupe family.