Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Peru: Remember Monterrico Metals?

Back in 2009, I (and others) blogged repeatedly on the exposure of abuses that had taken place at the mine of Majaz/Rio Blanco, owned by Monterrico Metals (if you're interested, use the search function or the label "Majaz").

The crimes that took place there were not prosecuted in Peru but did become the subject of a civil suit in Britain against the miner brought by Leigh Day solicitors. The case was eventually settled out of court with the exact terms not disclosed.

Now Al Jazeera English has devoted an episode of its People & Power series to the Monterrico Metals story, focusing in particular on the issue of pursuing justice and legal settlements. It makes the basic point that while settlements can bring compensation for the victims, they are an incomplete form of justice as they lack the publicity of a full trial - which is, of course, why companies offer to settle. Notwithstanding their poverty, the victims themselves express a clear preference for justice rather than financial compensation.

The programme also mentions how changes to the English legal aid system make such cases less likely in the future.

This is a really good programme, and you can watch the whole thing here.

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