Access to Justice and Corporate Accountability: A Legal Case Study of HudBay in Guatemala
This case study looks at the avenues open for addressing serious allegations of murder, rape and assault brought by indigenous Guatemalans against a Canadian mining company. While first generation law and development reforms have facilitated foreign mining in Guatemala, “second generation” reforms have not yet provided a meaningful way of addressing conflicts arising from the development projects. The judicial mechanisms available in Guatemala are difficult to access and suffer from problems of corruption and intimidation. The corporate social responsibility mechanisms applicable to the mining company cannot provide enforceable orders. Canadian courts have been reluctant to permit law suits against Canadian parent companies. However, in Choc v. HudBay, an Ontario judge has allowed a case to proceed to a full trial on the merits of the case, providing an important, albeit limited, avenue for corporate accountability.