News | 08 May 2019

The Huaraz Case in its fourth year

Further delay in taking evidence worrying in the light of hazardous situation on site

The plaintiff Saúl Luciano Lliuya and his family need a lot of patience in this worldwide-perceived lawsuit. After the court's decision to enter into the evidentiary stage, it had taken a long time until the official experts for the taking of evidence could be determined. This was partly due to objections by RWE‘s lawyers, which were rejected by the court.

Now even more time is needed to realize a recent court-appointed on-site visit to Peru/Huaraz. Unfortunately, there is no interstate legal assistance agreement between Germany and Peru. Therefore, the Higher Regional Court of Hamm has made a request to the State of Peru to be allowed to inspect the premises that are the subject of the lawsuit. This is expected to take approximately one year to process.

Hazardous situation on site worrying

At the same time, the danger in Huaraz has become obvious: On February 5th, an ice avalanche descended into the glacial lake and 4.5 meter high waves were triggered, which the 7 meter high dam was fortunately able to hold.

However, the event shows that the existing dam is insufficient: "Not much was missing and it would have been overflowed. A larger avalanche could easily cause this," says Noah Walker-Crawford, consultant at Germanwatch, describing the situation on site.

More information and a video of the avalanche and the waves it caused can be found on the website of the Peruvian daily El Comercio.

The decision for an on-site visit was connected with the request to the plaintiff to pay a very large amount as a further advance payment for the expert opinions at the court cashier.

The payment has since been made by the Foundation for Sustainability, which had committed itself, at the beginning of the proceedings, to pay for all court and attorneys’ fees as well as the expert opinions.

For the expert activities, further substantial payments will have to be made by the Foundation for Sustainability. It continues to call for donations for the Huaraz Case in order to remain able to pay on time in the future.