Saúl versus RWE - The Case of Huaraz

Huaraz, Palcacocha, Peru

For the first time, a company responsible for climate change faces legal charges in Europe: Today, the Peruvian farmer and mountain guide Saúl Luciano Lliuya is filing a lawsuit against the German utility RWE at the Regional Court in Essen, Germany. The reason: The energy company’s immense emissions threaten his family, his property as well as a large part of his home city of Huaraz.

The "Case of Huaraz" at a glance

  • 24.11.2015: Saúl Luciano Lliuya files the lawsuit, which is classified by the District Court Essen as "a legal matter with fundamental significance".

  • June 2016: In its statement of defence, RWE disputes its own responsibility for climate change induced damage in the Andes and denies that Huaraz even faces a risk of flooding.

  • 24.11.2016: The first oral hearing takes place amid great national and international interest – the decision was adjourned.

  • 15.12.2016: The District Court Essen dismisses the civil lawsuit against RWE.

  • 26.01.2017: Saúl Luciano Lliuya files an appeal before the Higher Regional Court Hamm against the negative ruling of the Regional Court Essen.

  • 13.11.2017: The appeal at the Higher District Court Hamm is scheduled as an oral hearing.

  • 30.11.2017: The Higher Regional Court Hamm announces its decision to enter into the evidentiary stage thereby writing legal history.

  • 25.02.2018 and 14.03.2018: The Higher Regional Court of Hamm clearly rejects two statements of objection filed by RWE’s lawyers against the Court’s Order for the Hearing of Evidence and states once again: climate damages can give rise to corporate liability.

  • Current: Plaintiff and defendant have submitted their proposals for experts to the Higher Regional Court of Hamm and are now waiting for a decision by the Court so that the taking of evidence can finally begin.

Der Fall Huaraz

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Press Release
13 November 2017
Bild: Germanwatch Pressemitteilung

The 5th civil chamber of the Higher District Court Hamm (Germany) wrote legal history today. It gave a clear statement that large emitters like RWE are liable for supporting people in poorer countries affected by climate change. The climate-suit of Saul Luciano Lliuya will therefore enter into the next phase. On 30th November, the court is expected to formally announce its decision to enter into the evidentiary phase. At that point, it will be necessary to provide sufficient evidence in this specific case to prove that RWE must provide a financial contribution as Luciano Lliuya has demanded. The court's argument is of great significance for many people who suffer from climate change impacts.

News
07 November 2017
Justitia
The pursuit of Climate Justice

How can we seek Climate Justice? How can we enforce rights and responsabilities? Find out, get involved.

Press Release
03 November 2017
Bild: Germanwatch Pressemitteilung
On November 13th the fifth Civil Senate of the Higher District Court Hamm will hear the case of the Peruvian mountain guide Saúl Luciano Lliuya against the German utility RWE

On November 13th (Monday) the fifth Civil Senate of the Oberlandesgericht (Higher District Court) of Hamm (Germany) will conduct an oral hearing in the appeal of the Peruvian farmer and mountain guide Saúl Luciano Lliuya. In this climate justice lawsuit, the core question is whether the energy corporation RWE may be held partially responsible for protective measures against climate change in the high Andes in Peru. There, the city of Huaraz is threatened by a flood wave from a glacial lake that has increased in volume as a result of climate change. The Landgericht (District Court) Essen rejected the civil law suit that is – so far - unique in Europe. The question is now whether the higher court will enter into the evidentiary phase which would establish a ground-breaking precedence.

News
17 August 2017
Huaraz, Palcacocha, Peru
Transmedia project about the impacts of climate change in Peru

This is a transmedia project about individuals, communities and organizations facing the impacts of climate change in the Cordillera Blanca in Peru. Next to the climate lawsuit of Saúl Luciano Lliuya, this project shares insights from the 1941 glacier lake outburst flood in Huaraz as well as from the workers living at the camp below the Palcacocha glacier lake.

Publication
04 August 2017
Cover: Huaraz-Seite Lawsuit Factsheet

The dimension of civil law in the Loss & Damage debate. How large greenhouse-gas emmiters can be held liable for the consequences of climate change. The example of the first climate lawsuit against an energy company before German courts. This factsheet presents the case of Saúl Luciano LLiuya against RWE and addresses the question of causality.

Statement SAUL english, 21.03.2015

"I am happy to have become active and it overwhelms me how much interest and support I have received in my country and around the world. This gives me the courage and strength to move forward. Climate change affects all countries in the world. Therefore we have to stand up for justice."

Donation "Saúl versus RWE - The Case of Huaraz"