Arbitrators press Ecuador to halt Chevron case enforcement
* Chevron filed for arbitration in 2009, first ruling in 2011
* Ecuador court found Chevron liable for $19 bln in damages
* Ecuadorean plaintiffs seek enforcement in Canada, Argentina, Brazil
* Ecuadoreans sued over pollution of rain forest in 1993
By Braden Reddall
STANFORD, Calif., Feb 8 (Reuters) - An international tribunal weighing in on Chevron Corp's long-running legal dispute over pollution in Ecuador has found the country in violation of past orders to try to prevent enforcement of a contested $19 billion judgment against the company.
Formed via The Hague's Permanent Court of Arbitration under the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, the panel is hearing a case brought by Chevron to determine whether Ecuador violated a treaty with the United States requiring it to ensure the company gets a fair trial.
The ruling - posted online by Chevron on Friday - comes a year after the tribunal reinforced its 2011 finding on enforcement suspension. The panel will consider all the case's issues next year.
An Ecuadorean court first ruled against Chevron in February 2011. That was a decade after Chevron bought Texaco, and 18 years after Texaco was accused in a New York court of polluting the Ecuadorean rain forest and sickening people there. After Texaco argued for it, the case was moved to Ecuador. Continued...