Center for Constitutional Rights 16 March 2005
FAMILY OF RACHEL CORRIE CHARGES BULLDOZER MANUFACTURER KNOWINGLY SOLD MACHINES USED TO VIOLATE HUMAN RIGHTSMarch 15, 2005, New York, NY — The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and partnering law firms today filed a federal lawsuit against Illinois-based Caterpillar, Inc. on behalf of the parents of Rachel Corrie, the 23-year-old American peace activist and student who was run over and killed by a Caterpillar D9 bulldozer on March 16, 2003.
The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western Federal District of Washington, alleges that Caterpillar, Inc. violated international and state law by providing specially designed bulldozers to Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) that it knew would be used to demolish homes and endanger civilians.
The Corries’ daughter Rachel, a student at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, was there as a volunteer peace activist protesting the demolition of Palestinian homes when she was brutally killed. Much of the world community, including international human rights organizations and the United Nations, has consistently condemned these demolitions as a clear violation of international humanitarian law.
The Corries also filed a tort claim today in Israel against the State of Israel, the Israeli Defense Ministry and the IDF for their role in the death of their daughter. They are represented by Advocate Hussein Abu Hussein.
Rachel’s mother, Cindy Corrie, stated, “As we approach the two-year anniversary of Rachel’s killing, my family and I are still searching for justice. The brutal death of my daughter should never have happened and our family condemns attacks on all civilians. We believe Caterpillar and the IDF must be held accountable for their role in the attack on my daughter Rachel.”
Jennie Green, Senior Attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, stated, “International law clearly provides that corporations can be held accountable for violations of international human rights. Rachel Corrie, a young American killed abroad because Caterpillar purposefully turns a blind eye as to how their products are used, must have access to justice.”
Over the past four years, the IDF has used Caterpillar bulldozers to destroy more than 4,000 Palestinian homes, injuring, killing, or leaving homeless scores of individuals in the process. Rights groups have sent over 50,000 letters to Caterpillar, Inc. executives and CEO Jim Owens, decrying the use of Caterpillar bulldozers to carry out human rights abuses.
Plaintiffs Craig and Cindy Corrie are represented by lawyers from the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Ronald J. Peterson Law Clinic at Seattle University Law School, and the Public Interest Law Group PLLC in Seattle, Washington.