A Superior Court judge in Los Angeles has set hearings for next month in a case that charges California-based oil giant Unocal with joint responsibility for human rights abuses linked to its subsidiaries.
Burmese workers now living in the United States accuse Unocal of complicity in acts of slavery, rape and murder allegedly committed during the construction of the company's one point two billion dollar natural gas pipeline in Burma.
The unnamed refugees claim in court documents that two Unocal subsidiaries were aware that the Burmese military was using forced labor and violence during the pipeline's construction in the 1990s.
Unocal's attorneys say the lawsuit is without merit and flies in the face of established case law. The trial itself is scheduled to begin on December 3.
Information for this report is provided by Reuters and AP.