The American oil company Unocal has gone on trial in the United States for alleged human rights abuses in Burma.
The trial began Tuesday in Los Angeles, California. It consolidates two civil lawsuits brought on behalf of 15 Burmese villagers who claim they were enslaved to build Unocal's 62-kilometer-long Yadana natural gas pipeline.
They accuse Unocal of failing to intervene as Burmese government soldiers used rape, torture and murder to force people to work on the one-point-two-billion-dollar pipeline in the 1990s.
Lawyers are concealing the plantiff's identities for fear of reprisals by Burma's ruling military.
Unocal denies it had any knowledge or control over the incidents, and says it should not be held responsible.
Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.