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A US appeals court has thrown out a lawsuit against Chiquita brought about it by some 4,000 Colombians, related to the banana giant's alleged support of paramilitary forces in country.

Chiquita has previously admitted to paying paramilitary forces, but says it did so as a victim of extortion, and in order to protect its workforce. The Colombian plaintiffs accuse Chiquita of being indirectly responsible for the torture or deaths of their relatives at the hands of these paramilitary forces.

The appeals court in Florida found that the US had no jurisdiction over the cases, which date back to 2007.

'Chiquita has long maintained that these cases do not belong in US courts and that the claims should be dismissed. We are gratified that the US Court of Appeals has now agreed with us,' said Chiquita's Ed Lloyd.

'Chiquita has great sympathy for the Colombians who suffered at the hands of these Colombian armed groups, but the responsibility for the violent crimes committed in that country belongs to the perpetrators, not to the innocent people and companies they extorted,' he added.