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In memory of Dr. Barinem Nubari Kiobel

By John Donovan

It will shortly be five years since Esther Kiobel first sought my help in her fight to hold Shell accountable for complicity in the murder of her husband Dr. Barinem Nubari Kiobel – a member of the “Ogoni 9” executed in Nigeria by the dreaded Abacha regime. Esther correctly anticipated that Shell would succeed in blocking her attempt to use the US courts to seek justice. Shell recruited the UK and Dutch governments to help thwart the US litigation on judicial territoriality grounds. The merits of her claim were never considered. 

It has taken all this time to prepare to launch the same basic claim against Shell in the Dutch courts. This happened on 28 June 2017.

In addition to the Dutch litigation, Esther returned to the US courts seeking access to over 100,000 Shell internal documents assembled by Shell for the original US litigation. Several months ago, a federal judge ruled in her favour, but Shell lawyers appealed the decision and the outcome of the US appeal is awaited. 

Today is the birthday anniversary of Dr. Barinem Nubari Kiobel lovingly remembered every year by Esther. Below is a screenshot of a Facebook posting by Esther earlier today:

Disclosure: The lead claimant Esther Kiobel, Channa Samkalden of the Dutch human rights law firm Prakken d’Oliveira representing the widows, and the acclaimed human rights organisation Amnesty International, have all acknowledged the involvement of John Donovan in bringing *this case. (*See Writ of Summons in English and Dutch served on Shell 28 June 2017 – copy obtained from US Pacer public electronic court records)

Shell blanket denial: Shell’s blanket denial of any responsibility for the ‘Ogoni Nine’ executions and related events/allegations can be read here. The denial does not explain why Shell settled for $15.5 million in June 2009 a case legally and substantively the same.

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