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Kiobel Writ: Shell encouraged military offensive against MOSOP

Owens Wiwa, brother of Ken Saro Wiwa, outside Shell headquarters in London

In 1994 the Nigerian regime of Sani Abacha began a large-scale military offensive in Ogoniland to break the population’s resistance to Shell’s activities and to clear the way to a resumption of oil production.

By John Donovan

The numbered paragraphs below are extracted from the 138 page Esther Kiobel Writ served on multiple Royal Dutch Shell companies on 28 June 2017. More information about the latest litigation, this time in the Dutch Courts, is provided after the extracts.

EXTRACTS FROM ESTHER KIOBEL JUNE 2017 WRIT

8.3 Shell facilitated Operation Restore Order in Ogoniland

218. In 1994 the Nigerian regime of Sani Abacha began a large-scale military offensive in Ogoniland to break the population’s resistance to Shell’s activities and to clear the way to a resumption of oil production. Not long after the offensive was announced, the leaders of MOSOP and any other prominent Ogoni were arrested, resulting in the death of the Ogoni 9 in 1995. read more

Kiobel Writ: Shell supported the Abacha army in fake ‘ethnic conflicts’

Between July 1993 and April 1994 hundreds of Ogoni were killed and thousands became homeless as a result of apparent ethnic conflicts between the Andoni, the Okrika and Ndoki and the Ogoni population groups. The biggest attack took place on the Ogoni village of Kaa on 4 and 5 August 1993, when an estimated 35 to 124 villagers died; The regime later proved involved in the attacks itself, with Shell providing a helping hand.

By John Donovan

The numbered paragraphs below are extracted from the 138 page Esther Kiobel Writ served on multiple Royal Dutch Shell companies on 28 June 2017. More information about the latest litigation, this time in the Dutch Courts, is provided after the extracts.

EXTRACTS FROM ESTHER KIOBEL JUNE 2017 WRIT 

8.2.5  Shell supported the army in fake ‘ethnic conflicts’

203. Between July 1993 and April 1994 hundreds of Ogoni were killed and thousands became homeless as a result of apparent ethnic conflicts between the Andoni, the Okrika and Ndoki and the Ogoni population groups. The biggest attack took place on the Ogoni village of Kaa on 4 and 5 August 1993, when an estimated 35 to 124 villagers died; widespread looting also took place and possessions and homes were destroyed.250 Despite repeated requests to this effect from MOSOP to Rufus Ada George and President Abacha, the Nigerian regime did not intervene in this period.251 The regime later proved involved in the attacks itself, with Shell providing a helping hand. read more

Groningen earthquakes: Shell trying everything to deny responsibility

Comment by a Dutch farmer in relation to the article The Abrupt Demise Of Dutch Gas

In this article, I miss the human rights factor, and the fact that governments are in the first place for the safety and protection of property of their inhabitants.

The current situation is that government and SHELL have completely destroyed many hundreds of beautiful historical farms and churches, and 100.000 houses in the area are severely damaged, to be destroyed as well in years to come if the gaz exploitations continues in Groningen.

After all the destruction in the area, the bill is for the home owner. The compensated value is only 95% after their house is damaged many times, and already half the value. read more

Shell’s shocking toxic legacy

ABOUT THE PROJECT

The Niger Delta is Africa’s biggest oil-producing region, and one of the most polluted places on earth. Every year hundreds of oil spills destroy the environment and devastate the lives of communities living there.

Some oil companies operating in the Niger Delta, such as Shell, publish oil spill investigation reports on their websites. But in the past they made false claims regarding the cause and size of oil spills to pay less compensation and avoid properly cleaning up the pollution.

Help Amnesty researchers analyse thousands of these oil spill investigation reports – use your computer or phone and dedicate as little as 30 seconds to verify the cause, location or image of an oil spill.

Your work will help us expose cases of false and misleading information and enable local communities demand proper clean-up and rehabilitation of pollution and environmental damage. read more

Kiobel Writ: SHELL COMPLICITY IN HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

Shell was repeatedly behind excessively violent action by the regime against the Ogoni and other population groups that were protesting against Shell. During the trial Shell was also in direct contact with the Tribunal judges and Shell’s counsel assisted the regime in bribing witnesses.

By John Donovan

The numbered paragraphs below are extracted from the 138 page Esther Kiobel Writ served on multiple Royal Dutch Shell companies on 28 June 2017. More information about the latest litigation, this time in the Dutch Courts, is provided after the extracts.

8. SHELL IS COMPLICIT IN THE HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AGAINST THE OGONI 9 AND THE CLAIMANTS

8.1 Introduction

160. As explained in the previous chapter, under Nigerian law encouraging or inciting human rights violations, promoting or contributing to them, sharing in making them possible or facilitating them leads to complicity. read more

Shell Executive Director Who Stole Nigeria’s Oil Money

By John Donovan

Nigerian Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke is back in the news. She must have Shell oil running through her veins.

Both of her parents worked for Shell. She joined Shell and went to the top becoming an executive director of Shell in Nigeria. She was subsequently appointed Nigerian Minister of Petroleum Resources in March 2010 by the corrupt Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, later implicated with Shell in the OPL 245 scandal. 

Her elevation continued. She became the first female president of the OPEC – the oil price fixing cartel. read more

Kiobel Writ: PROCEEDINGS IN THE UNITED STATES

The defendants were accused of complicity in various human rights violations and crimes committed against the Ogoni in Nigeria, including summary executions, crimes against humanity, torture, inhuman treatment, arbitrary arrest and detention, criminally negligent homicide, indecent assault and ill-treatment. In the case against Royal Dutch/Shell it was also argued that the company acted contrary to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. On 8 June 2009, with the trial on the point of starting, Shell and the claimants agreed an out-of-court settlement. Shell paid the claimants a sum of $15.5 million in damages. 

 By John Donovan

The numbered paragraphs below are extracted from the 138 page Esther Kiobel Writ served on multiple Royal Dutch Shell companies on 28 June 2017. More information about the latest litigation is provided after the extracts.

PROCEEDINGS IN THE UNITED STATES

5.1 Introduction

120. Following the execution of their husbands, the claimants were subject to constant threats and harassment by the Nigerian regime.162 Esther Kiobel, like many other Nigerians who became victims of Shell and the military regime, resettled in the United States from the refugee camp in Benin. In the United States two groups of victims and surviving dependants demanded damages from Shell in a civil action. The Saro-Wiwa case ended in an out-of-court settlement (see section 5.2). In the case brought by inter alia claimant 1, Esther Kiobel, the American Supreme Court ultimately did not consider that the American courts had jurisdiction to judge the case (see section 5.3). read more

Kiobel Writ: Death penalty for the Ogoni 9

THE OGONI 9 SHOW TRIAL

The numbered paragraphs below are extracted from the 138 page Esther Kiobel Writ served on multiple Royal Dutch Shell companies on 28 June 2017. More information about the latest litigation is provided after the extracts.

4.6 Death penalty for the Ogoni 9

  1. On 31 October 1995 the tribunal imposed the death penalty on nine suspects.
  2. Kiobel’s father sent a letter to Abacha seeking clemency on 7 November 1995 (exhibit 11), wherein he writes: “there is a misunderstanding, he tries to make peace”.151 The wives of those sentenced to death, including Esther Kiobel and Victoria Bera, also made an appeal to Abacha on 8 November 1995 (exhibit 12):
    “As Your Excellency is no doubt aware there is no right of appeal against the judgment of the Tribunal that convicted and sentenced our husbands so there is no forum to test the correctness or otherwise of the said decision. Besides, our husbands have to do without the services of lawyers of their choice through no fault of theirs mid way their trial; Even at the point of conviction our husbands still maintained and we are convinced of their innocence. […] Let your verdict not make us widows and our children fatherless.”152
  3. The wives explicitly refer to the lack of the possibility to initiate an appeal. The Decree of 1987 after all rules out a (more senior) court, independent of the tribunal and the regime, hearing the case again in its entirety and rectifying any legal errors. Section 7 of the Decree does say that any sentence imposed by the tribunal may not take effect until confirmed by ‘the confirming authority’.153 However, this authority cannot overturn the sentence. It is also unclear whether refusal of confirmation is possible and whether refusal would be the same as acquittal.
  4. The authority required to confirm the findings of the tribunal, the Armed Forces Ruling Council, was part of the military regime. At the time of the trial the powers of this body had transferred to the Provisional Ruling Council (PRC), newly set up by Abacha.154 The members of the PRC met on 8 November 1995. A memo of the meeting (exhibit 176) shows that Abacha was the chairman of this meeting and that:
    “He was of the view that no sympathy should be shown on the convicts so that the sentence would be a lesson to everybody. He stated that the Ogoni issue had lingered on for a very long time and should be addressed once and for all.”
  5. The Secretary-General of the United Nations said of the PRC: “The PRC confirmed the conviction and sentence even before the records of the trial were received,” and “the haste with which the sentences were confirmed by the Provisional Ruling Council PRC) implies that the Government had made up its mind and was not interested in a fair consideration of the case.”155 The memo of the meeting also shows that reconsideration of the sentence imposed by the tribunal was never an option for the members of the PRC. To prevent the regime coming across as weak, the execution had to be put into effect as soon as possible.156
  6. Meanwhile, complaints about the trial were also considered by the African Commission on Human and Peoples ́ Rights.157 When the African Commission became aware that the sentence had been confirmed by the PRC, provisional measures were imposed on the Nigerian government to prevent irreparable damage: Nigeria was to postpone the executions until the Commission had had the opportunity to discuss the case with the government.158 This call was ignored by the Nigerian regime and the next day, 10 November 1995, the nine convicts, despite national and international protests,159 were brought to death by hanging in the Federal Prisons in Port Harcourt.160
  7. The African Commission stated regarding the executions and the ignoring of the provisional measures: “Execution in the face of the invocation of rule 111 defeats the purpose of this important rule. […] This is a blot on the legal system of Nigeria which will not be easy to erase. To have carried out the execution in the face of pleas to the contrary by the Commission and world opinion is something which we pray will never happen again. That this is a violation of the Charter is an understatement.”161
Extracts end Footnotes

151 Exhibit 11: Plea for clemency for Dr Barinem Kiobel, 7 November 1995.

152 Exhibit 12: Plea for clemency on behalf of our convicted husbands, 8 November 1995.

153 Decree No. 2 1987, section 7 (see Birnbaum (exhibit 255), para. 8.14: “Any sentence imposed by the Tribunal shall not take effect until the conviction or sentence is confirmed by the confirming authority. The confirming Authority may confirm or vary the sentence of the Tribunal.” read more

More Shell News 13 July 2017

How Europe’s Monster Gas Field Turned Into a Monster Headache: Bloomberg: 13 July 2017

Judge to consider demands to close Europe’s largest gas field; Groningen has contributed almost 300 billion euros to budget; What was once a blessing is now an expensive curse; Officials are also considering criminal charges against NAM executives READ MORE

Corrib gas timeline: 20 years of protests and controversy: The Irish Times: 13 July 2017

June 2005 – High Court jails five men who became known as the “Rossport Five” for contempt of court over their continued protests over the pipeline route. READ MORE

Trump administration approves Eni plan to drill offshore Alaska: Reuters: 13 July 2017

Royal Dutch Shell Plc quit its exploration quest offshore Alaska in 2015 after a ship it had leased suffered a gash in mostly uncharted waters… READ MORE read more

PRELUDE FLNG; A CASE OF ADDING FUEL TO THE FIRE

By Bill Campbell – Retired HSE Group Auditor, Shell International

The physics of fire is readily explained by the simple fire triangle where the constituents needed to be available for fire to begin and persist are a heat source, oxygen and a combustible fuel.

In our industry in 1988 and later in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore India were witnessed catastrophic happenings where an escalating hydrocarbon event could not be curtailed, went out of control and escalated because of the abundance of fuel in massive amounts, mainly gas.

The abundance of fuel on an offshore installation, or on a London Tower building, housing hundreds of people, raises the risk to persons occupying these facilities significantly.  Risk is not just the probability of a fire starting but the potential consequences of that fire should it start and take hold.     read more

Kiobel lawyers active in US and Dutch litigation

By John Donovan

Over 100,000 Shell internal documents assembled by Shell in relation to a thwarted legal action brought against Shell by Esther Kiobel over a decade ago are the subject of a ferocious legal battle. In the mean time, they are stored under the control of Shell lawyers in a secure US warehouse at an undisclosed address. Esther holds Shell responsible for the murder of her husband Dr Barinem Kiobel – one of the ‘Ogoni 9‘. Shell’s US lawyers are currently appealing a US federal court decision that Esther Kiobel should be given access to the discovery in connection with the same human rights case she is bringing against Shell in the Netherlands. read more

Kiobel Writ Extract: Nigeria in the 1990s: The Nigerian Junta

…Shell continued to collaborate closely with the regime during Abacha’s period of government and it regularly offered the regime a helping hand. Shell was prepared for instance to procure weapons, to maintain a network of informants and to make its means of transport available for military operations.

By John Donovan

The numbered paragraphs below are extracted from the English translation of a 138 page Writ of Summons served on Royal Dutch Shell companies on 28 June 2017 by Dutch Human Rights law firm Prakken d’Oliveira. They represent four widows including Esther Kiobel who hold Shell liable for the murder of their husbands, individual Ogoni leaders now known collectively as the ‘Ogoni Nine‘. The famed writer and community leader, Ken Saro-Wiwa was one of the group. For the purpose of this online publication, the footnotes are indicated in red text. read more

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