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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

Nigeria Oil Thieves Keep a Lid on Output Even as Bombs Abate

As much as 30 percent of the oil sent by pipelines through the swampy Niger River delta is stolen… The 60,000-barrel-a-day flow station, owned by Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s Nigerian unit and idle for most of June, illustrates the nation’s struggle to restore deliveries of its most vital resource. Even after the government quelled a militant uprising that sent production to a 30-year low last August, smaller-scale sabotage caused by people trying to steal oil remains rife.

FULL ARTICLE BY PAUL WALLACE 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

Kiobel Writ: INTERNATIONAL JURISDICTION OF DUTCH COURTS

Large-scale corruption in Nigeria and within the Nigerian judiciary has for a long time been a clear problem. Consequently, a proper judicial process cannot be guaranteed in Nigeria.

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.

INTERNATIONAL JURISDICTION OF DUTCH COURTS

6.1 Jurisdiction under the Brussels I Regulation

132. Shell Petroleum NV and Royal Dutch Shell plc have their registered offices in The Hague. It is therefore an established fact that under article 4(1) in conjunction with article 63 of the recast Brussels I Regulation the Dutch courts have jurisdiction to hear disputes in respect of these parties.167 The district court of The Hague has subject-matter jurisdiction. 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

Kiobel Writ: Ogoni Civil Disturbances Special Tribunal

 Above from

Unloveable Shell…

For instance, two witnesses… made statements under oath in which they said that they had been offered money and a job by the regime and Shell in exchange for incriminating testimony… 

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‘. MOSOP Chairman Ken Saro-Wiwa was one of the group. For the purpose of this online publication, the footnotes are indicated in red text. read more

Kiobel Writ: Manhunt in Ogoniland

The UN rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions had the following to say about this: “Renewed military attacks against Ogoni villages were reported to have occurred during the first two weeks of June 1994, leading to the killing of at least 40 civilians. Fears were expressed for the lives of a large number of others who were reported to have been detained”

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‘. MOSOP Chairman Ken Saro-Wiwa was one of the group. For the purpose of this online publication, the footnotes are indicated in red text. read more

Destruction of Ogoniland by Shell

The Politicization of a Depraved Ogoni Remediation Project

By Anthony Aalo

To remediate is to correct or make right. Environmental remediation deals with the removal of pollutants or contaminants from environmental media such as soil, underground water, sediment, or surface water. An Ogoni elite Barinua Wifa (SAN), rightly puts it this way: “Remediation is when you put a person in the position he was before an injury”

Before the deliberate destruction of Ogoniland by Shell, fishing and farming were the main means of livelihood undertaken daily by the Ogonis. The environment flourished with green vegetation, which supported families and small businesses. The Ogoni region, prior to the destruction was the largest food supplier in the entire eastern region of Nigeria and had the largest mangrove vegetation in the gulf of Guinea. read more

Kiobel Writ: Ecological warfare by Shell

“The Ogoni took stock of their condition and found that in spite of the stupendous oil and gas wealth of their land, they were extremely poor, had no social amenities, that unemployment was running at over 70 percent, and that they were powerless, as an ethnic community in a country of 100 million people, to do anything to alleviate their condition. Worse, their environment was completely devastated by three decades of reckless oil exploitation or ecological warfare by Shell.”

Kiobel Writ: MOSOP: Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People

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‘. MOSOP Chairman Ken Saro-Wiwa was one of the group. For the purpose of this online publication, the footnotes are indicated in red text. 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

Disastrous consequences of oil extraction in Ogoniland

By John Donovan

The numbered paragraphs below are extracted from the English translation of a 138 page Writ of Summons served on several Royal Dutch Shell companies last week by Dutch Human Rights law firm Prakken d’Oliveira. They represent several widows led by Esther Kiobel, who hold Shell liable for the murder of their husbands, from an Ogoni leadership group known collectively as the ‘Ogoni Nine‘.

EXTRACTS

3.2 Consequences of oil extraction in Ogoniland

43. Ogoniland has been the homeland of the Ogoni, a population group of around 500,000 people in 1994. Currently around 1.5 million people live in Ogoniland. read more

Kiobel Dutch Case: Shell in Nigeria

By John Donovan

The numbered paragraphs below are all extracted from a 138 page Writ of Summons. It was served on multiple Royal Dutch Shell companies on or around 28 June by the Dutch Human Rights law firm Prakken d’Oliveira acting on behalf of 4 widows led by Esther Kiobel. The widows hold Shell liable for the murder of their husbands, who were all members of the ‘Ogoni Nine‘.

EXTRACTS

3.1 Shell in Nigeria

38. The Anglo-Dutch company Shell has played an active role in what was then still British Colonial Nigeria since 1936, where it was involved in the search for oil fields and the first oil extraction in the Niger Delta from the 1940s. When a large-scale oil industry got going in Nigeria from 1958 Shell became the main player.28 Even after the independence of Nigeria in 1960 oil exploitation in Nigeria remained largely in Shell’s hands. read more

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