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More Shell News 16 July 2017

Oil companies facing legal action after breakdowns, flaring and pollution: The Herald: 16 July 2017 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

We warned Shell in 2005 that Corrib would turn into a PR disaster

By John Donovan

An article we published on 3rd July 2005 warned in relation to the Corrib Gas project in Ireland: “Do we spy another PR disaster on Shell’s horizon…”

I went on to warn:

..there appears to be all of the ingredients present for another Shell PR disaster…

At the 2005 Shell AGM, the then Chairman of Shell Transport and Trading Company Lord Oxburgh, was gung-ho about  jailing land owner opponents of the Corrib gas pipeline, who became known as the Rossport Five. read more

Kiobel Writ: OGONI 9 SHOW TRIAL: ill-treatment of lawyers and family members

On 19 February 1995, when Esther again tried to visit her husband, she was locked up by Okuntimo and tied naked to a chair. Then she was beaten with a koboko and sexually harassed and assaulted by Okuntimo.

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 is provided after the extracts. 

THE OGONI 9 SHOW TRIAL 

4.5 Ill-treatment of lawyers and family members

Both lawyers and family members of the suspects were seriously intimidated, threatened and even ill-treated during the trial.138 On several occasions the lawyers were denied access to the heavily protected court.139 For example, at the session of 21 February 1995 Fawehinmi related how that morning he was forced by Lt. Hassan, who worked directly under Okuntimo, under threat of violence, to board a police bus. Lawyer Falana was beaten in the same incident.140 These two lawyers were also unlawfully detained by the regime during (the run-up to) the trial.141 Oso, Kiobel’s lawyer, related how he became the victim of serious intimidation. On arrival at the courthouse he was told to leave after which his driver was beaten up and his car destroyed.142 That same morning Saro-Wiwa’s 74-year-old mother was beaten up on the instructions of Lt. Hassan when she tried to enter the court.143 When Kiobel was asked on 22 June 1995 whether he could arrange another lawyer since Oso had stopped his defence, he stated, to the annoyance of Judge Auta, how his family was being harassed by the army:

“I have been detained since last year. I have no access to anybody to go and get any further information for anything or get a capable lawyer who will be able to stand to defend me. Surprisingly, Thursday last week, even my family at home and secretary to the Chief of my village are being chastised by the Armed Forces because of this matter.”144 read more

Shell News 13 July 2017

Critics argue for Groningen shutdown at Dutch court hearing: Seeking Alpha: 13 July 2017

Angry Dutch residents living near the huge Groningen gas field told a hearing today at the Netherlands’ highest court that production should be totally stopped, accusing oil companies of causing minor earthquakes and the government of lying. READ MORE

Dutch court hearing pits Big Oil against Groningen locals: Reuters: 13 July 2017

Angry Dutch residents living near the huge Groningen gas field demanded a total halt to production, accusing oil giants of causing house-damaging earth tremors and the government of lying at a hearing in the Netherlands’ highest court on Thursday. READ MORE read more

Irish Gas: Shell sells out and departs leaving a toxic legacy behind

Shell is gone and good riddance…

News Release – Issued by Shell to Sea – July 13th, 2017

It was announced yesterday that Shell is planning to sell its 45% stake of the Corrib Gas project to Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB).

Shell to Sea today claimed that Shell caused considerable damage to all State institutions involved in the Corrib Gas project since their involvement began in 2002.

Some examples of the damage done to these State institutions:

  • Two former Shell sub-contractors with OSSL, have sworn in court that they delivered £25,000 of alcohol in 2007 (and other amounts in previously) to Gardaí involved in policing Corrib Gas protests at the request of Shell.[1]
  • When Bord Pleanala turned down the initial planning application for Bellanaboy refinery, leaked minutes of a meeting of Shell Managing Directors indicate that Shell’s response was to query “whether the group had sufficiently well placed contacts with the Irish government and regulators.” . Subsequently Shell met with Bertie Ahern in September 2003 and within a week the Chairman of Bord Pleanala met with representatives of the 3 companies involved in Corrib Gas. An Bord Pleanala granted the subsequent refinery application. [2]
  • RTE were forced to issue an apology over a news report, after they attempted to create the impression that a recording of Gardaí joking about threatening to rape two women in their custody, had been “altered” or “tampered with” . Retired RTE producer Betty Purcell, who worked with RTE for 33 years has stated that it was her belief that Shell personnel appeared to have ‘automatic access’ to senior management in RTE. [3]
  • Despite the Corrib protests being the biggest single cause for compaints to the Garda Ombudsman no Garda has ever been punished that is known about. This lack of results on Garda misbehaviour has resulted in Shell to Sea previously calling for the disbandment of GSOC inorder to setup a proper Garda watchdog. In 2007, then Minister for Justice, Brian Lenihan also refused GSOC permission to do a “policies and practices” investigation into the policing of Corrib protests. [4]
  • In 2005, when jailing the Rossport 5, President of the High Court Judge Joseph Finnegan stated about a breach of a Shell injuction allowing access to Rossport residents’ land, “if ignored then society breaks down. If you insist then I can impose imprisonment and fines, for example hundreds of thousands of euro per day. I have no hesitation in having farms sold. If I have to send every farmer to jail, I will because I have made an order”. In comparison a Shell breach of a court injunction forbidding them from entering land in 2009 is still being processed by the courts.[5]

Commenting on the proposed Shell sale of Corrib, Shell to Sea spokesperson Maura Harrington stated “Shell is gone and good riddance but Shell to Sea remains and will continue the fight to protect the natural resources of Ireland from any future planned plunder” read more

Corrib Gas: Years of acrimony and protest

Little surprise in north Mayo over Shell sale of Corrib share: The Irish Times: 12 July 2017

After years of acrimony and protest the first delivery of gas from the field was taken in December 2015 and the project was formally opened the following month. This was some 20 years after the gas discovery was reported off the north Mayo coast. READ MORE

Under the Hood of Shell’s $100 Million Loyalty Program: Advertising Age: 12 July 2017

Did you know that Shell Oil is the only major fuel brand that still operates in all 50 states? The company boasts 14,000 sites across the country, in fact. But the proprietary gas stations of big box retailers and grocery stores have become formidable competitors in the last 20 years, and now account for about half of the market, increasing the pressure on Shell to drive loyalty. READ MORE 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

Shell offers to pay victims of Pakistan oil fire

The Latest: Shell offers to pay victims of Pakistan oil fire: The Washington Post: 12 July 2017

A subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell said Wednesday it will pay compensation to the victims of an oil tanker fire in Pakistan last month that killed 215 people, after Pakistan’s oil and gas regulator threatened legal action. READ MORE

Shell offers to compensate victims of Pakistan oil fire: The Sacramento Bee: 12 July 2017

After the fuel tanker crashed and started leaking on the side of a highway, hundreds of people from a nearby village rushed to the scene to collect the fuel. They were engulfed in flames when the spill ignited. Pakistan wants Shell to pay $2.4 million, or $9,500 to the heirs of each person killed. READ MORE read more

Kiobel Writ: ‘Ogoni 9’: ill-treatment of the suspects

By John Donovan

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

THE OGONI 9 SHOW TRIAL

4.4 Ill-treatment of the suspects

97. From their arrest the suspects were detained in appalling conditions, most in a military prison at Bori Camp, which was highly unusual.124 They were under the authority of the RSISTF and were subjected to physical and mental abuse and torture on a daily basis.125 read more

Shell News 11 July 2017

Energy transition chatter should go beyond Western viewpoints, says Shell CEO: International Business Times: 11 July 2017

Discussions over the global energy mix and the transition to a low carbon global economy should not only focus on Western perspectives, according to Royal Dutch Shell’s chief executive officer Ben van Beurden. READ MORE

Shell Mulls LNG-Hub Network as Use by Ships and Trucks Expands: Bloomberg: 11 July 2017

Shell is studying developing a global network of liquefied natural gas supply hubs for vehicles including ships, Steve Hill, executive vice president for gas and energy marketing and trading, said Monday at the World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul. READ MORE

Oil majors among top contributors to greenhouse emissions, report says: EnergyVoice.com: 11 July 2017

More than half of global industrial emissions can be traced back to just 25 corporate and state producing entities, the report says. China, India and Russia’s coal industries and major oil and gas players like Saudi Aramco, Gazprom, ExxonMobil, BP and Shell are among those named in the paper from CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project. READ MORE read more

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