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Posts Tagged ‘Litigation’

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

Lawsuits rise against Big Oil

17 July 2017: …filed lawsuits Monday against 37 oil, gas and coal companies, accusing them of ramping up extraction of fossil fuels for decades even though they knew the resulting carbon pollution would have devastating effects on the planet. 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: 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

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

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: 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 DUTCH WRIT: THE OGONI 9 SHOW TRIAL

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: 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

Shell says Ogoni 9 lawsuit widows are liars

By John Donovan

Although Shell did not use the exact words featured in the headline, it was the clear meaning of Shell’s outright rejection of the claims set forth in the Writ of Summons issued on 29 June 2017 against multiple companies within the Royal Dutch Shell Group. This is what the Manager Director/Country Chair of  The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited actually said in his letter dated 22 June 2017 to Amnesty International.

The allegations cited in you letter against RDS and SPDC are false and without merit. SPDC did not collude with the military authorities to suppress community unrest and in no way encouraged or advocated any act of violence in Nigeria. In fact, the company believes that dialogue is the best way to resolve disputes. We have always denied these allegations, in the strongest possible terms. read more

‘Ogoni 9’ Widows Suing Shell

Widows Hold Shell Liable for ‘Judicial Murder’

By John Donovan

In the last 24 hours, Royal Dutch Shell companies in The Netherlands, the UK and Nigeria have all been served legal proceedings by a human rights law firm, Prakken d’Oliveira.

An extract from an English version of the Writ of Summons is provided below. The content is a further hammer blow to Shell’s already shattered reputation arising from its past activities in Nigeria e.g. OPL 245.  Basically the “judicial murder” of the “Ogoni 9” has come back to haunt Shell again. read more

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