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Royal Dutch Shell Crimes Against Humanity

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Photograph of Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, personal friend of Royal Dutch Shell oil baron and ardent Nazi, Sir Henri Deterding, on trial at Nuremberg for war crimes.

Received from a former Shell USA employee

As you well know, there is great interest in the case against Royal Dutch Shell Plc., for complicity in torture, murder, and other crimes against humanity, and now pending before the US Supreme Court.

For those who are interested I would recommend the book: The Nuremberg Legacy, by Norbert Ehrenfreund, a retired California Superior Court Judge. This book discusses the legacy of the Nuremberg Trials and how they have influenced US law. He also discusses several of the cases being tried under the Alien Tort Statute and how the precedents set at the Nuremberg Trials have influenced the decisions of US Courts. Most importantly he makes note of the fact that although the Nuremberg Trials were foreign in nature, the US Supreme Court will recognize and use the precedents set by those trials so long ago.

The Nuremberg Trials also made it clear that big businesses, and the leaders of those businesses, were not immune from prosecution for complicity in the commission of ‘crimes against humanity’. Alfred Krupp, one of Germany’s most powerful industrialists, was tried and convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison. He was also stripped of his vast fortune and industrial holdings. I have little doubt that Sir Henri Deterding, Chairman of Royal Dutch Shell, would also have been indicted by the War Crimes Tribunal had he lived to the end of the war. The Krupp case set a strong precedent for dealing with the misdeeds of business and those precedents are used by US Courts today. Most recently, Unocal was also sued under the Alien Tort Statute for crimes against humanity. Unocal was losing their case in the appeals process and settled their case out of court for $30 million.

For those interested in history I would recommend and refer them to Justice Robert H. Jackson’s opening statements before the Nuremberg Tribunal:

Opening Statement before the International Military Tribunal | Robert …

Speeches By Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Center … On November 21, 1945, in the Palace of Justice at Nuremberg, Germany, Justice Robert H. Jackson, Chief of Counsel … _Jackson’s opening statement is published in II Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the …

It will be interesting to see how the US Supreme Court rules in the Royal Dutch Shell case. I believe there is a strong likelihood they will lose. and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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