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1 Dez 2008

Russell Gold, Wall Street Journal

Chevron Case Weighs Extent of Overseas Liability

A bloody protest by Nigerian villagers against Chevron Corp. in 1998 has led to a closely watched federal lawsuit that could have a far-reaching impact on how multinational companies conduct business overseas. The jury in the civil trial…began deliberating its verdict Tuesday. Its conclusion could strengthen an evolving legal frontier: Can multinational companies be hauled into U.S. courts and held accountable for alleged human-rights violations that occur on its properties overseas?... The case centers on a 1998 protest involving about 100 Ilaje villagers from coastal Nigeria, who occupied an offshore oil facility owned by Chevron. After the villagers stayed for three days, Chevron called in the Nigerian military to remove them. The response was bloody: two protesters were shot and killed. Others were taken into custody and allegedly tortured, according to court filings... [It] is a major test of the Alien Tort Claims Act against a major corporation. It is also the first time the courts have tested whether a corporation can be held responsible for the actions of local authorities it calls in for protection... The suit against Chevron raises a set of tough issues for oil companies with large capital investments overseas. In Nigeria and many other countries, multinational corporations aren't allowed to maintain their own security forces and must rely on the military for protection, says Sebastian Spio-Garbrah, an analyst with political-risk consultant Eurasia Group... “Corporations are watching to see if a U.S. jury is willing to award damages in a situation where a corporation is indirectly responsible,” says Chimene Keitner, an associate law professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law… [also refers to Drummond, Shell]

Part of the following timelines

Jury clears Chevron in trial in USA over alleged complicity with shootings in Nigeria - plaintiffs say they will appeal

Chevron lawsuit (re Nigeria)