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Côte d’Ivoire: Abidjan court rules that a local activist should distribute Trafigura waste pay-out - claimants' lawyers fear that victims will not receive the funds

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Article
22 January 2010

'Travesty of justice' for toxic waste victims

Author: Amnesty International

An Ivorian court decision to transfer $45 million intended for the victims of the Trafigura toxic waste disaster to a group falsely claiming to represent them is a travesty of justice, Amnesty International said today. The organization called for an immediate stay on the court’s decision so that the money is not transferred before the victims have a chance to appeal.

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Article
22 January 2010

Fear over Ivory Coast ruling on Trafigura waste pay-out

Author: BBC News

A court in Ivory Coast has ruled that $45m (£28m) due to 30,000 alleged victims of dumped waste should be distributed by a local activist. Claimants' lawyers expressed doubts about whether the activist, Claude Gohourou, would pass on the money. Mr Gohourou's association said fraud was more likely if the lawyers handled the money. The case concerns 500 tonnes of chemical waste brought to Ivory Coast by multi-national oil company Trafigura and dumped around Abidjan by a local contractor in 2006. Trafigura agreed last year to pay people who said they had been made ill by the waste…[The ruling] overturns an earlier ruling that Mr Gohourou should not distribute the payments, and claimants' lawyers said they would appeal.

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Article
22 January 2010

Victims of Toxic waste Despair as Ivory Coast Court of Appeal Orders Transfer of Compensation Monies

Author: Leigh Day & Co

This morning the Court of Appeal in Abidjan ordered that the compensation monies held in the Leigh Day account...be transferred to the account of Mr Claude Gouhourou. The 30,000 victims who were due to receive their compensation are now beside themselves with worry that they will not receive the compensation they were entitled to under the terms of the settlement reached with Trafigura in...September 2009...Mr Gouhourou...was one of the fifty or so representatives of the many communities in Abidjan affected by the toxic waste. In his evidence he stated that he and the other representatives had set up a coordinating association of which he was the president and that this association had the responsibility for distributing the compensation monies. The documents provided by Mr Gouhourou to prove his case have been shown since this time to be false. The other representatives all deny the existence of any such association...Leigh Day's lawyers are immediately looking to lodge an appeal but there is every concern that Mr Gouhourou will try and have the money transferred before that happens...Martyn Day, senior partner at Leigh Day said today: 'In 30 years of practice I cannot remember a more depressing Court decision...'

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