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Dutch court finds Shell partially responsible for pollution in Niger Delta saying it should have prevented sabotage at 1 of its facilities

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Article
30 January 2013

Dutch court says Shell partly responsible for Nigeria spills

Author: Ivana Sekularac & Anthony Deutsch, Reuters

A Dutch court ruled…that Royal Dutch Shell can be held partially responsible for pollution in the Niger Delta in southern Nigeria, saying the company should have prevented sabotage at one of its facilities. The district court in The Hague ordered Shell to pay unspecified damages to one farmer, but dismissed four other claims filed against the Dutch parent company. The case was seen by activists as a test for holding multinational companies responsible for alleged offences at foreign subsidiaries...The court backed Shell's argument that the spills were caused by sabotage and not poor maintenance of its facilities, as had been argued by the Nigerians…The Nigerians - fishermen and farmers - said they could no longer feed their families because the region had been polluted by oil from Shell's pipelines and production facilities…It is the first time a Dutch-registered company has been sued in a domestic court for offences allegedly carried out by a foreign subsidiary…

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Author: Ivana Sekularac & Anthony Deutsch, Reuters

La justice néerlandaise a déclaré la filiale au Nigeria de…Royal Dutch Shell responsable d'une pollution dans le delta du Niger…[Le] tribunal…a…rejeté quatre autres plaintes visant la société mère…La cour a retenu l'argument…selon laquelle les fuites…étaient le fruit d'actes de sabotage…"Shell Nigeria aurait dû et aurait pu facilement empêcher ce sabotage", a…jugé le tribunal…La compagnie pétrolière considère…que ce jugement ne saurait constituer un précédent…Shell allait engager des négociations…sur le montant des indemnités mais…un appel entraînerait un report de ces discussions…Selon…Shell…en 2012, la quantité échappée représentant environ 26.000 barils. Les habitants disent que ces chiffres sont en deça de la réalité. Dans un rapport…[des] Nations unies…la dépollution…pourrait prendre 25 ans et coûter un milliard de dollars dans un premier temps.

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Author: Amnesty International France

Une décision rendue par un tribunal néerlandais…sur la responsabilité de Shell dans la pollution du delta du Niger montre qu'il est possible d'obtenir justice mais que cela est extrêmement difficile lorsqu'on s'oppose à une grande multinationale, a déclaré Amnesty International…« Les gouvernements doivent se pencher sur les obstacles phénoménaux auxquels sont confrontés les plaignants, en particulier lorsqu'ils veulent amener en justice une grande compagnie pétrolière. » a déclaré Audrey Gaughran, directrice du programme Afrique d'Amnesty International.

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Article
30 January 2013

Shell case shows justice is possible - Amnesty International

Author: Amnesty Intl.

A decision by a Dutch court today relating to Shell’s liability for pollution in the Niger Delta shows that justice is possible – but is extremely hard to achieve if you are taking on a massive multinational, Amnesty International said. “Clearly it’s good news that one of the plaintiffs in this case managed to clamber over all the obstacles to something approaching justice,” said Amnesty International’s Africa programme director Audrey Gaughran. “The court found Shell had a duty of care when it comes to preventing tampering with its pipelines. “However, the fact that the other plaintiffs’ claims were dismissed underscores the very serious obstacles people from the Niger Delta face in accessing justice when their lives have been destroyed by oil pollution.

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Article
30 January 2013

Shell ordered to pay Niger Delta farmer

Author: Guy Chazan, Financial Times

A Dutch court ruled…that a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell was partly responsible for oil pollution in the Niger Delta, but said the company was not liable for four of the five charges brought against it…Shell welcomed the verdict, but Friends of the Earth, the pressure group that brought the charges, expressed disappointment and said it would appeal…Other groups hailed the ruling as a victory…The court established that the spills were caused by sabotage, not poor maintenance on the part of Shell. Regarding the 2004 spill near Goi and the 2005 spill near Oruma, Shell Nigeria had taken “sufficient precautions” to prevent sabotage…and was therefore not liable for damage claimed by the farmers. But in the case of two spills near Ikot Ada Udo, it ruled that Shell’s local subsidiary, the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC) had violated its duty of care and should be held liable for negligence…Mutiu Sunmonu, managing director of SPDC, said: “We welcome the court’s ruling that all spill cases were caused by criminal activity.”

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Article
30 January 2013

[DOC] Dutch Court Ruling Against Shell a Partial Victory

Author: Friends of the Earth Intl.

Today a Dutch court ruled that Shell Nigeria is responsible for polluting farmlands in a landmark case brought by four Nigerian farmers and Friends of the Earth Netherlands. The court said Shell's subsidiary is accountable for damage caused by oil spills at Ikot Ada Udo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Though this is an important victory, Friends of the Earth International is disappointed that the court did not return a similar verdict in the cases brought by the plaintiffs from Goi and Oruma communities. The plaintiffs and Friends of the Earth Netherlands plan to appeal this ruling, as well as the principle point of the liability of the Royal Dutch Shell (RDS) parent company.

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Article
30 January 2013

[PDF] Judgment - Friday Alfred Akpan v. Shell

Author: District Court of The Hauge, Netherlands

The District Court:
5.1. renders a declaratory judgment to the effect that under Nigerian law, [Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC)] committed a specific tort of negligence against Akpan by insufficiently securing the wellhead of the IBIBIO-I well prior to the two oil spills in 2006 and 2007 near Ikot Ada Udo in Nigeria at issue in these proceedings against the sabotage that was committed at that time in an easy manner, and orders SPDC to compensate Akpan for the damage he suffered as a result, to be assessed by the court and to be settled in conformance with the law; 5.2. orders each of the parties to bear its own costs of the proceedings; 5.3. dismisses all other claims that Milieudefensie et al. initiated against Shell et al.

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