UK Govt. tells Amnesty Intl. it will not investigate Trafigura over dumping of toxic waste in Côte d’Ivoire as it lacks capacity

Trafigura toxic waste dumping

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Article
24 July 2015

UK authorities 'lack resources' to investigate Trafigura over toxic waste

Author: James Ball & Harry Davies, Guardian (UK)

UK authorities have admitted they lack both the expertise and resources to investigate the oil company Trafigura for prosecution over its role in a toxic waste dump in Ivory Coast which left up to 100,000 people with skin rashes, headaches and respiratory problems… Trafigura attempted to keep a report detailing its involvement secret using a super-injunction against the Guardian in 2009, which was challenged and ultimately defeated …[D]espite the involvement of UK-based executives in the planning of how to dispose of the waste, no UK prosecution has ever taken place…The Environment Agency’s report conceded that if the allegations against Trafigura were true, “a serious offence was committed with relevant aspect of the conduct taking place within the jurisdiction”…A spokesman for the Environment Agency said… “We decided not to pursue an investigation overseas because of the length of time since the alleged crime and the likelihood of securing a successful prosecution.”…Trafigura said it was “disappointed” Amnesty International was still pursuing it over its role in the toxic waste dump…"Trafigura maintains that given over the last decade the Probo Koala incident has already been exhaustively investigated by authorities in the Ivory Coast, the UK and the Netherlands and settlements have been reached in a number of jurisdictions, it is time to move on..."

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Article
24 July 2015

UK giving green light for corporate crime

Author: Amnesty International

…UK authorities have informed Amnesty International that they do not have the tools, resources or expertise to investigate whether the multinational commodities giant Trafigura conspired to dump toxic waste in Côte d’Ivoire…After the dumping more than 100,000 people sought medical attention. Côte d’Ivoire authorities reported at least 15 deaths…“The UK’s failure to act is a further disaster for justice and accountability […]” said Lucy Graham, Legal Adviser in Amnesty International’s Business and Human Rights Team…[The organisation] warns that the Trafigura case is not a one-off, highlighting a series of cases in which powerful UK multinationals have been implicated in serious human rights-related abuses abroad that may violate UK criminal law… Amnesty International is calling for:

  • Stronger legislation to hold UK companies directly accountable for serious crimes committed in the context of their global operations unless they can prove efforts to prevent them, akin to foreign bribery rules under the 2010 UK Bribery Act.

  • More resources, training and specialized support for investigators dealing with corporate crime.

…Trafigura denies responsibility for the toxic waste dumping and maintains that it believed the local company would dispose of the waste safely and lawfully.

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Report
23 July 2015

"Too toxic to touch?"

Author: Amnesty International

...UK law enforcement agencies have apparently been sluggish in taking action despite clear grounds to investigate and growing public calls for companies to be held to account when they break the law. Amnesty International’s interaction with UK authorities over a horrific human rights case indicates that these concerns are indicative of wider failings in the UK’s system for tackling corporate crime. Over the last year, Amnesty International has pressed UK authorities to launch a criminal investigation into London-based multinational Trafigura Ltd. The case centres on allegations that Trafigura conspired in the
UK to dump toxic waste in Côte d’Ivoire (the Ivory Coast) in August 2006 – an event that had a devastating impact on the human rights of a community already rocked by conflict and suffering endemic poverty...[T]he UK refused to investigate the case...This briefing...makes recommendations to the UK government on how to adress [failures]...

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