Описание дела: Судебное разбирательство против Union Carbide/Dow (отн. Бхопала)

Bhopal disaster memorial, By: Luca Frediani, Creative CommonsFor an English-language version of this case profile, please click here.

В декабре 1984 года на заводе по производству пестицидов Union Carbide в Бхопале, Индия, произошла утечка более сорока тонн ядовитого газа метилизоцианата на территории проживания общины, расположенной вокруг завода. По оценкам индийских властей, из-за утечки газа погибло около 3000 человек, 50000 человек стали пожизненными инвалидами и еще 15 тысяч человек погибли от воздействия ядовитого газа впоследствии (по неофициальным данным, количество погибших непосредственно в день трагедии достигает 7000-8000 человек, а погибших в последующем – 15000-20000 человек). Некоторые из пострадавших в Бхопале пытались судиться с Union Carbide (являющейся частью Dow Chemical с 2001 года) в США; их иски были отклонены американскими судами в 1986 году в пользу рассмотрения их в рамках правовой системы Индии. В 1989 году Верховный суд Индии утвердил мировое соглашение по гражданским искам против Union Carbide за $ 470 млн. До недавнего времени еще около $330 миллионов от общей суммы не было перечислено пострадавшим в Бхопале и их потомкам. В июле 2004 года Верховный суд Индии постановил, что остаточная сумма урегулирования должна быть разделена между всеми заявителями по делу Бхопала. В 1999 году группа жертв катастрофы в Бхопале подала иск в федеральный суд США против Union Carbide с требованием компенсации за инцидент 1984 года, а также за продолжающееся загрязнение окружающей среды на территории завода в Бхопале и вокруг него. После ряда апелляций, иски, поданные в суды США о компенсации за травмы, непосредственно связанные с инцидентом 1984 года, были отклонены, поскольку суд установил, что данные иски покрываются мировым соглашением, достигнутым с Union Carbide в 1989 году в Индии. Тем не менее, суд разрешил продолжить судебное разбирательство относительно материального ущерба в связи с загрязнением окружающей среды на заводе в Бхопале и прилегающей территории. В июне 2012 года федеральный суд первой инстанции отказал в рассмотрении дела против Union Caribide. Заявители подали апелляцию, и в июне 2013 года апелляционный суд оставил в силе решение суда первой инстанции.

В дополнение к судебным процессам в США, уголовное дело против Union Carbide и ее бывшего генерального директора, Уоррена Андерсона, рассматривалось в индийской правовой системе с 1989 года. В июне 2010 года суд в Индии вынес приговор по делу. Он признал Union Carbide India Ltd. и семерых руководителей компании виновными в преступной халатности. Компания была обязана выплатить штраф в размере 500 тысяч рупий ($ 10 870), а физические лица были приговорены к двум годам лишения свободы и штрафу в размере 100 тысяч рупий ($ 2175) каждый. 2 августа 2010 года Центральное бюро расследований Индии подало ходатайство в Верховный суд о применении более сурового наказании для обвиняемых по данному делу. Целью данного ходатайства было восстановление первоначального обвинения в убийстве в отношении обвиняемых; постановление прокуратуры, вынесенное в сентябре 1996 года, переквалифицировало обвинение с убийства на преступную халатность. В мае 2011 года Верховный суд отклонил данное ходатайство и отказался вновь открыть дело для предъявления более жестких обвинений.

- "Bhopal gas tragedy: US court rejects case against Union Carbide", Business Standard, 1 Jul 2013
- "Union Carbide wins dismissal of suit over Bhopal plant", Patricia Hurtado & Bob Van Voris, Bloomberg Businessweek, 28 Jun 2012  
- "India's Supreme Court rejects harsher Bhopal charges", BBC News, 11 May 2011
- "CBI files curative petition in Bhopal gas tragedy case", J. Venkatesan, Hindu, 3 Aug 2010
- "Indian court convicts 7 in Bhopal gas disaster", Prakash Hatvalne, Seattle Times, 7 Jun 2010
- “Indian Judge Orders Dow to Explain Shielding of Subsidiary in Bhopal Criminal Case”, Boston Common Asset Management [socially responsible investment firm], 12 Jan 2005

- Amnesty International: [PDF] “Clouds of Injustice: Bhopal Disaster 20 Years On”, 29 Nov 2004
- “Bhopal Gas Tragedy Lives On, 20 Years Later”, Scott Baldauf, Christian Science Monitor, 04 May 2004
- Union Carbide: Union Carbide Bhopal Information Center
- Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR): Bhopal Amicus, Synopsis [CCR filed amicus brief on behalf of plaintiffs in the US case]
- Earthrights International: Bano v. Union Carbide [synopsis of US lawsuit filed in 1999; includes links to certain court decisions]
- International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal: Document Library [contains links to certain US and Indian legal documents]

- [PDF] State of Madhya Pradesh through CBI vs. Warren Anderson, et al. - Judgment, Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Bhopal, 7 June 2010

- [PDF] Jagarnath Sahu v. Union Carbide Corporation, US District Court Southern District of New York, 30 Jun 2014

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Автор: IBT News Desk, International Business Times (India)

"Bhopal gas tragedy victims call for immediate steps to check groundwater contamination", 14 June 2018

The Bhopal gas tragedy continues to make lives of people living in the affected areas miserable even after more than three decades. Now, the groundwater is becoming increasingly dangerous to consume...Organisations set up by survivors of the tragedy have lamented the lackadaisical attitude of the Centre as well as the successive state governments towards the contamination of the groundwater in the city.  The leaders of...organisations have said that even the Supreme Court has acknowledged the fact that the groundwater poisoning is spreading and now 20 more communities are on the verge of being added to the list which already has 22 communities which have to make do with poisoned groundwater.  Supreme Court has ordered...to collect groundwater samples from 20 more communities.  The team is expected to visit the affected parts of the city on Friday, June 15.  The apex court has also directed the Municipal Corporation to supply treated drinking water to five of the 20 communities which lack this facility.  Talking to The Pioneer, Rashida Bee, president, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh said: "Are the central and state governments waiting for the poisons to spread all over the city before they begin to act? Going by the orders of the Supreme Court, the number of poisoned communities has trebled in the last 14 years. Yet the governments have not taken a tiny step to stop the spread of chemicals that damage the brain, lungs, kidneys and liver and cause cancers and birth defects."...

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Автор: Live Law News Network (India)

"Bhopal Tragedy: MP HC Stays Criminal Proceedings Against Ex-DGP For Aiding Warren Anderson Flee India", 21 Sep 2017

The Madhya Pradesh High Court has stayed the proceedings of criminal complaint pending against former Director General of Police…at a CJM court in Bhopal, accusing him and former district collector of releasing main accused Warren Anderson Union Carbide Corporation, and helping him to flee India by misusing their power and position, thus, violating the law of land. Abdul Jabbar, convener of the Bhopal Gas Peedith Mahila Udyog Sangthan, and Shahnawaz Khan had filed a criminal complaint case…against Swaraj Puri and Moti Singh accusing them of releasing Warren Anderson…The petitioner took the plea that the matter pertains to an incident that took place 33 years ago and no one ever raised any finger on the act or conduct of the petitioner as superintendent of police.

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Автор: Clare Speak, Equal Times (Belgium)

...For more than three decades, campaigners have been calling for Dow Chemical, the US-based company held liable for the disaster, to accept responsibility, compensate victims properly, and to pay for the clean-up of the still-contaminated area...

...UCC has not answered the criminal charges relating to the disaster, and they remain outstanding. Dow has been summoned by the Indian courts on four separate occasions to explain UCC’s non-appearance, but Dow has so far failed to attend...

...A planned merger deal between corporate giants Dow and Dupont is set to add a “complicated new layer” to the corporate structure of UCC, making it harder still for victims to get justice.

According to the Bhopal Medical Appeal, the merger would potentially allow both companies to avoid their legal obligations to the Bhopal victims, as well as to thousands of other people around the world who have been poisoned by toxic chemical manufacturing processes...

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Автор: Daniel M. Krainin and Graham C. Zorn, Beveridge & Diamond PC at Lexology

In the most recent case stemming from the 1984 chemical plant leak in Bhopal, India, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit further clarified the circumstances in which an entity other than the owner or operator of a site may be liable at common law for a chemical release at that site...Plaintiffs claimed property damage from leaks from a waste storage facility at the Union Carbide India Limited (“UCIL”) plant in Bhopal, and sued Union Carbide Corporation (“UCC”), a majority stockholder in UCIL, for nuisance, trespass, strict liability, and negligence...The Second Circuit held that proving UCC’s conduct was a “substantial factor” contributing to an injury would require showing UCC had the requisite “knowledge” of the risk and “substantial certainty” of ultimate injury. The Court...found that “no reasonable juror could find that UCC participated in the creation of the injury on any theory of liability.”

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Автор: Sunita Sohrabji, Indian West

"Bhopal Victims Launch Final Try to Get Union Carbide to Clean Up Mess", 6 Jul 2016

Thousands of victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster petitioned the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals June 21 to reconsider its decision in May, which found that the Union Carbide Corporation was not responsible for cleaning up the mess caused by the world’s worst accident...

...Owners and occupants of land near the Bhopal plant are suing UCC [Union Carbide Corporation] – which was bought by Dow Chemical in 2001 – for causing injuries resulting from hazardous contaminants attributed to the plant’s inadequate waste management system. Residents living near the now-shuttered site have suffered from a variety of illnesses from drinking contaminated water, and a huge number of babies have been born with birth defects. EarthRights and the plaintiffs want UCC to clean up the toxic wastes from the site; UCC has said it is not responsible...

Key to the plaintiffs’ case is the testimony of plant manager John Couvaras, who has said he was an employee of UCC at the site at the time of the disaster. If Couvaras was in fact an employee of Union Carbide, UCC would be responsible for his actions or non-actions...

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Автор: Rick Herz, Earthrights

Today, a New York federal appeals court found that Union Carbide Corp. (UCC) could not be sued for ongoing pollution of drinking water from the notorious chemical plant in Bhopal, India...On December 2, 1984, poisonous gas from the Bhopal plant enveloped nearby communities, killing thousands. The water pollution here is unrelated to the Gas Disaster, but has been leaching from the same plant ever since it was shut down afterward. Marco Simons, ERI’s General Counsel, added, “These families have been living with Union Carbide’s pollution for decades. This lawsuit is only one of the many efforts, in India and the United States, to obtain justice and a cleanup for the people of Bhopal, and we remain committed to that work." Plaintiffs plan to file a petition for rehearing.

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Автор: Narayan Lakshman, The Hindu

…[L]awyers [for the victims of the 1984 Bhopal poison gas disaster] this week filed arguments with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that the company…was continuing to foul local wells from its plant located in the area…[T]he appeal come[s] more than a year after a New York federal district court found that [Union Carbide Company (UCC)] could not be sued in the Sahu II case, despite “compelling evidence that UCC caused the harm”, including arguments…that a UCC employee, Lucas John Couvaras, managed the construction of the plant…In this week’s developments, the plaintiffs said that they had provided more evidence demonstrating UCC’s responsibility…ERI counsel Marco Simons said that…the plaintiffs were “quite hopeful” about the outcome after the “hearing went well and the judges seemed pretty engaged in the case,” particularly expressing concern that the judge [in the New York court] did not adequately address the fact that the construction manager for the plant said that he worked for UCC…”

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Автор: Narayan Lakshman, Hindu (India)

“Did India take US snub on Bhopal case lying down?” 4 Apr 2015

India may not have been batting on the front foot for justice for its citizens despite being snubbed on its two extradition requests to the U.S. for Warren Anderson, the late and former CEO of Union Carbide Company, allegedly responsible for the worst industrial accident in modern India…“Government of India’s request for extradition of Mr. Warren Anderson has not been agreed to by the U.S. side till date,” the Indian Embassy [in the USA] said…Arguing that the Bhopal gas case matter was still “sub-judice,” the Embassy declined to provide any documentation of its communications with the U.S. authorities...If the tables were turned and a U.S. corporate criminal had fled to India, Washington would have used all its powers to push the Indian government — an approach New Delhi did not follow...[T]he Bhopal cases filed...in the U.S. have also run into dead ends, particularly after a New York judge declined, in July 2014, to allow the case brought by victims of the tragedy to proceed and ruled in favour of Union Carbide...

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Автор: Emmanuel Derville, Le Figaro (France)

En cette nuit du 2 décembre 1984… un employé de l'usine de pesticides du groupe américain Union Carbide s'aperçoit que la pression dans le réservoir 610 est trop élevée. Il contient de l'isocyanate de méthyle, un liquide toxique…Trop tard. Quarante tonnes de gaz blanchâtre se répandent dans l'air…Selon l'ONG Sambhavna, qui gère une clinique à Bhopal, l'accident a tué entre 8.000 et 10.000 personnes dans les 72 premières heures. Des dizaines de milliers au total. Trente ans plus tard, l'usine reste une bombe à retardement…[U]n bassin aménagé par Union Carbide dans les années 1970…[où des] tonnes de déchets chimiques y sont entreposées…fuit. L'eau toxique s'infiltre dans la nappe phréatique…En 1989, la Cour suprême condamne Union Carbide à 470 millions de dollars d'amende…[L]es autorités déposent une requête devant la justice indienne en 2010. Elles demandent 1,2 milliard de dollars. Mais la procédure traîne, engluée dans les recours déposés par Dow Chemical, propriétaire de Union Carbide depuis 2001…

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