Thursday, 28 May 2009

Shell On Trial Over The Death Of Mr. Ken Saro-Wiwa

The trial of Shell, over its alleged complicity in the death of writer and campaigner Mr. Ken Saro-Wiwa, began yesterday. Lawyers from the company will today represent the oil giant in a New York court as it faces charges that it colluded in human rights abuses and torture in the Niger Delta which led to the hanging in 1995 of Ogoni campaigner and renowned poet, Saro-Wiwa.

The troubled fossil fuel behemoth had refused to comment on the court case ahead of the hearings, but the continued flaring of gas in the Niger Delta, a practice Saro-Wiwa challenged, had exposed the company to greater criticism from environmentalists.
Environmentalists group, Friends of the Earth, said in its latest report that Shell is becoming the most polluting company in the world.

In a newly compiled report titled: "Illegitimate Energy", Friends of the Earth and other groups claimed that Shell's Nigerian and Canadian operations portray the oil colossus as the most polluting oil company in the world. Part of the report says: "When Shell's total resources are taken into account, the amount of greenhouse gases emitted per barrel of oil equivalent produced will outstrip those of its nearest competitors."

The data shows that in the age of carbon reduction, Shell is fast heading in the opposite direction, massively increasing the carbon intensity of its production of oil and gas.

Though Shell admitted that it had a problem, it insisted that the amount of its carbon emission was exaggerated. The company's latest Sustainability Report says: "Our upstream energy intensity has risen by around 27 per cent since 2000 as fields' age and heavier and harder-to-reach oil is produced." However the company denied the sort of carbon estimates attributed to its Canadian operations, saying they were exaggerated and might largely be solved through the use of Carbon, Capture and Storage (CCS).

The case entitled Wiwa v. Royal Dutch Shell and Wiwa v Anderson concerns the November 10, 1995 hangings of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other members of the Movement of the Emancipation of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) known as "Ogoni Nine" and the shooting of a woman protesting the bulldozing of her farm by Shell in preparation for a pipeline project. After several years of litigation, Judge Kimba Wood ruled that the trial would he held this year.

The plaintiff's action was brought under the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) and alleges violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act (RICO). The 219-year-old federal law, which dates back to 1789, allows foreigners to sue over alleged human rights abuses committed in their countries.

Not StupidGreenpeace
NY Times

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