Oil Change International

Exposing the true costs of fossil fuels

Wiwa v Shell Settled

shellguiltylogoThe ShellGuilty Campaign:

ROYAL DUTCH SHELL FORCED TO SETTLE HUMAN RIGHTS CASE OUT OF COURT
Damning Evidence Reveals Shell’s Complicity with Crimes Against Humanity; Landmark Case Resolved in Favor of Families of Executed Nigerian Environmental Leader Ken Saro-Wiwa and Others After 14 Year Legal Battle

New York– After legal battles lasting nearly fourteen years, oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has been forced to pay a $15.5 million out-of-court settlement. Plaintiffs from the Ogoni region of the Niger Delta have successfully held Shell accountable for complicity in human rights atrocities committed against the Ogoni people in the 1990s, including the execution of writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa. The legal action is one of a very few brought under the U.S. Alien Tort Statute that have been successfully resolved in favor of the plaintiffs. The settlement includes establishment of a $5 million dollar trust to benefit local communities in Ogoni.

“We congratulate the plaintiffs on their victory. Let there be no doubt that Shell has emerged guilty. With this settlement, Shell is seeking to keep the overwhelming evidence of its crimes away from the scrutiny of a jury trial,” said Ben Amunwa from the UK-based Remember Saro-Wiwa project. “Shell could not stand the bad publicity of a human rights trial. Global campaigners have helped to highlight Shell’s abuses and we share this historic victory.”

“Shell is guilty. Despite this victory, justice will not be served in Ogoni and throughout the Delta until the gas flares are put out, the spills cleaned up, and the military stops protecting the oil companies and starts serving the people,” said Steve Kretzmann, Executive Director of Oil Change International. “This issue will not be solved until these legitimate grievances of the community are addressed.”

“This case should be a wake up call to multinational corporations that they will be held accountable for violations of international law, no matter where they occur,” said Han Shan, ShellGuilty Campaign Coordinator for Oil Change International.

The next phase of the struggle will take place in The Hague, Netherlands, where Royal Dutch Shell is headquartered. The company faces a legal action for repeated oil spills, brought by residents of the Niger Delta, with support from Friends of the Earth Netherlands and Friends of the Earth Nigeria.

“Shell will be dragged from the boardroom to the courthouse, time and again, until the company addresses the injustices at the root of the Niger Delta crisis and put an end to its environmental devastation,” said Elizabeth Bast, International Program Director for Friends of the Earth U.S. “Communities and activists will continue to demand justice with the same determination and hope shown by Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni people.”
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The ShellGuilty campaign is a coalition effort of Friends of the Earth (www.foe.org), Oil Change International (www.priceofoil.org), and PLATFORM’s Remember Saro-Wiwa project (www.remembersarowiwa.com), with support from environmental and human rights groups in Nigeria, North America, and Europe. Visit www.ShellGuilty.com for more information.

To read the Lawyers Press Release, use this link.

To read the official Statement of the Plaintiffs, use this link.

To read the official Statement of the Attorneys, use this link.

To read the settlement documents, click here and here.

To read the deed for the Kiisi Trust, click here.

For a pdf document of all settlement agreements and orders, click here.

Comments (5)

  1. Lyn X says:

    It is not an exaggeration to say that I am shocked to hear about this settlement. Are the plaintiffs INSANE? A quick internet search tells me that Royal Dutch Shell made $31.4 billion in profits in 2008 alone. To put this in perspective (and assuming this figure is correct): Shell made over $86 million PER DAY… last year alone. So the entire settlement amounts to approx. 4.5 HOURS worth of Shell’s daily profits.

    A “victory”?? Shell “guilty”?? Bullshit! The Ogoni won nothing in this settlement and Shell knows it. All it does is send a loud and clear message to other human-rights abusing multinationals that they can continue to rake in obscene profits while evading accountability. Unbelievable!

  2. Jack says:

    Ditto Lyn X!
    I’m very ignorant, sadly so, of many world matters but have come across this almost accidently.
    I hang my head in shame at the hypocrisy and greed of the society I live with and am part of. I use fuel and therefore inadvertently support all this shocking behaviour!!

    Is there and ethical fuel provider in the UK? Is there an ethical fuel provider in the world?

  3. Terri says:

    How tragic and sad that the plantiffs sold out for a paltry $15 million and Shell will never have to answer in court for its atrocious crimes. $15 million is NOTHING. $5 million in a trust fund for the people? Ridiculous! $500 million or $5 billion would have been more appropriate. How can you call this a victory for anyone but Shell?

  4. i am very greatfull for the way shell has pay osaro wiwa and order familise invold in strougliy for the ogoni people. osaro wiwa was a very good man i was sadly and sacker when i hear of ken osaro wiwa dead, and order, becase i love ken osaro when i was a litte boy when i saw ken in my comminity thanks

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