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Ogoni 9 widow Esther Kiobel lands day in court against oil giant Shell

(CNN)The widow of one of the nine environmental campaigners who were executed by the Nigerian military government has won a 22-year battle to bring oil giant Shell to court.

Esther Kiobel filed a civil suit early Wednesday in the Netherlands where Shell is registered and has its headquarters, her lawyer told CNN. According to the writ, seen by CNN, Kiobel accuses Shell of complicity in the unlawful arrest and detention of her husband, Dr. Barinem Kiobel; the violation of his personal integrity and the violation of his right to a fair trial. Kiobel first filed a case in New York against Shell in 2002 alleging complicity in the execution of the nine human rights activists. However, in 2013, the US Supreme Court ruled that the United States did not have jurisdiction to try the case.

Condemnation

The 1995 execution of Nigerian playwright Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other human rights activists (including Kiobel’s husband) campaigning against environmental degradation of their native Ogoni land caused worldwide condemnation. Saro-Wiwa came into conflict with the ruling junta when he campaigned for the Ogoni people living in Nigeria’s oil basin in the South. The popular playwright criticized Sani Abacha’s military government and the powerful oil industry, charging that it had polluted and destroyed the region’s land and wildlife. The men would later come to be known as the Ogoni 9 following their executions. Saro-Wiwa and the eight others put to death were charged with murdering four men. They were convicted and sentenced to death at a special tribunal. Throughout, Saro-Wiwa maintained that he was being framed for criticizing Abacha’s regime. Abacha ignored pleas for clemency for the men from world leaders including then US President Bill Clinton. Nigeria was promptly kicked out of the Commonwealth of nations — an organization made up of 52 countries that were part of the British Empire — following the executions. In 2009, Shell paid out $15.5 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the now late son of the deceased Ken Saro-Wiwa Jr. and others including the deceased’s brother. The suit had accused the global oil conglomerate of complicity in the imprisonment, rights violation and ultimately, death of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the eight others. The case took 13 years to reach settlement and Shell denied wrongdoing but said it was making the payment on humanitarian grounds according to a statement published in the New York Times.

Long struggle

Kiobel was not a plaintiff in that suit. She and three other widows have been assisted in their long-running struggle by human rights group, Amnesty International — a first for the organization. “It is one of our more remarkable cases. It is very difficult to find lawyers and courts willing to take these cases,” says Audrey Gaughran, acting Senior Director of Research, Amnesty International, in a phone interview with CNN. Gaughran remains hopeful that with the evidence gathered over the years and the location of the case, the judgment will be in the claimants’ favor. “We think Mrs. Kiobel has a strong case… we believe that Shell is complicit in the execution of her husband, Ken Saro-Wiwa and the other men who were executed in 1995. We are optimistic that the court will ultimately see the same argument.”

Positive outcome

Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of Nigeria Limited, through its spokesperson, Precious Okolobo said in an email to CNN: “SPDC did not collude with the authorities to suppress community unrest and in no way encouraged or advocated any act of violence in Nigeria. “The executions of Ken Saro-Wiwa and his fellow Ogonis in 1995 were tragic events that were carried out by the military government in power at the time. “We were shocked and saddened when we heard the news of the executions. SPDC appealed to the Nigerian government to grant clemency. To our deep regret, that appeal, and the appeals made by many others within and outside Nigeria, went unheard.” Kiobel’s lawyer, Channa Samkalden is circumspect about a positive outcome. “It will be a difficult case, but it is also a very important one. The evidence shows how deeply involved Shell was in the activities leading to the death of the ‘Ogoni 9.’ “The fact that a court will assess that evidence and hold Shell to account will already bring some satisfaction,” she said in an email interview.

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Ken Saro-Wiwa 20 years on: Niger Delta still blighted by oil spills

Oil giant Shell sued by Nigerian widows for alleged complicity in executions of ‘Ogoni nine’

‘Shell and the military regime formed an alliance in the events leading to the deaths’, a writ filed at a court in The Hague alleges

Environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa was among those hanged

The widows of four men executed by Nigeria’s military regime in 1995 are suing oil giant Shell for allegedly aiding the army crackdown which led to their husbands’ deaths.

The women, led by one of the widows, Esther Kiobel, and supported by Amnesty International, filed a writ at a court in the Hague in which they are seeking an apology and unspecified damages.

Nine men, known as the Ogoni nine were hanged during the brutal military crackdown under the regime of dictator Sani Abacha. The hangings by a military court followed a peaceful uprising by 300,000 protesting against widespread environmental damage to the Niger Delta region caused by oil extraction. The incident provoked widespread international outcry. read more

Ogoni: Dutch Court to Investigate Shell’s Complicity in the Execution of Ogoni Nine

Ogoni: Dutch Court to Investigate Shell’s Complicity in the Execution of Ogoni Nine

Four widows of members of the so-called Ogoni Nine accuse Dutch oil company Shell of having been passive accomplices in the executions of their husbands in 1995. Ogoni activists such as Dr Barinem Kiobel and Ken Saro-Wiwa were sentenced to death by the infamous Abacha regime after they had participated in peaceful protests against Shell’s disastrous and reckless pollution of Ogoniland’s Niger Delta region. Nine prominent human rights defenders and activists had faced an unfair and biased trial, which had been harshly denounced by the international community and prominent human rights organisations. The widows seek reparation and accuse Shell of not only having turned a blind eye to their husbands’ cases even though the company had evidence of the Ogoni activists’ innocence, but also of actively encouraging the Nigerian regime to crack down brutally on peaceful Ogoni protesters. read more

Nigeria: Ogoni widows sue Shell over military crackdown

29 June 2017

The widows of four men executed by Nigeria’s military regime in 1995 are suing oil giant Shell for alleged complicity in a military crackdown.

The civil case, filed in The Hague in the Netherlands, argues that the company provided support to the army, which ultimately led to the executions.

Shell has repeatedly denied the claims.

Ken Saro-Wiwa was the best known of the nine men executed. He led protests against the environmental damage caused by oil production in the Niger Delta. read more

Widows of Nigerian activists launch civil case against Shell

June 29 at 5:50 AM THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The widows of four activists executed 22 years ago in Nigeria are launching a civil action in the Netherlands, alleging complicity by oil giant Shell in their husbands’ deaths, human rights organization Amnesty International said Thursday.

Amnesty said that Esther Kiobel is bringing the civil case at a court in The Hague along with Victoria Bera, Blessing Eawo and Charity Levula. The women are seeking a public apology and compensation.

Their husbands were among nine activists from the Ogoni tribe, led by writer Ken Saro-Wiwa, who were hanged in 1995 for the murder of four political rivals. Supporters say they were really targeted because of their involvement in protests against environmental damage by Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary. read more

IN THE DOCK: SHELL’S COMPLICITY IN THE ARBITRARY EXECUTION OF THE OGONI NINE

Oil giant Shell stands accused of complicity in the unlawful arrest, detention and execution of nine men who were hanged by Nigeria’s military government in the 1990s, Amnesty International can reveal today, following the launch of an explosive new case against the company in the Netherlands over four of the executions.

The civil case has been brought by Esther Kiobel, the widow of Dr Barinem Kiobel, and three other women. Esther has pursued Shell for 20 years over the death of her husband. He was hanged in 1995 along with the writer and human rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, and seven other men, collectively known as the Ogoni Nine. At the time the executions sparked a global outcry. read more

Shell faces court over Ogoni deaths

Royal Dutch Shell is facing a fresh legal challenge over alleged complicity in the execution of nine people killed by the Nigerian government after protests against the oil industry in the 1990s.

Esther Kiobel the widow of one of the “Ogoni nine”, has brought a civil case in the Netherlands. She fought a legal battle to have the case heard in the United States, but it was rejected in 2013.

In 2009 Shell agreed to pay $15.5 million to settle a separate action over the deaths, but it denied the allegations. read more

‎Widows of Ogoni leaders killed by Abacha sue Shell in Netherlands

Oladeinde Olawoyin

The widows of four of nine men executed by Nigeria’s military regime in 1995 have filed a civil lawsuit seeking compensation and an apology from Royal Dutch Shell.

The widows are Esther Kiobel, Victoria Bera, Blessing Eawo and Charity Levula.

According to a writ filed in a court in The Hague, the widows are seeking compensation from the company for alleged complicity in a military crackdown, leading to the deaths of their husbands.

The Nigerian military cracked down heavily on local opposition to oil production by a Shell joint venture in the Niger Delta region in the early 1990s. read more

Nigerian widows seek to sue Shell in Dutch courts

Shell was alleged to have helped in the arrest of Nigerian men who had sought to peacefully disrupt oil development in the region because of health and environmental impacts

Four Nigerian women are taking legal action in the Dutch courts against Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell accusing it of complicity in the 1990s executions of their husbands by the Nigerian military, Amnesty International said Thursday.

The civil case has been brought by Esther Kiobel, the widow of Barinem Kiobel, who was hanged in 1995 along with writer and campaigner Ken Saro-Wiwa and seven others. Three other widows are also joining the action in The Hague.

A writ was set to be placed before a civil court in The Hague on Thursday alleging that Shell was complicit “in the unlawful arrest, detention and execution of nine men who were hanged by Nigeria’s military government in the 1990s,” Amnesty said in a statement. read more

Ogoni widows file civil writ accusing Shell of complicity in Nigeria killings

The widows of men who were hanged by Nigeria’s military government in the 1990s have launched a civil case against Shell, accusing it of complicity in their husbands’ executions.

Esther Kiobel, the widow of Dr Barinem Kiobel, and three other women whose husbands were hanged in 1995, served a writ in a Dutch court this week, following a 20-year battle with the oil giant.

Kiobel’s husband was executed along with the writer and human rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, and seven other men, who became collectively known as the Ogoni nine. They were hanged in a military court following a peaceful uprising by 300,000 Ogonis against Shell’s widespread pollution in Ogoniland. read more

Widows of executed Nigerian activists seek Shell apology, compensation

By Ron Bousso | LONDON

The widows of four of nine men executed by Nigeria’s military regime in 1995 have filed a civil lawsuit seeking compensation and an apology from Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) for alleged complicity in a military crackdown, according to a writ filed in a court in The Hague.

The Nigerian military cracked down heavily on local opposition to oil production by a Shell joint venture in the Niger Delta in the early 1990s. The four widows allege that Shell provided support to the military in the crackdown that ultimately led to the executions of the men, known as the Ogoni 9. read more

Cravath Can’t Dodge Shell Docs Subpoena, 2nd Circ. Told

Cravath Can’t Dodge Shell Docs Subpoena, 2nd Circ. Told

Law360, New York (May 22, 2017, 3:42 PM EDT) — A Nigerian environmental and human rights advocate has urged the Second Circuit to uphold an order requiring Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP to turn over documents related to her planned litigation against Royal Dutch Shell in the Netherlands, saying the request is narrow and covers information already disclosed in a prior case.

Esther Kiobel’s brief to the appeals court comes in response to Cravath’s argument that Shell, not the law firm, must be the one to hand over the documents. Cravath had also asserted that Kiobel… read more

Kiobel v. Cravath: An Example of How a Little-Known U.S. Law can be Used as a Pre-Litigation Tool Overseas

Upasana Khatri: 22nd February 2017

When Esther Kiobel—who believes Shell collaborated with Nigerian authorities to commit gross human rights abuses, including the murder of her husband—could not find justice by suing Shell in U.S courts, she decided to sue the Dutch oil giant in the Netherlands. In support of the Dutch action, EarthRights International (ERI) helped Ms. Kiobel and her Dutch lawyers file an application under the Foreign Legal Assistance (FLA) Statute to gain access to important evidence originally gathered during the U.S. litigation. In December, a U.S. federal court granted Ms. Kiobel’s petition, allowing her access to documents housed in Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, the law firm that defended Shell in the U.S. read more

Bar, business groups back Cravath on fighting disclosure of Shell documents

By Jan Wolfe

The New York City Bar Association has joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in backing law firm Cravath Swaine & Moore in its appeal of an order to turn over documents belonging to client Royal Dutch Shell plc in a possible overseas lawsuit accusing the oil giant of facilitating human rights violations.

The New York City Bar Association filed an amicus brief in support of Cravath on Tuesday in the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, urging the court to reverse a ruling that the law firm produce Shell documents to Esther Kiobel, a Nigerian woman seeking to sue Shell in the Netherlands after she was previously blocked from doing so in the U.S. read more

Shitstorm of Nigeria related litigation hits Shell

Shell is facing what Americans might describe as a shitstorm of lawsuits arising from its Nigerian activities since the 1950’s. Litigation is current or pending in Nigeria, the USA, Italy, the UK and the Netherlands.

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Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Shell litigation

Posted on January 13th, 2017 by Sarah A. Altschuller

The name Kiobel is familiar to many who follow litigation regarding human rights in the United States. Esther Kiobel was a plaintiff in the Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum litigation that led to the 2013 Supreme Court decision which established that the presumption against extraterritoriality applies in cases brought pursuant to the Alien Tort Statute.

Ms. Kiobel is back in U.S. court, this time pursuing access to documents held by Cravath, Swaine, & Moore LLP, which represented Royal Dutch Shell in the earlier litigation. read more

Widow of executed activist wins access to documents in claims against Shell

Written by Reporter – 12/01/2017 3:31 pm

The widow of an activist executed after protesting against oil major Shell’s oil production in Nigeria has won access to legal documents.

They will be used in a legal case for damages against the oil giant which Esther Kiobel plans to pursue in the Netherlands.

It comes after a US judge told Shell’s US lawyers to handover the documents about Shell’s activities in Africa.

Kiobel has alleged Shell was complicit in the execution of her late husband, alongside author and environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, by the Nigerian military in 1995 because it provided support and funding for the army in its crackdown of opposition to a Shell-led joint venture in the Niger Delta. read more

Shell’s attorneys ordered to give Nigerian activist’s widow files for Dutch lawsuit

By REUTERSPUBLISHED: 21:04, 11 January 2017

By Tom Bergin

LONDON, Jan 11 (Reuters) – The widow of an activist executed after protesting against Royal Dutch Shell’s oil production in Nigeria has won access to legal documents for use in a legal case for damages against the oil giant that she says she plans to launch in the Netherlands.

A U.S. judge in December told Shell’s U.S. lawyers to give Esther Kiobel documents about Shell’s activities in Nigeria, according to her lawyers and a court transcript obtained by protest website royaldutchshellplc.com and seen by Reuters. read more

A devastating blow for Shell in U.S. Federal Court

See: Shell faces possible Dutch lawsuit over Nigerian activist’s execution

The Dutch Kiobel Case will allege that Netherlands-based Royal Dutch Shell and its predecessors were complicit in gross violations of civil liberties and human rights directed at Dr Kiobel and Esther Kiobel, including arbitrary detention and arrest; attempted rape; cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment; and violations of the right to a fair trial and the right to life.  (Extract from petition)

Esther Kiobel holds Shell responsible for the murder of her late husband, Ogoni leader Dr. Barinem Kiobel. read more

21st Anniversary Commemoration of Ogoni Martyrs

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-10-26-17Text of a Statement By Legborsi Saro Pyagbara, President of MOSOP,  on the Occasion of the Memorial Service held  on November 11, 2016, in Bane, Ogoniland, for the 21st Anniversary Commemoration of Ogoni Martyrs and the passing away of Ken Wiwa Jr.

On 10th November 1995, the Ogoni nation suffered a devastating blow. The Nigeria government and Shell murdered nine Ogoni sons in cold blood for standing up for the truth and for justice. That action routed the world to see things for the first time in the way that we saw things. That singular action exposed the deep abyss of bestiality and brigandage in which Nigeria had sunk. That action signaled to the world that groups like the Ogoni people are imperiled and may not get justice, dignity and any sense of decency in this country called Nigeria. It demonstrated that the Nigeria system was not working for most of its people. read more

Shell threatened with Dutch lawsuit over activist’s death in Nigeria

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-17-50-47By Kathryn Higgins: 26 Oct 2016

Esther Kiobel has accused Shell of being complicit in the murder of her husband, anti-oil activist Barinem Kiobel who was executed by the Nigerian military in 1995. Court documents filed in New York last week show that Ms Kiobel plans to commence legal action against the company before the end of this year, with Shell’s home country the Netherlands the most likely setting for the legal showdown. The application in New York is an attempt to secure key documents from Shell’s lawyers that could be of use in the Dutch action. read more

Royal Dutch conspired with the Nigerian government

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Esther Kiobel filed a briefin the Southern District of New York on October 12 seeking permission to issue subpoenas against Cravath, Swaine & Moore. The request was for the production of documents for a lawsuit expected to be filed in the Netherlands. The lawsuit is connected to a previous case in which Kiobel was a lead plaintiff, Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum. In this case, Kiobel alleged human rights and civil liberty violations against the oil and gas giant’s operations in Nigeria’s Ogoni region. The Dutch case, expected to be filed in late 2016, intends to allege that Royal Dutch conspired with the Nigerian government to commit human rights violations against the Ogoni people. Cravath represented Royal Dutch in the U.S lawsuits and this application intends to obtain the discovery from those cases. read more

Esther Kiobel Torture Case Against Shell Returns to NYC: John Donovan’s role

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US COURT DOCUMENT FILED 12 OCTOBER 2016

Published Friday 14 October 2016.

MANHATTAN (CN) — Dusting off Supreme Court defeat following one of biggest human-rights battles in decades, a Nigerian woman accusing Royal Dutch Shell of conspiring to torture environmental activists in her homeland returned to New York to prepare for new litigation in the Netherlands.

Esther Kiobel filed her latest lawsuit in Manhattan Federal Court on Wednesday, seeking information to take on the oil giant near its international headquarters. read more

Shell faces possible Dutch lawsuit over Nigerian activist’s execution

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By Tom Bergin | LONDON

The widow of a Nigerian activist is planning to sue Royal Dutch Shell in the Dutch courts alleging the oil company was complicit in the execution of her husband by the Nigerian military in 1995, court documents filed in the United States last week show.

Esther Kiobel has filed an application in New York to secure documents from Shell’s U.S. lawyers, which she could use in the Dutch action.

The filings with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District Court of New York said she planned to begin that action before the end of the year. read more

Investors look beyond Big Oil’s worst quarter yet

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LONDON | BY KAROLIN SCHAPS AND RON BOUSSO: Sun Apr 24, 2016

The world’s top oil companies are set to report their worst quarterly results yet in the current downturn but a recent recovery in crude prices is raising hopes the market has bottomed out.

An ever intensifying oil supply glut took global prices to a near 13-year low of $27.10 a barrel on Jan. 20, exacerbating pressure on oil producers already grappling with a more than 70 percent slide in prices since mid-2014.

“The 1Q16 reporting period looks set to be even worse than what we thought was already an especially ugly 4Q15,” said Jason Gammel, equity analyst at Jefferies. read more

ExxonMobil Indonesian Villagers Human Rights Abuse Case to Proceed in Federal Court

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 16.09.32ExxonMobil Indonesian Villagers Human Rights Abuse Case to Proceed in Federal Court

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 14.58.54In the interim, in 2010, the Supreme Court restricted the types of claims that could be heard under the Alien Tort Statute in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, a case involving allegations of human rights abuses by Royal Dutch Shell in Nigeria.

WASHINGTON, July 7, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — In a significant victory for families of Indonesian citizens who were killed or abused by security personnel hired by Exxon Mobil Corporation, a Federal court has ruled the Alien Tort Statute claims against Exxon Mobil for human rights violations can proceed. Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC serves as counsel for the plaintiffs.

In an opinion issued on July 6, Judge Royce C. Lamberth, of the U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, held that the plaintiffs’ claims sufficiently “touch and concern” the United States to satisfy the test recently set out by the U.S. Supreme Court in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum for when suits arising out of injuries inflicted overseas can be heard in U.S. courts. read more

Shell-BG Deal Puts Pressure on Big Oil to Consolidate Again

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Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 08.12.04Article by Javier Blas12:47 PM BST April 8, 2015 published by Bloomberg.com

In the words of Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s boss, the fundamental logic behind his decision to buy BG Group Plc “always existed.”

What pushed the $70 billion deal over the finish line was that it had become “very compelling from a value perspective” after oil prices fell by half to $50 a barrel.

Ben van Beurden is unlikely to be alone among the chief executive officers of the world’s largest oil companies in thinking that valuations are looking very persuasive.

Just as the first deal between BP Plc and Amoco Corp. during a previous oil price slump in 1998 triggered a wave of deals, the Shell-BG merger is likely to push big oil to consolidate again. read more

5 YEARS BEFORE OIL RETURNS TO $100 PER BARREL?

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Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 18.34.00By John Donovan

The Trefis Team has published an extensive, highly informative article under the headline:

“Where Are Oil Prices Headed In The Long Run?”

It takes many factors into account before forecasting that annual average crude oil prices are likely to continue to decline in the short to medium term and bottom out by 2017, to reach $100 per barrel again by 2020.

This expert analysis will not be well received by Big Oil, its employees or Putin.

FULL ARTICLE

We can expect to see many more news reports like this one:

Chevron Withdraws From A Multi-Billion Dollar Project In Ukraine

US energy giant Chevron has informed Ukraine about its decision to pull out of a $10 billion shale gas exploration project. This comes as a big blow to the already war-torn economy of the country. The withdrawal of the project came a few months after Royal Dutch Shell also withdrew from a multi-billion dollar exploration project in the country. read more

Evil repercussions of Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum U.S. Supreme Court Decision

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Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 09.22.43Plaintiff Esther Kiobel (L) joins a protest against Royal Dutch Shell Petroleum in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington October 1, 2012. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

By John Donovan

Yesterday, Reuters published an article about the legal repercussions in the USA from the landmark decision in 2013 by the U.S. Supreme Court in the famed Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum co case.

Access is provided here to the 35 page judgement issued by the Supreme Court of the United States on April 17, 2013

Esther Kiobel is a regular visitor to this website and says that her husband Barinem Kiobel was executed by the Nigerian regime with the backing of Shell, which she has correctly described as an evil corporation. read more

Esther Kiobel castigates UK and Dutch joint intervention in U.S. Supreme Court Case

Esther Kiobel of Kiobel-v-Shell fame speaking at an Amnesty International Event

By John Donovan

Amnesty International published an article in April 2014 revealing that the British government had intervened on the side of Royal Dutch Shell in the Kiobel-v-Shell case before the U.S. Supreme Court  and had done so after being lobbied by Shell. A related document obtained in response to a Freedom of Information request confirmed that the Dutch government joined Shell in the representations made to the U.S. Supreme Court. Seems safe to assume that Shell also made representations to the Dutch government.  read more

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