Victory for wives of slain Ogoni leaders as Dutch court rules against Shell – The Nation Newspaper

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IT was a major victory yesterday for the wives of four slain Ogoni leaders. A Dutch court gave an interim ruling in favour the women who sued oil giant Shell. The women, Esther Kiobel, Victoria Bera, Blessing Eawo and Charity Levula, sued Shell for its alleged role in the unlawful arrest, detention and execution of their husbands in 1995 by the administration of former military Head of State, the late Gen. Sani Abacha. Shell, which was extracting oil from Ogoni, had argued that the District Court of The Hague lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit. But the court ruled otherwise. According to a statement by Amnesty International (AI), the court yesterday issued an interim ruling in the case instituted by Mrs Kiobel and the three other women with regard to Shell’s involvement in the unlawful arrest, detention and execution of their husbands by the Federal Government. The court ruled in favour of the plaintiffs, establishing that it has jurisdiction of the case and that this should not be time-barred. The court also ruled that Shell should hand over some confidential internal documents to the plaintiffs’ lawyers, and that they would have the opportunity to examine witnesses. AI’s Head of Business & Human Rights, Mark Dummett, said: “This decision marks a vital step towards justice for Esther and the other plaintiffs. It also sets an important precedent for other victims around the world who are seeking to hold powerful corporations to account, and who struggle to access justice. “We salute Esther Kiobel, Victoria Bera, Blessing Eawo and Charity Levula. It’s only because of their courage and persistence that we’ve got this far.”
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