In a series of rulings issued yesterday, the United States (US) District Court Judge in San Francisco, Susan Illston, ruled that Chevron was directly involved in the attacks and murders which occurred against villagers in the Niger Delta region, in 1998 and 1999. Chevron Nigeria will be standing trial later this year.
From All Africa.com – According to information made available to THISDAY, Judge Illston “found evidence that CNL [Chevron Nigeria Limited] personnel were directly involved in the attacks; CNL transported the GSF [Nigerian government security forces], CNL paid the GSF; and CNL knew that GSF were prone to use excessive force.”
The report alleged that the crime occurred when the Nigerian Military and Police were paid by Chevron to shoot and torture protesters opposed to the company’s activities in the troubled region. Chevron helicopters and boats were used by the security forces, resulting in torture and wrongful death, it further alleged.
The said evidence, the Judge said, will allow a jury to find that Chevron knew the attacks would happen and supported the military’s plan.
“We’re pleased that our clients will finally get justice for Chevron’s crimes,” said the plaintiffs’ counsel Theresa Traber, partner at Traber & Voorhees.
Continuing, she said, “Chevron conspired with and paid the notorious Nigerian military to attack our clients and their loved ones, murdering at least seven people, torturing others and burning two villages to the ground. The court correctly refused to let narrow legalistic excuses allow Chevron to escape responsibility for these brutal attacks.”
In his statement, the Litigation Co-ordinator for EarthRights International, Rick Herz said that “the court’s ruling reaffirmed that corporations who are complicit in human rights abuses can be held accountable, regardless of where those abuses occur.” (source)
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