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Jury clears Chevron in trial in USA over alleged complicity with shootings in Nigeria - plaintiffs say they will appeal

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3 December 2008

Summary profile of Chevron lawsuit re Nigeria in USA

Author: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

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Author: AFP

...Chevron a salué lundi la décision d'un tribunal fédéral de San Francisco...qui l'a acquitté d'une accusation de complicité d'atteinte aux droits de l'Homme dans une affaire de prise d'otages sanglante au Nigeria...Le pétrolier avait réclamé l'aide des autorités nigérianes, dont l'intervention armée s'était soldée par la mort de deux manifestants...Selon l'organisation "Justice in Nigeria Now", plusieurs autres manifestants, qui étaient "non armés" et se livraient à un "sit-in pacifique"...avaient été "blessés à vie", et d'autres avaient été emprisonnés et torturés.

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2 December 2008

Chevron cleared in 1998 shootings at Nigerian oil platform

Author: Richard Paddock, Los Angeles Times

A federal jury Monday cleared Chevron Corp. of any responsibility in the shooting of Nigerian villagers by military forces during a protest at an offshore oil platform... Survivors of the 1998 incident had argued that the oil company should be held accountable because it paid the police and soldiers and transported them by helicopter to the oil platform, where they shot and killed two unarmed protesters and wounded two others... Chevron...countered that the villagers were holding workers hostage at the platform and that the company acted responsibly by calling in local authorities to protect them... Bert Voorhees, an attorney for the Nigerian villagers, said the plaintiffs' team of attorneys would appeal... Naomi Roht-Arriaza, a professor at UC Hastings' College of the Law who observed part of the trial, said the verdict appears to have turned on the facts in the case, not on whether the Alien Torts Statute should apply. [also refers to Unocal lawsuit]

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2 December 2008

Chevron Wins an Alien Tort Statute Case - But the Victory May Be Less Important than It Might Seem

Author: Anthony Sebok, Cardozo Law School [USA], on FindLaw

Yesterday, a federal jury in San Francisco rejected every claim made by a group of Nigerians who had sued Chevron for its role in aiding and abetting a brutal 1998 attack by Nigerian government forces…. In this column, I will argue that the verdict is much less significant than it seems, and that critics of the ATS should be wary of reading too much into Chevron's victory. [also refers to Drummond]

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1 December 2008

Chevron Case Weighs Extent of Overseas Liability

Author: Russell Gold, Wall Street Journal

A bloody protest by Nigerian villagers against Chevron Corp. in 1998 has led to a closely watched federal lawsuit that could have a far-reaching impact on how multinational companies conduct business overseas. The jury in the civil trial…began deliberating its verdict Tuesday. Its conclusion could strengthen an evolving legal frontier: Can multinational companies be hauled into U.S. courts and held accountable for alleged human-rights violations that occur on its properties overseas?... The case centers on a 1998 protest involving about 100 Ilaje villagers from coastal Nigeria, who occupied an offshore oil facility owned by Chevron. After the villagers stayed for three days, Chevron called in the Nigerian military to remove them. The response was bloody: two protesters were shot and killed. Others were taken into custody and allegedly tortured, according to court filings... [It] is a major test of the Alien Tort Claims Act against a major corporation. It is also the first time the courts have tested whether a corporation can be held responsible for the actions of local authorities it calls in for protection... The suit against Chevron raises a set of tough issues for oil companies with large capital investments overseas. In Nigeria and many other countries, multinational corporations aren't allowed to maintain their own security forces and must rely on the military for protection, says Sebastian Spio-Garbrah, an analyst with political-risk consultant Eurasia Group... “Corporations are watching to see if a U.S. jury is willing to award damages in a situation where a corporation is indirectly responsible,” says Chimene Keitner, an associate law professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law… [also refers to Drummond, Shell]

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