Judges in The Hague will on Tuesday begin hearing a case against Shell brought by four Nigerian women who hold the oil giant partly responsible for the death of their husbands in 1995.
The men were executed by the Nigerian military regime and the widows say Shell had repeatedly urged state officials to act against protestors campaigning against the pollution caused by oil extraction in Ogoniland.
Nine men, including the Nigerian writer Ken Saro-Wiwa, were executed after being sentenced to death by a military court.
The women are demanding both an apology and compensation.
First up on the stand today will be Esther Kiobel, whose husband Barinem Kiobel was among those killed. She first filed a case against Shell in New York in 2002, but in 2013 the US Supreme Court ruled that the US did not have jurisdiction.
Esther Kiobel today received 29240 messages of support from @amnesty members. Tomorrow she will face Shell in court and ask for justice in the name of her late husband Barinem Kiobel. pic.twitter.com/f3wZ094b19
— Sabrina Tucci (@sabrinatucci) February 11, 2019
‘This hearing is important not only for the individuals involved but also because of the message it sends to Shell and other corporations around the world: no matter where and when they took place, you have to answer for your involvement in human rights violations,’ Amnesty International researcher Mark Dummett said on Twitter.
Ten years ago, Saro-Wiwa’s family was given $15.5m by Shell, although the company said this was a ‘humanitarian gesture’ and did not accept it had done anything wrong.
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