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Friends of the Earth Netherlands appeal Shell case


20:02, May 02, 2013

THE HAGUE, May 2 (Xinhua) -- Friends of the Earth Netherlands and Nigerian farmers from two different towns have submitted an appeal against an earlier court decision in the case against the Anglo-Dutch oil company Royal Dutch Shell operating in Nigeria, it was announced Wednesday.

Friends of the Earth will also appeal against a third case related to oil spills from Shell pipelines in the Niger Delta in Nigeria.

On Jan. 30, Shell was ordered to pay compensation to one Nigerian farmer for damages caused by oil pollution, a court in the Hague ruled.

In an oil spill case near the village of Ikot Ada Udo, the court stated: "Shell Nigeria, pursuant to applicable Nigerian law, has violated a duty of care and shall be held liable for tort of negligence."

In this case, however, the court ruled that Shell headquarters in the Hague could not be held liable for the failures of its subsidiary, which is responsible for the daily management of Shell in Nigeria.

"Friends of the Earth hopes that the court in the Hague will reverse its decision on this point. For us it is clear that the headquarters shares responsibility for the massive environmental damage in Nigeria," Friends of the Earth said in a statement.

In four other similar cases, the Anglo-Dutch oil company was acquitted from paying for damages caused by oil spills in Nigeria.

The court established that the four other oil spills were not caused by defective maintenance by Shell, but by sabotage from third parties and therefore Shell could not be held liable.

Four Nigerian farmers and fishermen initiated joint lawsuits with Friends of the Earth Netherlands in a unique case where victims from one of Shell's subsidiaries abroad pursued a civil liability claim in the country where Shell has its headquarters.

Friends of the Earth Netherlands press officer Geert Ritsema earlier told Xinhua the ruling was a legal breakthrough because it was "the first time a Dutch court held a company operating abroad liable."

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