For Immediate Release
David Lerner, Riptide Communications (212) 260-5000 or (917) 612-5656
Appeals Court Rules Against Shell Nigeria, Allows Plaintiffs to Seek Further Information to Establish Connections to United States
NEW YORK - Today, the Second Circuit Court of
Appeals overturned the District Court decision dismissing the Wiwa v. Shell plaintiffs’ claims
against Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, Ltd. (Shell Nigeria).
The District Court had dismissed the case against Shell Nigeria on March 4,
2008, finding it did not have jurisdiction over the company because the plaintiffs
had failed to establish that Shell Nigeria was doing sufficient business in the
United States to justify
trying them in U.S.
courts. The effect of the appellate court decision is to permit the
plaintiffs to seek further information to establish Shell Nigeria’s
connections to the United
“This is yet another victory in the plaintiffs’ long
struggle for justice,” said Center for
Constitutional Rights Cooperating Attorney Judith Brown Chomsky.
“This is another step in holding Shell Nigeria accountable for its role
in the human rights violations in Ogoni.”
The case, which concerns the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and other Ogoni
leaders and other abuses against the Ogoni people in Nigeria, has been continued several
times. There is no information at the moment about what the next steps in
the case will be.
The case, filed in 1996, is being brought by the Center for
Constitutional Rights and EarthRights International and other human rights lawyers, on behalf
of relatives of murdered activists. The case charges the defendants with
complicity in the November 10, 1995, hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa and other leaders
opposed to Shell’s pattern of human rights and environmental abuses in
the Niger Delta. The case also include claims for the torture, detention,
and forced exile of Mr. Saro-Wiwa’s brother, Dr. Owens Wiwa, and Michael
Tema Vizor; and the shooting of Karololo Kogbara and Uebari N-nah in two
earlier attacks on peaceful protestors by Nigerian military.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.