Brought under the Alien Tort Claims Act by Ken Saro-Wiwa, Jr., son of the murdered Nigerian poet and Ogoni activist Ken Saro-Wiwa (prior post), the lawsuit alleged that Royal Dutch Shell Company, its Nigerian subsidiary, Shell Petroleum Development Company, and the former head of Nigerian operations, Brian Anderson were all complicit in murder, torture, crimes against humanity and other crimes.
My CUNY colleague Jennie Green was one of the attorneys representing the Nigerian plaintiffs, along with lawyers from EarthRights International, the Center for Constitutional Rights (where Jennie is also a Senior Staff attorney) and the private law firms Schonbrun, DeSimone, Seplow, Harris and Hoffman, and Cohen, Milstein, Sellers and Toll. (and probably many others of whom I am unaware.) Not only did the attorneys recover more than $15 million for the families of the murder victims, but their victory sends a message that multinational corporations can no longer act with impunity. I have previously written about the need to hold corporate entities criminally liable when they violate of human rights. As Ken Saro-Wiwa said before he was executed, he was indeed a man of ideas and his ideas still live! This is indeed a victory for human rights and for environmental justice everywhere!