Kiobel v. Shell Oil Corporation: Supreme Court Gives Corporations Free Pass to murderSubmitted by Bob-45 on Mon, 07/08/2013 - 02:21
Kiobel v. Shell Oil Corporation: Supreme Court Gives Corporations Free Pass
June 4, 2013
Several months ago, we reported on a case before the Supreme Court, Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, in which nine activists from the Ogoni community in the Niger Delta (the ‘Ogoni Nine’) were executed for protesting against the devastating impact of Shell’s operations there. A case was filed under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) in the US, and was decided in April.
The case hung on two points:
Can the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) be used to seek redress for victims of human rights abuses when foreigners carry out such abuses in foreign countries?
Can corporations, as opposed to individuals working for corporations, be held liable for human rights violations under the ATS?
On the first point, the Court found that the location of human rights abuses is the primary factor, and that the ATS applies only to defendants in the US or on the high seas. With this decision, the Supreme Court has done away with the most effective tool human rights activists have used to seek redress for the victims of global human rights abuse and have overturned thirty years of precedent.