US Supreme Court backs Shell
The nine justices of the US Supreme Court unanimously said that a court in the state of New York could not hear a case against the Shell oil firm, over alleged abuses in Nigeria.
The case was filed by 12 Nigerians who argued that the firm was complicit in a deadly crackdown on protesters from 1992-95. The plaintiffs were led by Esther Kiobel, the widow of one of the Ogoni Nine, Barinem Kiobel. Also killed alongside Saro-Wiwa by the Abacha government were Saturday Dobee, Mordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko and Paul Levera.
The rest were Felix Nuate, BariborBera and John Kpuine.
The ruling on one of the biggest human rights cases in years has been seen as a victory for corporations.
The plaintiffs in the case accused Shell of complicity in the murder and other abuses committed by the military government of the late General Sani Abacha against its citizens in the oil-rich Niger Delta two decades ago.
But Chief Justice Roberts said in his opinion that the Alien Tort Statute, a law passed in 1789, could not be used in the case against Shell because the law was not intended to be applied outside the US.