Royal Dutch Shell is facing a lawsuit from four Nigerian villagers. The trial opened today in The Hague that could not only force Shell to compensate for the pollution of cropland and water courses, but also set a precedent for damage claims against other international companies.
According to Radio Netherlands, the four farmers that filed the lawsuit are demanding compensation and interventions in protection of the environment in connection to an incident that occurred in 2005 in the southern Niger Delta region.
The trial was opened on decision of the Dutch justice authorities that three years ago declared competency on the case, despite the Shell claimed that the responsibilities fell solely on its Nigerian subsidiary.
The trial that opened today is not the only case against the Royal-Dutch Shell for its activities in Nigeria. Last March, a similar trial opened in London based on a lawsuit filed by 11,000 fishermen of the Delta.
Also in this case, the charge is of depriving entire villages of means of subsistence.