Thursday, July 29, 2010

A little bit of justice

In 2006, Trafigura, a multinational company, dumped masses of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast. Thousands of locals suffered the consequences, but the company went largely

If you've been following the Trafigura/Ivory Coast story (or happened to see Bagassi Koura's excellent short film on the subject, The Stinking Ship), the events of last week will be somewhat heartening. Previously, courts had found it difficult to lay a glove on Trafigura, but a Dutch court nailed the company last week. There's good reporting at the Guardian and the BBC, both of which were the targets of earlier legal onslaughts by Trafigura for reporting the story.

At the open forum after the showing of his film, I remember Bagassi saying that the chances of a court victory for the victims of the 2006 dumping of toxic waste seemed slim because libel laws allowed Trafigura to slither to safety. It remains to be seen whether this opens up the possibility for more claims or actions in other countries.

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