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Assault on Dissent, Conflict Mining/Resources, Environment, HIV/AIDS, Niger Delta, Nigeria

Wiwa v Shell postponed indefinitely means what?

The trial has been delayed over and over and finally well we thought finally it was due to start on the 26th May and then 27th May. Another cancellation and now we learn that both the trial and the pre-trial conference have been delayed indefinitely. What is going on? Steve Kretzmann Han Shan speculates on the Shell Guility Blog on what could be causing the delay and comes up with four possibilities:

1) A new pre-trial conference and trial is round the corner – Possible but why say indefinitely if this is the case.

2) A settlement is being negotiated – Though Kretzmann Shan like the rest of us would prefer to see the trial go ahead he is sympathetic to a settlement. I am not and I think many progressive thinking Nigerians would agree. The trial is now bigger than the Ogoni 8, the Ogoni people. The whole Niger Delta and Nigeria for that matter wants to see Shell exposed and hopefully the Nigerian government as well. Why come this far only to end up settling? More of a shame than a victory.

3) Delayed to broaden the case. Like Kretzmann Shan this is the best possible scenario though like him I am not sure what it means. Maybe to include other crimes by Shell?

4) Finally a “technical” reason based on whether or not Shell or Shell Nigeria can fall under the jurisdiction of the US courts – complicated so you may need to read Kretzmann’s Shan’s explanation!