Niger Delta: US Supreme Court rejects bid to sue Chevron

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The US Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up an appeal by 19 Nigerians seeking to invoke a US anti-torture law to sue oil giant Chevron over deaths in the Niger Delta.

The decision by the top US court not to intervene follows its unanimous finding last week that the law — the Torture Victim Protection Act — only allows lawsuits against individuals, not against corporations or organizations.

The finding lets stand a federal appeals court ruling in San Francisco that threw out the suit by the Nigerian demonstrators.

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The plaintiffs claimed that they and their loved ones suffered deaths and injuries at the hands of Nigerian military personnel who used brutal force to crack down on an offshore oil platform protest in the Niger Delta in 1998.

The plaintiffs in the case, Bowoto vs. Chevron, alleged that Chevron’s Nigeria subsidiary backed the military action and that the US parent company should be held liable.