Bowoto v. Chevron
Bowoto v. Chevron is a class action lawsuit
charging Chevron/Texaco Corporation with gross
violations of human rights including extrajudicial
killing; crimes against humanity; and cruel,
inhuman, or degrading treatment in the Niger
Delta region. It was filed in both the U.S. District
Court for the Northern District of California and
the Superior Court of California.
The suit was decided by a jury on December 1,
2008. Jurors unanimously agreed that Chevron
was not liable for any of the numerous allegations.
Case has been closed.
The plaintiffs – unarmed protestors and innocent
citizens of the Niger Delta region of Niger – seek
compensation injunctive and other relief under
the federal Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) which
allows suits in U.S courts against individuals or
corporations that commit human rights violations.
The plaintiffs also seek compensation under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations
Act (RICO) and California state law.
In May 1998, unarmed residents of the Niger Delta protested at Chevron’s offshore Parabe Platform,
demanding that the corporation contribute more resources to the development of the impoverished oil
region. Even though negotiations seemed to be moving, on the morning of May 28, the protestors were shot
and some killed by Nigerian soldiers and Chevron security personnel who were transported to the platform
on Chevron-leased helicopters.
The suit also charges that the defendant, Chevron/Texaco, and its subsidiaries' actions in the Niger
Delta have caused the destruction of riverbeds, natural ecosystems, and have contributed to extreme
Source: CCR (Center for Constitutional Rights internet publication. CCR: US organisation dedicated at protecting the
rights guaranteed by the US Constituation. Since the 1960s, the non-profit organisation has helped to re-open
investigation in cases of obvious injustice.)
Additional information: “There is a symbiotic relationship between the military dictatorship and the multinational
companies who grease the palms of those who rule….They are assassins in foreign lands. They drill and they kill in
Nigeria.” Human Rights Activist Oronto Douglas in a radio interview. The incident that was taken up in the Bowoto v.
Chevron lawsuit is one of numberless similar ones.
Words and expressions: Chevron/Texaco: the US oil company Texaco changed its name into Chevron in Nigeria.
class action lawsuit: Sammelklage. extrajudicial: außergerichtlich. to seek compensation injunctive relief:
Unterlassungsansprüche geltend machen (ausbleibende Kompensationszahlungen), racketeer: unsauberer
Geschäftsmann, plaintiff: Ankläger, Parabe: Name of a place. subsidiary: Niederlassung, Tochtergesellschaft.
symbiotic relationship: partners helping themselves by helping one another. to grease the palms of sb: jmd. bestechen
1. Sum up what happened in Nigeria and how the High Court of California dealt with it. 30%
2. Describe the cartoon and interpret it. 50%
3. Does the injustice inflicted on Nigerian people concern us (you and me)? Discuss. 20%