2 years ago
On Tuesday (May 26 2009), there was a last-minute announcement that the trial is postponed with no new date given but it is expected to commence soon, and the plaintiffs -- Ogoni villagers and family members of people who were killed -- will finally have their day in court.There has been a flurry of media attention as the lawyers prepare for battle in the courtroom.
However, some of the most interesting events are happening behind-the-scenes in the lead up to the trial. They show that Shell continues to do everything in its power to keep the truth from coming out.
On May 12, Shell's lawyers filed a motion opposing the admission of prominent human rights attorney Paul Hoffman to serve as trial counsel for the plaintiffs.
[download PDF of the document]
As standard procedure for a trial of this kind, Hoffman had filed a "pro hac vice" application with the court. The Latin pro hac vice is a legal term meaning "for this occasion," and refers to the lawyer being granted permission to serve in a state where he or she may not hold a law license. In this case, California-based Hoffman was filing to represent the plaintiffs in federal court in New York.
In the motion by Shell's lawyers to oppose Hoffman as counsel, they explain how seriously they take it:
"Defendants' counsel have over 70 years of experience among us, and none of the three of us has ever had occasion to oppose a pro hac vice application."So why was Shell opposing Hoffman's participation in the trial?
The video Shell doesn’t want you to see
May 5th, 2009
This 8 1/2-minute mini-documentary is an excellent introduction to what is at stake in the upcoming Wiwa v. Shell trial. It was produced by Rikshaw Films for EarthRights International (ERI) & the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the plaintiffs’ co-counsel in the case.
Business as usual: Shell trying to suppress the truth. The video was a highlight of the WiwavShell.org website run by ERI & CCR to educate the public about the trial but it was recently removed. Investigation of public legal documents reveal that the video was removed under order from the trial judge after legal motions by Shell. Read the story about it on Huffington Post.
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