THE HAGUE, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- Shell has been ordered to pay compensation to one Nigerian farmer for damages caused by oil pollution, a court in the Hague ruled on Wednesday.
The amount of the fine shall be determined in a separate case. However, in four similar cases, the Anglo-Dutch oil company was acquitted from paying for damages caused by oil spills in Nigeria.
Four Nigerian farmers and fishermen initiated joint lawsuits with Friends of the Earth Netherlands in a landmark case where victims from one of Shell's subsidiaries abroad pursued a civil liability claim in the country where Shell has its headquarters.
In the case about oil spills near the village of Ikot Ada Udo, the court stated: "Shell Nigeria, pursuant to applicable Nigerian law, has violated a duty of care and shall be held liable for tort of negligence."
However, the court established that the four other oil spills were not caused by defective maintenance by Shell, but by sabotage from third parties. "Pursuant to applicable Nigerian law, an oil company is not liable for oil spills caused by sabotage in principle," read a court statement.
"In the view of the court, Shell Nigeria had taken sufficient precautions to prevent the sabotage from its underground oil pipelines," it added.
Friends of the Earth had demanded Shell clean up the pollution in the villages, compensate the farmers for the damage and pay for the maintenance of the pipelines. The environmental organization said they would appeal the decision.