Amsterdam.– Greenpeace condemns the deal struck between the Presidency of the Cote d'Ivoire and the Trafigura group. Trafigura will reportedly pay 152 million towards clean-up costs, without accepting liability or responsibility for the dumping of highly toxic chemical wastes from their ship, the Probo Koala.
In return, the President has agreed to drop all charges against the company and its executives (who will now be released from prison) and undertaken not to pursue any further financial claims against the Trafigura.
The results of the criminal investigations in Cote d'Ivoire, The Netherlands and Estonia have not yet been published and the committee commissioned by Cote d'Ivoire to look into the international implications of the disaster (CIEDT//Commission Internationale d'Enquete sur les Dechets Toxiques dans le District d'Abidjan/) is scheduled to publish its report today, 14th of February 2007.
The report, which was commissioned by the Cote d'Ivoire government, will attribute responsibilities of international players.
"One cannot do justice without knowing the facts in their entirety. At this stage, it would have been more appropriate to secure a provisional settlement with an advance payment, rather than one that closes the books definitively, especially when the full extent of liabilities have not yet been determined," said Jasper Teulings, Senior Legal Counsel, Greenpeace International.
Although this settlement has no bearing on the legal rights of the victims of this disaster, it is feared that the victims will now receive little, if any, support from their government in pursuing justice.
"This Faustian deal may provide the Cote D'Ivoire the much-needed funds to deal with the clean-up, but it is by no means fair. Trade in hazardous waste is a serious crime under international law, and by agreeing to this deal, the President has signed away his country's right to bring a criminal corporation to justice," said Helen Perivier, Toxics Campaigner, Greenpeace International.
"The ease with which international environmental laws are broken and questionable deals exchanged for real justice, painfully highlights yet again, that the international community creates laws but simply lacks the political will to implement and enforce them."