A travesty of justice

Posted: June 8th, 2010 by Militant Libertarian

by Richard, EUReferendum

For all the hyperventilation and anti British rhetoric by the American greenies over the Deepwater oil spill, they do at least have in BP a company that has devoted considerable resources and expense to dealing with the ensuing crisis – and which has taken full responsibility for the damage done by er …. US drilling contractor Transocean.

However, with a criminal investigation now in the offing, it is perhaps apposite to note the outcome of a trial in Bhopal Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

This comes twenty-six years after the world’s worst industrial disaster, on 3 December 1984 when 3,500 people died immediately and over 15,000 in the days afterwards when a giant poisonous cloud of methyl isocyanate leaked from the factory and rolled into a neighbouring slum.

Now, seven former managers of Bhopal’s Union Carbide pesticide factory have been found guilty of causing death by negligence. But, because the charges pursued against the executives were reduced by the Indian Supreme Court in 1996 from culpable homicide to death by negligence, the local court could only hand down a maximum sentence of two years in jail.

Even then, the guilty men were able to leave the court after a few hours, armed with bail orders after furnishing bonds of 25,000 rupees and personal sureties of the same amount (totalling about £700 each).

Victims’ relatives and activists protested that the verdict was a travesty of justice and an insult to those who died. They say up to half a million people have had their health affected, including children who continue to be born with disabilities. “For 25 years we waited and now after two hours this morning these men have effectively been set free,” said one relative.

And, after all those years, there is toxic waste still on the factory premises. The state government has failed to remove huge quantities of chemicals and pesticides from the factory and its evaporation pond nearby.

Read the rest at this link.


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