Two men convicted in Ivory Coast toxic-waste-dumping case, execs not charged
Two men were handed jail sentences of five and 20 years respectively this week for their roles in illegally dumping some 400 tons of toxic waste in populated areas of the city of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, in 2006, killing 17 and sickening tens of thousands more. All together, some 140,000 gallons of waste was dumped at 18 sites throughout the city, some in heavily populated residential areas. One of the men convicted this week ran the company that was hired by Dutch transnational Trafigura to dispose of the waste; the other man was a shipping agent at the Abijan port who was found to be complicit in the dumping. Conspicuously absent from the courtroom however (and never charged with any crimes) were executives of Trafigura, the company that chartered the toxic-waste laden ship. The company paid the Ivorian government $200 million in 2007 in an out-of-court settlement, framing it to the outside world as a humanitarian donation. Trafigura may eventually have to shell out millions more to Ivory Coast victims if a class-action suit now pending in London is ultimately successful.