Sojenje, ki je padlo zaradi postopkovnih in ne vsebinskih vprašanj, je še en dokaz, da resnično potrebujemo močno evropsko direktivo o skrbnem pregledu. Prizadevati si moramo za ambiciozno direktivo o skrbnem pregledu trajnostnega razvoja podjetja (CSDDD), ki je zdaj v rokah Evropskega parlamenta in sveta.

V nadaljevanju prispevek v angleškem jeziku o izzidu sojenja proti podjetju Total Energies, ki ga je pripravila Suzie Vanoosten*.

And what about Total Energies and its duty of vigilance?

In parallel with the BNP Paribas case, almost 4 years ago, another legal procedure was launched, but this time against the biggest French fossil fuel company, Total Energies. 2 French NGOs (Les Amis de la Terre France and Survie) and 4 others from Uganda (AFIEGO, CRED, Friends of the Earth Uganda (NAPE) and NAVODA) decided to go to court against Total for not compelling to its duty of vigilance in the scope of its big projects across Uganda and Tanzania: EACOP and Tilenga. As a reminder, their implementation led to the expropriation of 100 000 persons, the construction of a drilling site in a protected area (Murchison Falls National Park), the construction of a heated oil pipeline throughout seismic zones and fragile ecosystems, and finally, to opposants’ persecution. It was the first legal action using the duty of vigilance law that had been attempted.

Yesterday (February 28 th ), the court had to give its response about the trial led in December, during which numerous proofs and testimonies had been presented by the NGOs. Unfortunately, despite many hopes, the legal tribunal rejected the NGOs’ demands for a procedural motive. They considered the NGOs’ claims were “substantially different” from those they expressed at the beginning of the procedure in 2019 (which they refute), but also that summary proceedings (the NGOs opted for an accelerated procedure) were not adapted to examine the case in depth.

However, the NGOs insist on the idea that Total Energies did not win this trial: the judges did not rule on the core elements of the case as they did not express an opinion on whether the company is respecting its duty of vigilance in Uganda and Tanzania or not. They only based their decision on a point of procedure, which is really disappointing regarding the situation’s urgency.

Nonetheless, the fight is not over. The NGOs will think about a response to this legal decision. But using the justice system is just one way to condemn EACOP and Tilenga. Collective action remains essential and effective: previous actions led to the report of the construction, a European Parliament’s resolution, the withdrawal of numerous banks and insurance companies, but especially to raise awareness about these ravaging projects by Total Energies. Our mobilization must not be affected by this decision. And we must stay hopeful regarding the other legal procedures, including the one against BNP Paribas.


Information provided by Les Amis de la Terre France.
Information provided by #STOPEACOP and Camille Étienne

* Suzie Vanoosten je aktivna pri Focusu kot pripravnica, od februarja do junija 2023.