Languages
Page last updated at 16:24 GMT, Monday, 29 September 2008 17:24 UK

Ivorians tried for mass poisoning

Contaminated earth collected into giant bags
Much of the chemical waste still remains in Abidjan

Twelve people have gone on trial in Ivory Coast accused of dumping toxic waste blamed for 17 deaths and led 100,000 to seek medical treatment.

Some 500 tons of chemical waste from the oil industry were dumped two years ago in the biggest city, Abidjan.

Those on trial include the head of a local company, Tommy, that signed the deal to treat the waste with the Dutch multinational, Trafigura.

They are accused of charges including poisoning and complicity to poison.

Also on trial are a number of port and customs officials.

The BBC's John James reports from Abidjan that families of the victims are happy the trial has begun, but there is anger that no-one from Trafigura is in court - nor some of the more senior government and port officials accused of turning a blind eye.

Soon after the waste was dumped, people began complaining of breathing problems and rashes.

In an earlier out of court settlement, Trafigura agreed to pay the Ivorian government about $200m (108m) in one of the largest payments of its kind.

The company never admitted liability, saying the payment was made out of sympathy for Ivorian people.

It also disputes whether the chemical slops were the cause of the large number of medical complaints.

The firm says it contracted Tommy to handle the waste in good faith.

Two years on, much of the waste remains where it was dumped and people still complain of illnesses and abnormal births linked to the waste, our correspondent says.

The trial is expected to last at least two weeks.


SEE ALSO
Poisoned Ivorians reject payout
23 Jun 07 |  Africa
In pictures: Ivorian toxic waste
07 Sep 06 |  In Pictures

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific